Council Set to buy Central Park

Manchester City Council has agreed terms to acquire the 72-acre Central Park in East Manchester from the Homes & Communities Agency, with a view to appointing a developer to bring forward a business park for creative, media and technology companies.

Around 700,000 sq ft of commercial space has already been built on the site over the past 10 years, as part of a development agreement with Ask and Goodman Developments which expired last summer.

Completed projects include the regional headquarters for Fujitsu, One Central Park, Madison Place, and the Greater Manchester Police Force’s divisional base.

There are around 40-acres of developable space left on the site, according to a report ahead of Manchester City Council’s executive meeting on Wednesday 9 September. While the original masterplan for the plot was to bring forward an IT-led business park, the report outlines that the success of the nearby Sharp Project suggests that Central Park would be a “viable location for the development of those businesses which sit within our key economic growth sectors such as creative, media, digital and technology related sectors”.

A potential use for the site is to bring forward a multi-let mixed-use estate.

The HCA has the freehold interest in the park as part of its ownership of former North West Development Agency assets. According to the report, the HCA has received interest in the park, but the council believes that “it is best positioned to take a longer term and cohesive strategic view of the central Park’s development and direction”.

Subject to the formal approval of the purchase at the executive meeting, the council will appoint agents to assess developer interest.

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