Plans submitted for Airport City Manchester

Planning applications to construct a £650m commercial hub surrounding the airport have been submitted to Manchester City Council, according to parent company Manchester Airport Group (M.A.G).

The blueprint, which was unveiled by Chancellor George Osborne in January, would see the redevelopment of a 65 acre site currently used as excess parking space.

The plans include 1.2m sq ft of offices, 530,000 sq ft of advanced manufacturing space, 62,000 sq ft of retail space, 1,300 hotel beds and 13 acres of landscaped parkland, and is expected to lead to the creation of around 21,000 jobs.

Hundreds of multi-national businesses have been queuing up since January to take advantage of the development, with 60 currently considered “potential occupiers”. The site has been designated an ‘Enterprise Zone’ by the government who are looking to capitalise on the global traffic that passes through the UK’s third largest airport.

John Atkins, airport city director of Manchester Airport’s parent company M.A.G, said: “The aim is to create a modern business destination that makes full use of infrastructure already in place and the majority of workers and visitors will not drive to Airport City – instead they will walk, cycle, take a tram, bus, train or a plane.

“We have been working on this project for six years, examining airport cities across the world and how Manchester can successfully apply the concept. The planning submission demonstrates the progress we have made in the past 12 months and is a major step forward towards starting work on site.”

The plot will have its own dedicated central business district, taking inspiration from New York’s elevated walkway, The Highline, in connecting it to the terminals via “green bridges”, as well as extending the airport’s existing Metrolink.

The plans include an 800 metre long public park, with designs again borrowed from New York’s own Central Park. The CBD will include a host of high-street names, as well as a substantial event space and a number of pavilions.

Following approval of the planning application, it is thought that the main link road is likely to take 12-15 months to complete, with office, hotel and retail space expected to take around three years, although centres will open intermittently as construction on individual blocks is finished.

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