The director of Airport City, Karen Campbell, has revealed that the development of the four million square foot business park will begin next month. However, she denies that the project will steal the focus of businesses from the nearby centre of Manchester and instead will cooperate with the city to attract global brands to strengthen the economy of the North West.
Basic infrastructure work, including the creation of roads, utilities and landscaping, is first on the construction agenda, with larger scale building work expected to begin later in the summer.
Ms Campbell says the aim of the scheme is to “set new standards” and to give global companies a new Enterprise Zone in the UK in which to do business. A huge advantage of Airport City, obviously, will be the proximity of transport methods which will offer both national and international links via rail, road and air.
The confirmation that work would soon be underway was made by Ms Campbell at the annual MIPIM property conference in Cannes.
She said; “This is a unique commercial project for the UK. This is a destination that is not likely to compete with Greater Manchester; our positioning is different from both the city centre and other peripheral locations.
“We want Airport City to be recognised as a scheme that sets new standards – we want to bring more global companies into Manchester.”
Airport City has benefited greatly from government assistance, as it is one of a number of Enterprise Zones designated for special privileges in order to help build the economy back up to strength once more.
As well as a relaxed approach to planning permission, companies choosing to relocate to the development will be eligible for business rates relief – something which will certainly appeal to international businesses looking to set up shop here in the UK.
It certainly seems that the business focus of the UK is slowly beginning to shift north from traditional hub London, with the proposed HS2 rail link expected to bring prosperity to the Birmingham Enterprise Zone and now Airport City attempting to transform Manchester into a global competitor.
However, it is not simply the local economy that is expected to benefit from the UK’s first airport city, as Manchester Airports Group will continue to build momentum in their growth plans by controlling operations surrounding the Airport City development.
Managing director for assets, Andrew Cliffe, says; “The last 12 months have seen very fast-paced development in the group, with most recently the acquisition of Stansted.
“That is a key part of the strategy we set to become an internationally-significant airport group, but it is just the start of our ambition.”
Do you think Manchester Airports Group is fast becoming the UK’s primary aviation company, or does it still have some way to go before it can compete with Heathrow Airport Holdings? Will Airport City truly bring prosperity to the North West, or will it simply draw companies away from surrounding city centres which rely on business tenants?
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