Manchester Airport Seeks International Development And Funding Partners For £650M UK Airport City

Manchester Airports Group (M.A.G) is seeking expressions of interest from international development and investment partners for its £650 million Airport City scheme, the first of its kind in the UK.

Airport City is a major UK Enterprise Zone development project that will deliver four million square feet of new business space, including Grade A office accommodation, hotel and leisure facilities, retail, manufacturing and logistics space adjacent to the UK’s third busiest airport

M.A.G has appointed the leading global property advisor, CBRE, to manage the tender process on its behalf and developers and investors are now able to register their interest in the project by contacting Colin Thomasson at CBRE. The registration process will run from until 21 January 2013. Further information about the development can be found on the Airport City website.

Colin Thomasson, Senior Director, CBRE, said: “Airport City is a compelling opportunity for developers and investors. Manchester is becoming an important hub for international investment and the airport itself is flourishing on the back of this and the fact that airport capacity in the south east of the UK is severely constrained. We believe that Airport City will become the most significant development project in the UK since the regeneration of East London began in 2005 for the Olympics.

“Underscoring its potential, Manchester already has close ties with China and the Middle East and we are confident that this opportunity will attract a number of high calibre global development and investment partners. Due to the size and complexity of the project we are seeking partners with previous experience in delivering similar large scale development projects.”

John Atkins, M.A.G’s Airport City Director, added: “As recognised by the UK Government in its Enterprise Zone designation, Airport City is a unique commercial product for the UK that will meet demand that currently exists for a high-quality, sustainable and well-connected environment with access to the global marketplace.

“With Manchester Airport’s international connectivity and passenger growth prospects, Airport City is the prime investment opportunity in one of the best cities with the strongest investment potential in the UK. Driven by Manchester’s academic, scientific, and digital credentials, 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 region, or even the UK.”

Airport City already has significant backing as it is the focal point for Manchester’s wider Enterprise Zone and benefits from financial incentives and reduced planning restrictions to support growth. Infrastructure is already in place following recent major investments, providing excellent multi-modal transport connectivity, including a major mainline rail station and public transport interchange – with a workforce of 5.2 million within a one hour commute. The site also has several direct access points to the UK motorway network placing a consumer market of 25 million and 60% of all UK businesses within two hours drive time. A new £300 million Enterprise Zone tramline is also under construction. The Manchester Enterprise Zone is expected to create up to 20,000 new jobs over the next 15 years.

Due to its growth potential and strategic position within the UK, Manchester and its airport already has significant links to other global hubs.

With the third largest Chinese community in Europe, Manchester is in the unique position of already having a very strong relationship with what is Asia’s largest economy and the second largest in the world. Manchester Airport is the sister airport of Beijing Capital International Airport – the second largest in the world – and the most important aviation hub in China, handling 74 million passengers, providing a gateway to hundreds of other destinations in the Far East. Last year, more than £4 billion of business was struck between China and the North West of England.

Manchester is known throughout the world for its football teams, with more than 70 million Manchester United supporters thought to live in China alone. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, a member of the ruling family of Abu Dhabi in the UAE, recently made a £1 billion investment into Manchester City Football Club. Etihad Airways, a flag carrier of the UAE, has its European Contact Centre and Maintenance Base in Manchester; and has sponsored Manchester City Football Club since 2009. Manchester was also the first non-capital city in the world to host the prestigious A380 ‘superjumbo’, when in 2010; Emirates, the largest airline in the Middle East, launched a new service as one of three daily links from Dubai to Manchester.

Manchester Airport is the UK’s third busiest carrying around 20 million passengers annually, with flights to more than 200 global destinations – more than any other UK airport including London Heathrow. Over 6.5 million people (8% of the UK population) live in Manchester and the North West area, accounting for 11% of UK GDP. Football helps to contribute to tourism revenues, adding c £10 billion to the region’s economy and attracting 29 million visitors per year.