Airport City Gets Green Light

Airport City Manchester, a £650m project to create a new business district at Manchester Airport, has been granted planning approval by Manchester City Council.

The development includes new offices, industrial units, hotels, retail and leisure facilities and is set create 11,400 jobs over the next ten to 15 years providing a major boost for local people, the region’s construction industry and local supply chains.

5plus are lead masterplanners for the project working with Canadian based Urban Strategies Inc, Drivers Jonas Deloitte and Jones Lang LaSalle, with Altrincham-based Planit designing landscape and public realm areas. AECOM and Davis Langdon are advising on transportation, energy, utilities, sustainability and cost consultancy.

5plus director Phil Doyle said: “This is the biggest development site in the north and we are pleased to have played a part in bringing it to this important stage. We expect work to begin next month.”

Airport City is also the focal point of the Enterprise Zone for Greater Manchester, and will be one of the best connected employment sites in the region with a new landscaped green bridge connecting the ‘mini city’ to the Airport and its public transport interchange. Work on a new link road is due to start in October and a new Metrolink extension through Wythenshawe will add Airport City to Greater Manchester’s tram network by 2016.

M.A.G’s Airport City Director, John Atkins, said: “The planning approval is a major milestone, underlining the progress made in the last twelve months and enables us to progress to the delivery stage in 2013, driving forward opportunities to attract investment and create jobs.

“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.”

A new 13 acre central park surrounded by a ‘downtown’ district of distinctive new buildings and high quality public areas, forms the centrepiece.

Buildings will be approximately three to eight storeys in height, with the tallest buildings located furthest away from the residential area north of the site. New retail and amenities will occupy the ground floor of key buildings to create a ‘high street’, including: shops, cafes, bars, restaurants, crèches, health and medical centres and leisure facilities.

The supporting amenities enable the development to be self-sustaining, generate footfall and will benefit residents in the surrounding areas. Hotels spread across the site will include new conference, event and catering space.

The outline planning application for Airport City (North) was submitted to Manchester City Council in November 2012, following extensive public consultations by M.A.G, the parent company of Manchester Airport. The planning application was approved by the Planning and Highways Committee on 17 January 2013. The site is the northern component of Airport City, currently referred to as Airport City (North) and is also part of the Greater Manchester Enterprise Zone.

In November 2012, M.A.G was granted outline planning approval for the £100 million World Logistics Hub development – the southern part of the Enterprise Zone. This is an expansion of the Airport’s Freight terminal area and will create 1,800 jobs, providing 1.4 million square feet of logistics space and 36.6 acres of new landscaping and natural habitats.

The Airport City Manchester project will create around five million square feet of new business space in total over the next ten to 15 years – including Airport City (North), World Logistics Hub and other sites within the Airport’s operational area.

The Airport City (North) development site is a 65 acre area of land to the north of Manchester Airport’s terminals and railway station, bordered by the M56 spur road and the Woodhouse Park area of Wythenshawe. The majority of the site currently consists of two areas of temporary long-stay airport car parking, plus some scrubland.

The development details:

  • 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 public realm, public and open-space, including a 13 acre central park area
  • New multi storey car parking spaces and cycle spaces, including a bicycle hub
  • An iconic landscaped pedestrian ‘green bridge’ over the M56 spur
  • A natural habitat corridor linking to off-site green spaces to encourage wildlife
  • Provision of new community facilities to promote use of the area outside working hours

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 this also includes 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.