The University of Manchester, who’ll be speaking at the Greater Manchester Economic Growth Conference, are launching their search to find a development partner for their North Campus Development partner. Proposals have been given the green light by the university’s Board of Governors, which will see them develop an incredible world-class innovation district over the course of the next 15-20 years.

The development partner is being sought to deliver a mixed-use site which will attract research, development, cultural and technology companies – whilst also creating space for residential builds. The area and buildings for the development are around Sackville Street and adjacent to Piccadilly Rail and Metrolink stations – with a total of 11.8 hectares of land available to create a world leading research and business campus, where the world’s most valuable ideas will be transformed into reality.

The University will retain significant strategic and decision-making influence within the partnership. It will retain the south end of the site where it has significant research activity, including the newly built Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre and the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology, and it will continue to hold the freehold for the whole site.

Targeting technology and science-related occupiers, the site will focus on specialities which combine the research and industrial strengths of the University and the city region with national economic priorities. These will include advanced materials, applied health innovation, artificial intelligence and digital technology and industrial biotechnology.

The development is projected to generate potentially up to £2 billion of growth over the next 20 years or more for the local economy and is projected to create up to 6,000 jobs. It will also help to ensure the long-term financial strength of the University by delivering a continuing future income stream for investment in the University’s educational and research activities.

Plans are at an early stage and the next step will be a rigorous search for a partner, which will be a focus of the Greater Manchester Economic Growth Conference. The University has been discussing its plans with Manchester City Council and the Greater Manchester Combined Authority. It is envisaged that work on the site will begin after the University transfers staff and existing facilities into its new MECD buildings in 2021.

North Campus represents a unique opportunity to create an exciting innovation district within a UK city-centre location. It will be allied to one of the UK’s foremost research-intensive universities, with high connectivity to a skilled local workforce. It will provide opportunities for graduate employment and student placements; and the development will benefit from outstanding transport links, plus access to national and international markets.

Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, President and Vice-Chancellor of The University of Manchester and confirmed speaker at the Greater Manchester Conference, said of the development: “We will be launching an international search in the next few months to find the very best joint venture partner to work with us to develop this prime site with its landmark buildings and unique footprint in the heart of the city. The development offers the opportunity to transform this quarter of the city centre, generate thousands of new jobs and advance the reputation of the University. It will cement the reputation of the city as the place to be for technology, digital, research and development businesses – where the world’s most valuable ideas will be transformed into reality.”

Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council commented: “The potential of the North Campus site is huge and this is great news for Manchester. There are tremendous opportunities to regenerate this distinctive part of the city and we welcome the University’s growth, investment and job creation ambitions for the development.”

Join us at the Greater Manchester Economic Growth Conference where we’ll be hearing about this and many other potential schemes happening across the region!