Allied London and Aviva Investors have agreed a long-term funding partnership to create an ‘Enterprise City’ as part of Manchester’s new St. John’s neighbourhood.
Aviva Investors, the global asset management business of Aviva plc, will initially commit £300m to the project. It is a key new addition to its existing Manchester real estate portfolio of almost £450m. Manchester is one of Aviva Investors’ core locations for its real estate platform due to its strong economic fundamentals.
The aim of Enterprise City, which is being developed on the site of the famous Granada TV studios, is to provide space for start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises. There will also be production facilities for media companies and space designed to attract global brands and industry leaders.
Enterprise City will ultimately provide 1m sq. ft. of commercial mixed-use space, including workspace, TV and film studios, hotel/leisure and various property infrastructure across 10 buildings. It will provide a place for modern industry in Manchester and become a community for the technology, digital, media and creative industries.
The development has already secured Booking.com as its anchor tenant. Booking.com will occupy 220,000 sq.ft. in the Manchester Goods Yard buildings for its ground transportation company Rentalcars.com.
Daniel McHugh, Managing Director, Real Estate Investments at Aviva Investors, comments: “This deal is fully aligned with our focused investment strategy and demonstrates our scale and expertise to fulfil large conviction-led investments in high-quality real estate assets.
“This scheme will deliver modern, vibrant space for enterprise and creative industries to thrive. We look forward to working closely with Allied London, Manchester City Council and regional stakeholders over the coming years to deliver this significant new project that creates outstanding real estate and a compelling long-term opportunity for our investors.“
Michael Ingall, Allied London Owner and Chief Executive, said: “Enterprise City is a concept Allied London has envisioned from scratch. Within eighteen months we have created something of significant value and importance for both Manchester’s business community and the wider north-west region. The transformation, re-adaption of old disused commercial buildings and a dynamic masterplan for new buildings was the catalyst for creating a new enterprise community for use by today’s modern industry.
Manchester City Council granted planning permission for the Old Granada Studio development in May. The revised application supported Allied London’s plans to retain and refurbish the original television studios as well as incorporating new workspace elements. A new nine-storey mixed use building will replace the old annex building and consist of retail units, workspace and residential space. Redevelopment of the Bonded Warehouse and the ABC buildings is also well underway, with new occupiers expected to move in later in the year.
The wider St. John’s neighbourhood development has a total investment value of over £1.25bn. It is close to the recently completed Spinningfields development, developed by Allied London over a period of over 20 years and which has created a new central business district for Manchester.