Ask may sue over Airport City bid process

ASK Developments is considering legal action over the bidding process for Manchester Airports Group’s (MAG) major Airport City scheme.

In a statement the company, led by Ken Knott, said it was shocked and disappointed to learn from media reports that it had been ruled out when it had been told by MAG’s property adviser CBRE on July 9 that the procurement process had been terminated altogether.

The Manchester-based developer was in the running to secure the development brief after forming a joint venture with the Beijing Construction and Engineering Group (BCEG), which is supported by Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), the China state bank.

It was up against a consortium of Argent, the Greater Manchester Property Venture Fund and Carillion to build 1.2m sq ft of offices, 530,000 sq ft of manufacturing space and 1,300 hotel beds at a 65-acre site north of the airport.

In a statement it said: “Ask expresses its profound shock and disappointment that the statement contradicts a letter received by Ask and its consortium partner Beijing Construction and Engineering Group (BCEG) from MAP’s [Manchester Airport Property] consultants CBRE of July 9 stating that the bids for Airport City ‘do not present the best solution for MAP’ and states: ‘MAP regrets to inform you that the procurement process for a partner for Airport City is terminated.'”

It added: “Ask confirms that in light of this announcement, and the huge volume of work undertaken by Ask in leading the consortium’s proposals and driving the Chinese investment proposition, it is seeking legal advice on the options available to the company.”

A MAG Property spokesperson said: “Ask and a number of other parties have not been successful in getting through to the final round of negotiations during a thorough selection process that has been conducted since the end of 2012.

“While we cannot comment on those companies in the final round until negotiations have been completed, we expect to announce the successful consortium by the start of the Autumn.”