Regional market update: the view from Manchester

Regarded by many as the second city, rebranded as the northern powerhouse and with Devo Manc becoming a reality optimism is high in the Manchester real estate market.

Exciting plans for the redevelopment of the former BBC site on Oxford Road have recently been revealed. This is a key site situated at the end of what is known as Corridor Manchester, home to two of the UK’s largest Universities, the University of Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University as well as Central Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust making it the largest clinical and academic campus in Europe.

In his 2014 Autumn Statement the Chancellor announced that the Sir Henry Royce Institute for Materials Research and Innovation would be based in Manchester. From these recently unveiled plans we now know this Institute will be located at Corridor Manchester alongside the National Graphene Institute and the planned Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre. This close proximity will no doubt be another example of “closeness counts” . Despite the growth of the internet and social networks geographic proximity remains a key driver of innovation. This cluster of Institutes will emulate the cross fertilisation and commercialisation of ideas taking place at the other end of the Corridor and further identifies Manchester as a city of innovation and science. 

When you see these plans the dream that science will be at the heart of the northern powerhouse is fast becoming a reality. This is acknowledged at a local and national level. This recognition is spreading much further afield as evidenced by the announcement that Manchester is to be the European City of Science in 2016.

The challenge from a real estate perspective will be to understand the requirements of those looking to bring investment to Manchester within the science and technology sector and ensure that we can provide them with the innovative solutions to meet their needs.

Written by Anne Fairhurst.


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