From Little £21M Acorns Do Mighty Manchester Tech Oaks Grow
In the great game of addition, subtraction and multiplication which is the property business, a £21M boost to a £3B economic corridor is just small change. But Manchester Science Partnership’s new £21M masterplan seeds a market that is already fertile. The 80K SF Base building is the first green shoot.
The Base building will support next generation technologies. It could be welcoming its first occupiers by late 2021, if Manchester city planners approve it.
The scheme is another step forward for Manchester’s Oxford Road Corridor, one of the North of England’s most important commercial areas, generating around £3B in GVA per year. Manchester City Council is due to decide on the plans by mid-December.
The announcement comes as the updated Manchester Science Park Strategic Regeneration Framework master plan was endorsed by the city council earlier this month.
Designed by Russell Bridge architects and set over five floors in the heart of Manchester’s Oxford Road Corridor innovation district, The Base will include a dedicated 'maker space' on the ground floor with workshop space to produce prototypes or modify existing products, along with a welcome lounge, break-out spaces and informal meeting spaces.
Coworking and serviced office space will also be available for startups in materials science, engineering and energy technology, whilst larger, more flexible and private spaces are available on the upper floors which also include a roof terrace.
Sustainability intiatives include the installation of a 7.5K SF solar panel, demand side response technology, occupancy and utilisation sensors, smart building management systems, multi-gigabyte connectivity and infrastructure for future battery reliance capabilities.
The latest development comes amidst growing confidence that Manchester can become a global digital leader.
KPMG’s decision to move its tech innovation hub to Manchester, taking 12K SF but with the probability of more staff moves to come, is seen as a bellwether.
For comparison, and to cool overheated talk about local prospects, London’s digital turnover is no less than 1,200% larger at £64B, and the Midlands (East and West combined) comes in at £7.4B.
Local champions respond that Manchester's strength goes far wider that the digital sector measured by TechNation, stretching into a deeper pool of skills which generate employment far beyond the confines of beardy-hipster startups.