Manchester Airports Group (MAG) has outlined redevelopment plans worth £650 million to create Airport City Manchester, a future ‘aerotropolis’, close to Manchester Airport, the UK’s third busiest airport.
Developed by 5plus Architects, Jones Lang LaSalle, Urban Strategies Inc and Drivers Jonas Deloitte, Airport City Manchester will cover a 65-acre space, with landscaping plans being completed by Planit. Leading organisations such as AECOM and Davis Langdon are advising on energy, sustainability, cost, utilities and transportation.
When completed, Airport City Manchester will include roughly 62,000 square feet of retail space, 530,000 square feet of manufacturing space, 1,300 hotel beds and 1.2 million square feet of office space. New multi-storey car parking and cycle spaces will be included, while a landscaped bridge will provide pedestrian access.
One of the site’s goals is to ensure that people can get to the site by walking, cycling or taking public transport as opposed to driving.
The retail units, cafes, restaurants, bars and health centres will surround a 13-acre central park, which will connect to further green spaces. Existing green areas will be preserved through the incorporation of new native plants, and additional community facilities will promote the area during evenings and weekends.
Airport City is also looking to attract multi-national companies to the area to let retail and business space. Manchester is a large thriving city noted for innovation and academia but one that also features a long history of strong industry, making it a prime spot of opportunity for businesses and international investment.
Government predictions estimate Airport City Manchester will boost job levels slightly by providing approximately 11,400 jobs.
Manchester’s new development comes as part of the announcements made in 2011 of the government’s plans to fuel growth through kick-starting 11 new enterprise zones. The development plans cover the cities and areas of Manchester, Birmingham, Merseyside, Newcastle, the Midlands, Tees Valley and in the North East.
In 2011, cities were encouraged to put in applications for the new plans. As incentive for new business to invest in the developments, the government has offered simplified planning rules, extra-fast broadband and tax breaks worth £150 million for new business start-ups within a four-year period. Businesses will benefit over a five-year period from a 100 per cent business rate discount worth £275,000.
The plans were announced in 2011 as part of the coalition governments ‘plan for growth’ in the hope that it would lay the groundwork for a more sustainable level of growth.