Aviva Investors, the global asset management business of Aviva plc, today announces it has agreed a long-term partnership with Allied London, the award-winning UK property investment and development company, to create Enterprise City ® at St. John’s, Manchester’s newest city centre neighbourhood. The Wider St Johns neighbourhood development has a total investment value of over £1.25bn.
Built on the former site of Granada television studios in the St John’s area of Manchester, immediately south of Spinningfields, Allied London and Aviva Investors will combine their experience and expertise to establish one of the UK’s leading digital, media and enterprise clusters.
Once completed, Enterprise City ® will comprise of over one million sq ft commercial mixed-use space, including workspace, TV and film studios, hotel/leisure and various property infrastructure across 10 buildings. It will provide a place for modern industry in Manchester and become a community for the technology, digital, media and creative industries.
Enterprise City ® aims to provide spaces for start-ups and small and medium-sized entities; production facilities for media companies; and buildings designed to attract global brands and industry leaders. The development has already attracted technology giant Booking.com, which will be the anchor tenant at Enterprise City, taking 220,00 sq ft at the Manchester Goods Yard buildings.
Aviva Investors will initially commit £300 million to the project, which will be a key new addition to its existing Manchester real estate portfolio of almost £450 million. The city is one of Aviva Investors’ core locations for its real estate platform due to its strong economic fundamentals. The city has four universities, a pool of highly-qualified labour and its recent success has been built around thriving digital and knowledge industries with over 62,000 jobs in the sector.*
Daniel McHugh, Managing Director, Real Estate Investments at Aviva Investors, said:
“This deal is fully aligned with our focused investment strategy and demonstrates our scale and expertise to fulfil large conviction-led investments in high-quality real estate assets. This scheme will deliver modern, vibrant space for enterprise and creative industries to thrive. We look forward to working closely with Allied London, Manchester City Council and regional stakeholders over the coming years to deliver this significant new project that creates outstanding real estate and a compelling long-term opportunity for our investors.“
Michael Ingall, Allied London Owner and Chief Executive, said:
“Enterprise City ® is a concept Allied London has envisioned from scratch. Within eighteen months we have created something of significant value and importance for both Manchester’s business community and the wider north-west region. The transformation, re-adaption of old disused commercial buildings and a dynamic masterplan for new buildings was the catalyst for creating a new enterprise community for use by today’s modern industry.
“Most developments of this nature start around one major tenant and become corporate very quickly. Conversely, we have started our project from a blank sheet, which allows us to be more selective, focused and dynamic in our approach to creating a diverse enterprise hub. By using our expertise in placemaking, we have articulated something that would usually take a generation to realise. We have worked with Aviva Investors for over a year and now is the time to cement a long-term relationship.
“A partnership with a forward thinking but long-term investor is the right way to go for such an ambitious project, and I am delighted to be partnering with Aviva Investors, who understand the potential of this exciting, important and relevant development.”
Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, comments:
“This is encouraging news that adds real weight and impetus to the Enterprise City ® ambition at St John’s. Manchester has the potential to incubate and support some of tomorrow’s great businesses and we need forward thinking enterprise opportunities, such as this, to realise this great potential.”
Manchester City Council approved planning permission for the Old Granada Studio development in May. The revised application supported Allied London’s plans to retain and refurbish the original television studios as well as incorporating new workspace elements. A new nine-storey mixed use building will replace the old annex building and consist of retail units, workspace and residential space. Redevelopment of the Bonded Warehouse and the ABC buildings is also well underway, with new occupiers expected to take up workspace later in 2018.
As part of the funding partnership, Allied London’s new studios business, All Studios, will manage the multi-functional filming, production and studio facilities at Enterprise City ® . The Crystal Maze Studios, located on Lower Byrom Street, does not form part of the All Studios business and remains open to the public.
Allied London launched its Enterprise City ® concept at Le Marché International des Professionnels de l’Immobilier (MIPIM) Conference 2017 in Cannes, France.
Aviva Investors was advised by CBRE.