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UK’s first airport city unveiled

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne has unveiled plans for a £659 million (US$1 billion) airport city at Manchester Airport – the first of its kind in the UK.

The 150-acre regeneration scheme created by Manchester Airports Group (MAG) will transform the airport into an international business destination offering over five million square feet of new high-quality business premises, with the aim of attracting international companies that would not previously have located in the region or the UK.

Airport City will be a focal point of the wider Manchester Enterprise Zone, a 116-hectare development that will become fully operational in April 2012 and will also feature a MediPark development at University Hospital South Manchester and Wythenshawe town centre.

Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, said, “Airport City will fill the gap in the market that currently exists for a high quality and well-connected environment for businesses that need access to a major British city and to a global marketplace. Airport City will provide an innovative and complementary offer to Greater Manchester’s existing assets, rather than competing against them, adding new capacity to the city’s existing dynamic economy. Manchester is well placed with an international offer based on established academic research and technology, innovative businesses, communications and transport infrastructure.”

The Airport City masterplan will be complete in two stages; the first is a development area adjacent to the airport’s existing railway station and to north of the M56, which will focus on hotel, office, retail and advanced manufacturing uses – whilst a second area adjacent to the existing cargo centre at Junction 6 of the M56, will focus on freight and logistics uses.

The first area of development will be linked to the airport terminals and the station by a series of wide, landscaped ‘green bridges’ based on New York’s elevated urban park, the Highline, ensuring every part of the City is an eight minute walk from the airport.

Charlie Cornish, chief executive of MAG, said, “Airport City is a concept we have been developing for a number of years and we are now at a critical stage in the project’s life as we bring it to the market and commence phase one. We were enthused by the Government’s recognition of Airport City’s potential when it was named as the focal point of their new Enterprise Zone, as we feel that this project presents a generational opportunity not only for the wider region, but nationally in order to attract new investment to the UK during the economic downturn.”

Source : PassengerTerminalWorld

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