University of Manchester stands by £1.5 billion ID Manchester development

Procurement process paused, but innovation district ID Manchester will go ahead, says vice-chancellor

A plan to make the University of Manchester “the innovation capital of Europe” has progressed to its next stage – but is to pause for eight weeks in the light of the coronavirus crisis.

The provider is seeking a development and investment partner for its new, £1.5 billion innovation district, ID Manchester.

I still truly believe we can make ID Manchester the innovation capital of Europe

“Clearly, it makes sense to pause the procurement process as we all adapt to the unprecedented circumstances caused by the coronavirus outbreak,” said Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, president and vice-chancellor of the University of Manchester.

“We remain committed to this project and I still truly believe we can make ID Manchester the innovation capital of Europe, providing the perfect conditions for organisations of all sizes and from different sectors, to share knowledge and work together turning incredible ideas into reality.”

ID Manchester: the selection process

Bidders submitted their outline submissions for the innovation district at the end of February.

The university has now notified all of the bidders that it has reviewed the submissions. It will now pause the procurement process for eight weeks, due to the coronavirus, but says it will “in due course” proceed with detailed dialogue with the four highest scoring bidders.

This is more than a property transaction

Diana Hampson, director of estates and facilities added that dialogue with the selected bidders would resume, perhaps as video calls: “This is more than a property transaction. ID Manchester will create a new, world-class innovation district situated in the heart of Manchester and alongside the university.”

ID Manchester: the vision

The innovation district would become a “new neighbourhood” to drive economic growth and has the potential to create over 6,000 new jobs. It sits adjacent to Manchester Piccadilly Railway Station on a site that offers one of the last major development opportunities in the city.

There are 4 million square feet (370,000 square metres) available for the development. This includes the 650,000 square feet (60,000 square metres) Grade II-listed Sackville Street Building.

Indicative plans suggest 2.6 million square feet (240,000 square metres) of the site could become new work space, with three acres (1.2 hectares) available as “high-quality public realm”.

ID Manchester builds on the university’s track record in nurturing and developing businesses through its R&D facilities – since 2004 it has contributed £746 million to the economy.

Tomorrow’s world

Diana Hampson said: “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.”

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