The University of Manchester has begun its search for an investor and development partner to deliver a new £1.5 billion innovation district in the city centre.

The university’s vision for the 26-acre ‘ID Manchester’ scheme will be a dynamic, world-class community with innovation, collaboration and enterprise at its heart, with the potential to create over 6,000 new jobs.

The site benefits from existing green space and the unique feature of the 650,000 sq ft Grade II Listed Sackville Street Building, which the university said offers a fantastic opportunity for re-purposing.

It occupies the recently opened £60 million Masdar Building, home to the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre, and the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology at the south end of the site and is looking for a partner to develop the remaining 16.4 acres.

ID Manchester

Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, president and vice-chancellor of the University of Manchester, said: “We are looking for the very best joint-venture partner to work with us to develop this prime site in the heart of the city which will generate thousands of new jobs and will enhance the reputation of the university and the city as the place where the world’s most valuable ideas are transformed into reality.”

Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, said: “The potential of ID Manchester is huge.

“There are tremendous opportunities to regenerate this distinctive part of the city and we welcome the University’s growth, investment and job-creation ambitions for the development.” 

ID Manchester is adjacent to Manchester’s main public transport hub Piccadilly Railway Station and future HS2 station, and is a 20-minute train journey to the international airport.

Manchester University

ID Manchester is another piece in the jigsaw of the major regeneration taking place in that area of the city including Mayfield, London Road Fire Station, Kampus, Circle Square and the £1bn investment already being made into its main Oxford Road campus by The University of Manchester.

Diana Hampson, director of estates and facilities of the University of Manchester said: “We are at the beginning of an exciting journey as we look forward to finding a partner to help us deliver our vision for an outstanding new community, on the last site of its size and scale yet to be developed in the city centre.

“ID Manchester will build upon the proud history of bold ideas, discovery and invention established by the University here.

“It will attract the most forward-thinking, like-minded individuals and businesses with the chance to establish their UK HQ, start up or scale up their company, take on and benefit from disruptive technologies and ideas or simply come and enjoy this inspirational space.”

Sheppard Robson and Arup supported the university and CBRE to develop the vision for ID Manchester, based on the principles of the SRF and the university’s ambition to create a world-leading Innovation District.