University wants to develop 26 acre ‘district’ in city centre

The University of Manchester is searching for a partner to help it deliver a £1.5bn ‘innovation district’ in the city centre.

A 26-acre site (pictured) by Manchester Piccadilly station is owned by the university and is already home to a biotechnology institute, and a £60m engineering centre built by Laing O’Rourke.

But now the university has started pre-market engagement in the hope of finding an investor and developer for the remaining 16.4 acres of the site.

Its plans include around 3.5m ft2 of mixed-use space and three acres of public realm.

A contract notice will be published on the OJEU at the end of April.

The university says it “expects the mixed-use site will attract science, research, development, cultural and technology companies, as well as accommodating new residential space.”

The grade-II listed Sackville Street Building onsite will also be re-purposed under the plans.

On Tuesday (5 February) the Deloitte’s crane survey revealed construction workloads in Manchester have already risen to record levels.