11,400 jobs set for take-off as £650m plans submitted for UK’s first ‘Airport City’ at Manchester Enterprise Zone

11th December 2012

Manchester Airport’s parent company M.A.G has submitted plans for the £650 million development of a major new commercial location – including offices, hotels, manufacturing centres, retail outlets and leisure facilities – to attract global businesses to the North West, creating 11,400 jobs.

Airport City Manchester is the core element of the Government designated Enterprise Zone surrounding the UK’s third busiest airport. It aims to compete with existing airport city and ‘aerotropolis’ projects outside the UK, such as at Munich, Barcelona and Amsterdam; which are attractive to multi-national companies that require business space in a location that gives them highly accessible to a both major city and the global marketplace

The outline planning application is for the comprehensive, phased redevelopment of a 65 acre area of land to the north of Manchester Airport’s terminals and railway station. Currently a mix of scrubland and temporary airport car parking, the site is bordered by the M56 spur road and Woodhouse Park area of Wythenshawe. The proposals comprise:

• 1.2 million square feet of offices
• 530,000 square feet of advanced manufacturing space
• Around 1,300 new hotel beds
• 62,000 square feet of ancillary retail
• Extensive new public realm and open-space, including a new 13 acre central park area
• New multi storey car parking spaces and cycle spaces
• A wide landscaped 'green bridge' over the M56 spur road to provide pedestrian access and a new iconic gateway

The site will be one of the most accessible in the region. Motorway access is via J5 of the M56 and a new landscaped 'green bridge' will bring the Airport’s terminals and public transport interchange within walking distance. The Airport Station offers train, coach and bus services across the North and a 14.5km Metrolink extension is under construction and will link Airport City to Greater Manchester’s successful tram network by 2016. The Airport also provides international air connections to over 200 destinations worldwide. These transport locations make the site uniquely placed to attract global businesses and companies who need to move people and goods across the world.

The project aims to attract inward investment and provide new employment opportunities for Wythenshawe residents. Employment, education and training programmes are underway to maximise the use of local labour and supply chains. Jobs during the construction phases will be in addition to 11,400 new jobs, ranging from higher-level/skilled occupations to intermediate/entry level roles. Initiatives such as the successful Airport Academy and M.A.G’s sponsorship of nearby Manchester Enterprise Academy – where it feeds into the curriculum to equip people with the required skills to access jobs at the Airport – will also be extended to Airport City.

M.A.G’s Airport City Director, John Atkins, said: “Airport City will attract investment from international businesses and become a catalyst for the wider long term regeneration of Wythenshawe, with the creation of thousands of new jobs. It brings a world-class commercial product that is sustainable and innovative to the UK for the first time – this presents Manchester with a unique opportunity add to its offer as a major European business city and will enhance the airport’s reputation as an economic hub and a global gateway to the UK.

“The aim is to create a modern business destination that makes full use of infrastructure already in place and the majority of workers and visitors will not drive to Airport City – instead they will walk, cycle, take a tram, bus, train or a plane. We have been working on this project for six years, examining airport cities across the world and how Manchester can successfully apply the concept. The planning submission demonstrates the progress we have made in the past 12 months and is a major step forward towards starting work on site.”

The centrepiece of the proposed development is a new 13 acre central park, surrounded by a ‘downtown’ district of distinctive contemporary new buildings and high quality public areas. New retail and amenities will occupy the ground floor level of key buildings to create a ‘high street’, including: shops, cafes, bars, restaurants, crèches, health and medical centres, dry cleaners, gym and leisure facilities. The supporting amenities will enable the development to be self-sustaining, generating footfall and will benefit residents in the surrounding areas.

New community facilities are also planned to help promote the use of the area during evenings and weekends – this could include outdoor space for music, performances or small markets. A range of hotels will be spread across the site to further promote 24 hour activity and will include new conference, event and catering space. Airport City will also have prioritised super-fast broadband connectivity, a benefit of the Government Enterprise Zone designation. Information centres, a bicycle hub and public art work will also feature.

A natural habitat corridor, linking the central park area and other off-site green spaces including Painswick Park, will also be formed by rerouting small streams that run through the site and existing trees where possible will be retained and bolstered with new native planting to encourage wildlife. A landscaped buffer zone will be created along the southern edge of the residential area of Woodhouse Park. The proposal does not require the acquisition or demolition of any properties.

The outline planning application for the ‘North’ Airport City area was submitted to Manchester City Council and follows extensive pre-application public consultations in the local area by M.A.G. Members of the public can view the application on the Council website.

Last month M.A.G received outline planning approval for the £100 million World Logistics Hub development, next to junction six of the M56 and the existing airport freight area. The ‘South’ Airport City area of the Enterprise Zone, it will provide 1.4 million square feet of logistics space and 36.6 acres of new landscaping and natural habits – with the creation of 1,800 jobs.

-ENDS-
For more information – or to request hi-res CGI images – please contact the M.A.G press office on +44 (0)161 489 2705 or press.office@manairport.co.uk

Notes to editor:

• Manchester Airport is the only major UK airport other than London Heathrow with two full-length runways. It serves 20 million passengers annually to around 200 destinations, with spare capacity to further establish its role as the direct long-haul gateway for the North.

• M.A.G (Manchester Airports Group) is the largest UK-owned airport operator, serving 24 million passengers and handling almost half a million tonnes of air freight every year through its ownership and operation of Manchester, East Midlands and Bournemouth airports. M.A.G’s three airports and property business contribute more than £3bn to the UK economy and support over 86,000 jobs.

• Manchester-based 5plus Architects worked on the plans along with Drivers Jonas Deloitte and Jones Lang LaSalle, Urban Strategies Inc. Altrincham-based Planit are designing landscape and public realm areas, while AECOM and Davis Langdon are advising on transportation, energy, utilities, sustainability and cost consultancy. Global property advisor, CBRE, is also assisting M.A.G in the procurement of a delivery partner for the project.

• In February 2012, Abu Dhabi-based airline, Etihad Airways, opened its European Contact Centre at Manchester Airport, selecting M.A.G Property's Grade-A office development, Voyager. It was selected ahead of seven competing European cities, including Brussels and Dublin. Other businesses already located within close proximity of the Airport City development site, include the global headquarters of PZ Cussons; Swedish investment bank, Handelsbanken; and a new bio-medical headquarters for Waters Corporation.

• Airport City will create a total around five million square feet of new business space over the next ten to 15 years – including World Logistics Hub and other sites within the Airport’s operational area. Further information is also available at: www.airportcity.co.uk

• The wider Manchester Airport City Enterprise Zone totals 116 hectares, anchored by Manchester Airport and University Hospital South Manchester (UHSM). In addition to M.A.G’s Airport City projects, is also include proposals for a MediPark at UHSM, Wythenshawe town centre and a series of smaller, surrounding, opportunity sites – all linked by the new Metrolink extension. In total it will create up to 20,000 new jobs over the next 15 years.

Published on: 11/12/2012 06:00:00