Allied plans new Manchester media and tech hubs

Two historic Manchester city centre buildings are being transformed into a hub for growing media and tech companies using £17.5m of Levelling Up funding.

Manchester City Council has reached legal agreements with Allied London, its development partner, for the Grade II-listed Upper Campfield Market and Lower Campfield Market buildings located on Liverpool Road near the Museum of Science and Industry.

Allied London will repair, refurbish and fit out these heritage buildings to create a new Campfield tech, media and creative industries hub within St. John’s which will be operated by its managed workspace platform All Work & Social.

As part of the masterplan, a third building, Castlefield House, which is owned by Allied London will be repositioned to provide additional workspace for media and tech businesses.

Campfield will support and attract start-ups, recovery, and scale-up companies in the media, tech, and innovation sectors.

83,000 square feet of space will be available in the Campfield market buildings. Modern workspace with at least 400 hot desks, meeting rooms, and other facilities available on a drop-in or permanent basis.

The developer claims that 1,600 jobs will be created over the next 15 years and another 2,400 jobs will be sustained.

The project will build on the success of the Exchange Tech Hub in the nearby Bonded Warehouse and form part of wider plans for Enterprise City in St John’s including the ABC Building, the Globe Building, and Manchester Goods Yard which is already the home of Booking.com and Cloud Imperium Games.

Campfield work will be completed by spring 2024.

Council leader and board member of the Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership, Cllr Bev Craig said: “Campfield is an exciting initiative which will see these two heritage buildings help play a dynamic part in Manchester’s future, giving innovative businesses an affordable place to flourish and helping to create the jobs of tomorrow.

“Having a location in the heart of the city centre, as part of a cluster of similar businesses, will create an environment where tech, media and creative entrepreneurs – whether they are starting up or scaling up – can network and share inspiration.

“Manchester has always been a city of innovation and creativity. Campfield will help ensure it continues to be.”

Michael Ingall, chairman and chief executive of Allied London, said: “This project is important, firstly to get two historic buildings back into a sustainable use and, secondly, it’s a project to further develop the tech, media and creative sectors in the heart of Manchester, providing more affordable and supported infrastructure and services whilst establishing interesting public areas in the buildings for the wider community’s benefit.

“We have researched as well as visited several precedent developments such as New Lab, Brooklyn, Station F, Paris, LocHal, Tilburg, and Palermo, Uruguay, as part of our consideration for the design and what can be achieved, and are confident of delivering a very impactful project for Manchester.”

Tanya Grady, commercial director of All Work & Social, the managed workspace operator, said: “At Department Bonded Warehouse we have firmly established the acclaimed Exchange programme for start-ups and scale-ups where, working with Tech Nation, we have had a great number of successes in our annual cohorts. We are now in our fourth consecutive year of supporting the growth and founding of over 120 fledgling business enterprises. Campfield will allow us to supersize the Exchange programme and provide more support services around these businesses, and we are excited to be able to build on this success.”

Campfield is one of two schemes in the Culture in the City project in which Manchester City Council was awarded almost £20m of Government Levelling Up funding in autumn 2021. The remaining £2.2m will see three heritage railway arches, between arts venue HOME and Whitworth Street West converted into a creative talent development centre to be operated by HOME. More details about this will be announced in 2019.

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