Manchester Airports Group (MAG) is reported to have selected a consortium of developer Argent, the Greater Manchester Property Venture Fund, and contractor Carillion for the development of the £659 million Manchester Airport City North project.
MAG appointed property advisers CBRE to run the tender process of finding investment and development partners for Airport City in December. According to the Construction Enquirer, the consortium had faced tough competition from other consortia, including Kier Property.
Rumor has it that the consortium is days away from being named by MAG to redevelop 65 acres north of the airport into an office and manufacturing base. However, MAG refused to confirm the report and has denied the fact that any final decision had been made.
“No party has yet been selected for the final stage in our joint venture partner selection process. We are pleased with the level of interest shown to date by a number of parties in relation to the Airport City Project at Manchester Airport; as a number of bids have come from a range of international developers and funders”, said a spokesperson of MAG.
Planning approval was granted in January for the new Airport City development, part of a government-designated Enterprise Zone, which will create about 5 million square feet of new business space over the next 10 to 15 years, including offices, industrial units, hotels, retail and leisure facilities. There will also be a 13-acre park, surrounded by a “downtown” district of distinctive new buildings.
Moreover, the Airport City project should also create over 11,000 new jobs and it should therefore provide a major boost for the construction industry and supply chains in the region.
MAG’s Airport City director, John Atkins, said about this scheme: “Manchester is already well-established as the global gateway for the North – Airport City will not only enhance this status, but also further the city’s ambition to become a major European and global business city, by bringing a world-class commercial product that is sustainable and innovative to the UK for the first time”.
The project is at the centre of the 150-acre Manchester Airport City Enterprise Zone unveiled by chancellor George Osborne in January 2012, which also includes a major logistics hub to the south of the airport.
Greater Manchester Property Venture Fund is already working with Manchester-based Argent and contractor Carillion on the One St Peter’s Square office scheme in the city and is thought to have pulled together the partnership. Other contenders were understood to be Ask Developments, Segro, Development Securities and Goodman.
Under the consortium’s plan, Carillion would likely handle the industrial part of the scheme, and the retail, leisure and office parts would be developed by Argent. The site is a mix of scrubland and temporary airport parking, bordered by the M56 spur road and Woodhouse Park area of Wythenshawe.