Partner selection for university’s £1.5bn scheme set to resume

ID Manchester

The University of Manchester has resumed the procurement process to find its development and investment partner to deliver the £1.5bn new world-class innovation district ID Manchester.

The university paused the process in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, having already notified the four highest scoring bidders it will be taking forward into the detailed dialogue stage.

The pause has enabled both the university and the bidders to consider and deal with effects of the pandemic.

The final partner selection will now be made in Spring 2021.

Prof Dame Nancy Rothwell, president and vice-chancellor of The University of Manchester and the 2019 North West Business Masters Ambassador of the Year, said: “The university is committed to the delivery of ID Manchester and our ambition to create the innovation capital of Europe is unwavering.

“Having paused, reviewed and reflected, we now have a way forward to resume the final stage of the selection process to find our joint venture partner.”

Diana Hampson, director of estates and facilities at the university, said: “We look forward to beginning the detailed dialogue with the selected bidders. Pausing the process has allowed ourselves and the bidding teams space to deal with the immediate impact and challenges created by the pandemic.

“ID Manchester is an incredibly exciting project and we are looking forward to progressing to the next stage.”

ID Manchester will be a new neighbourhood that will be an engine for economic growth with the potential to create more than 6,000 jobs.

The university has a strong track record in developing long-lasting, commercial relationships with leading global organisations, such as Rolls-Royce, the BBC, BP, ARM, Boots, National Grid, Colgate Palmolive, Siemens, Unilever, AstraZeneca and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).

Since 2004 the university has contributed more than £746m to the economy through nurturing and developing businesses spinning out of its research and development facilities, and it is on these foundations it seeks to build ID Manchester.

Diana Hampson said: “ID Manchester will be a unique new neighbourhood. Our vision draws on Manchester’s ecosystem of ideas, discovery, research and development, and ID Manchester will provide the canvas on which all those strands can come together to take urban regeneration to a whole new level.

“ID Manchester will be where our most valuable discoveries today are tried, tested and developed into the technology, buildings and commerce of tomorrow.”

The available development space for ID Manchester of four million sq ft include 2.6 million sq ft of new work space and three acres of high-quality public realm.

The site benefits from existing green space and the unique feature of the 650,000 sq ft Grade II-listed Sackville Street Building, which offers a fantastic opportunity for repurposing.

The university occupies the recently-opened £60m Masdar Building, home to the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre, and the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology at the South end of the site and is looking for a partner to develop the remaining 18 acres of the site.

The university is stepping up its efforts in graphene commercialisation.

ID Manchester is adjacent to Manchester’s main public transport hub, Piccadilly railway station, and is a 20 minute train journey to the international airport.

It is one of the last major development opportunity sites in the city, another piece in the jigsaw of the major regeneration taking place in that area of the city, including Mayfield, London Road Fire Station, Kampus, Circle Square and the £1bn investment already being made into its main Oxford Road campus by The University of Manchester.