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Bruntwood/L&G JV to create Manchester innovation district

The University of Manchester has named Bruntwood SciTech, a 50:50 joint venture between Bruntwood and Legal & General, as its preferred bidder to deliver a new £1.5 billion innovation district, ID Manchester.

The completed district will comprise 4 million sq ft (370,000 sq m) including 2.6 million sq ft (240,000 sq m) of new commercial workspace.

In a statement the university said that the internationally-significant project will cement the UK’s position in the science and technology sector. The innovation district will provide vital specialist infrastructure for the growth of the knowledge economy it said, adding that the scheme will “unlock the potential to commercialise R&D innovation, supporting the UK to build back better and level up”.

The University and Bruntwood SciTech will form a joint venture to realise ID Manchester as a new innovation district which the partners say has the potential to create over 10,000 new jobs in the next 10-15 years.

ID Manchester is located to the south of the city centre, adjacent to Piccadilly Railway Station, the university campus, and the existing innovation ecosystem clustered around Oxford Road, part of the largest clinical academic campus in Europe. It includes Circle Square, the Citylabs campus, and Manchester Science Park – all of which are already part of the Bruntwood SciTech network, and the £1 billion investment already being made into its main Oxford Road campus by The University of Manchester.

Placemaking will play a key role in the district’s creation

Place design and placemaking will be central to the development of ID Manchester, and a £28 million investment will be made into public realm to provide a focal point for events. There is existing green space in the area, and it also includes the 650,000 sq ft (60,000 sq m) listed Sackville Street Building.

“Bruntwood SciTech shares many of the same values and principles as The University of Manchester and throughout our detailed discussions with them, their commitment and approach to sustainability, inclusivity and collaboration aligned closely with our vision for ID Manchester,” said the university’s president and vice-chancellor Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell.

Chris Oglesby.

Chris Oglesby, executive chair, Bruntwood SciTech added: “Working in partnership with The University of Manchester, we will create a global exemplar that will support national and international investment into science and technology, creating new pathways for the translation of research, and new cultures for enterprise.

“It’s also an opportunity to build something with purpose and a social conscience at its heart from the outset. ID Manchester will champion a more progressive and sustainable model of economic success, one that works for all people and the planet,” Oglesby said.

ID Manchester is Legal & General’s ninth significant urban regeneration scheme, having invested in partnerships with universities such as Oxford and Newcastle and local authorities in cities such as Cardiff, Salford and Sunderland.

The joint venture agreement should be signed by the autumn. The JV will also appoint Stanhope as strategic development manager in its first project outside South East England.