MAG appoints CBRE for Airport City developer and funding partner search


CBRE has been appointed to assist Manchester Airports Group (MAG) in the procurement of an international strategic funding and development partner(s) for the delivery of its 650 million Airport City, the major Enterprise Zone development project, at Manchester Airport in the United Kingdom (UK).

Named by the UK Government as the core proposition of the Enterprise Zone for Greater Manchester last year, Airport City will deliver up to five million square feet (sq ft) of new business space, including Grade-A office accommodation, hotel and leisure uses, retail, manufacturing and logistics space.

The Chancellor George Osborne stated at the January launch that Airport City was one of the most advanced of the UK’s Enterprise Zone projects. While in March Charlie Cornish, MAG’s Chief Executive, launched the scheme at MIPIM - the international property conference - where he confirmed that MAG is focussed on progressing the scheme this year, securing planning permission and adding road infrastructure on the site.

In support of these objectives, the appointment of CBRE will enable the procurement process to commence by the end of Summer 2012. CBRE are experts in the international property market and will be looking across the globe to help MAG secure the best strategic partner to take the project forward.

MAG’s Airport City Director, John Atkins, said: “Standing out as the only airport city in the United Kingdom, this ambitious project is one of only a handful of schemes truly capable of competing on an international level. The expertise of CBRE will assist us in securing a strategic partner to work on Airport City and the Enterprise Zone and provides a statement of our intent in the market place for investors and international occupiers.”

The first of its kind in the UK, Airport City builds on the global connectivity offered by the airport location, and will transform Manchester Airport from a regional transport hub into a global business destination in its own right, over the next ten to 15 years. Airport City will compete with similar schemes at Barcelona, Frankfurt and Amsterdam; with the aim of attracting international occupiers that would not previously have located in the Greater Manchester region, or even the UK.

CBRE will provide strategic advice to MAG to support the procurement of a strategic partner – or partners – for the scheme. In order to realise the scale of the ambition, MAG is seeking to secure expertise and experience of international business space delivery, alongside access to international occupiers and large-scale financing capabilities, potentially for the entire scheme, alongside MAG’s land ownership and expertise in airport developments.

The CBRE team for the project has global reach and includes Stuart Eisenkraft (Co-Chairman for Global Cities), Tony Martin (Head of Investment Advisory), Rob Silvester (Head of Capital Markets – UK Regions) and Colin Thomasson (Head of North West Capital Markets).

Colin Thomasson welcomed the appointment saying: “We are delighted to have joined forces with MAG in order to identify a strategic funding partner for Airport City, the largest new commercial development in the North West for the next decade. We will be looking for the best partner for this opportunity and will be using our international knowledge of key markets to identify the best fit in order to bring the project to market alongside MAG. It’s a large, long-term and unique scheme that we are sure will be of interest to major development partners involved in global development projects.”

The wider 116-hectare Greater Manchester Enterprise Zone is estimated to create up to 20,000 new jobs over the next 15 years. The Airport City project will be a focal point of the Manchester offer alongside a Medi-Park development at University Hospital South Manchester and Wythenshawe town centre. The sites will be linked by a new Metrolink tramline, which is currently under construction, and complemented by other development sites in the surrounding area. MAG is working closely with the Enterprise Zone partners including the Local Enterprise Partnership and Manchester City Council to ensure that the benefits brought by the proximity to Airport City spread throughout the connecting sites of the Enterprise Zone.

Since the launch of Airport City in January, demand has been healthy, with interest from 58 countries and around 20 live enquiries across all of the scheme’s assets. The full roster comprises 1.5 million sq ft of offices; 650,000 sq ft of advanced manufacturing; 1.5 million sq ft of hotels; 100,000 sq ft of supporting retail and amenity; and 1.4 million sq ft of logistics and warehousing.

For more information, is available with further details on the project.


For more information please contact the Manchester Airports Group press office on 0161 489 2700 or email

Published on: 30/05/2012 14:02:18