The session, titled ‘Translating Science into Place’, highlighted Manchester’s role in driving innovation and growth for the UK and celebrated Manchester’s future host city status as ‘European City of Science 2016’. The role of the Universities and the growing science and technology sectors was covered in speeches by Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, Chris Oglesby MSP Chairman and CEO Bruntwood, and Rowena Burns CEO Manchester Science Partnerships.
The plans signal the first major step for MSP’s vision to transform Alderley Park, AstraZeneca’s former R&D HQ, into a thriving open innovation community for life science businesses, with over 7,000 high-value jobs planned on-site in the next decade. Bruntwood and MSP have committed to £30 million capital investment for the next three years at Alderley Park to deliver 1.5m sq ft lettable lab and workspace, to respond to the demand and needs of a multi-occupier site, which already features state-of-the-art laboratory and office workspace set in the heart of idyllic Cheshire parkland.
The initial Mereside designs were revealed whilst the site-wide redevelopment plans for Alderley Park are currently subject to a public consultation process, as part of the Cheshire East Council strategic development Masterplan, which is a draft framework to set the guidance for future development.
As MSP’s property partner, the Bruntwood model for property redevelopment and management will add real value to the estate by breathing new life into older buildings to diversify accommodation options for businesses at every stage of their life cycle, from SMEs to global corporate HQs.
The development designs aim to celebrate the exceptional sense of place and community at Alderley Park in addition to the promotion of collaborative working practices and shared services. Improvements to site access, visibility and ease of movement through the site are also important considerations.
One of the first major redevelopments for MSP and Bruntwood, is the bold redesign of a four-story building on the Eastern edge of Mereside, transforming a previously unloved AZ lab facility into a 300,000 sq ft centre for innovative and ambitious businesses. The centre will include a variety of workspaces from high-end specialist labs to flexible offices and manufacturing facilities. Designs will centre around a new communal atrium and internal courtyard featuring new meeting and conference facilities with views over the Alderley Park woodland. In addition, substantial new entrances will open up the building with a strong visual impact and the plans will also feature opportunities for retail and café facilities.
Rowena Burns, CEO Manchester Science Partnerships comments: “Our bold scheme for this once forgotten building demonstrates the sheer scale of the opportunity at Alderley Park. With 300,000 sq ft of additional space, we are taking the first major step toward expanding the business community here, and fulfilling our commitment to provide 7,000 high-value jobs within the next ten years.”
Councillor Michael Jones, Leader of Cheshire East Council said: “We hope that, with the right strategic planning framework in place, we can create a unique, self-sustaining hub for the life science sector at Alderley Park.
“That is why, alongside AstraZeneca and Manchester Science Partnerships, Cheshire East Council has committed to invest £5m in a new investment fund to support the development of established companies on the site. Alderley Park represents an exciting opportunity that is vitally important to our economy and to the strength and growth of the life sciences industry in the North West as a whole.”