The Chief Executive of the UK’s leading science and technology park operator, Manchester Science Partnerships (MSP), Rowena Burns, has hailed the official opening of the Bright Building as the fulfilment of promise.
Burns said: “The opening of the Bright Building marks the fulfilment of a promise we made four years ago: to create a place which celebrates the brilliant work of the science and technology businesses which have made their homes with us at MSP.
“The Bright Building sits at the heart of MSP’s original Science Park, part of the city's Oxford Road innovation district and its richly diverse residential community. We want the Bright Building to become known as a place which is open to everyone who is curious about the power of science and technology to change lives.
“Initiatives like Mi-IDEA and CityVerve have at their heart the principle of open innovation. In Bright we hope that we have created a building which will play its own part in supporting Manchester's next generation of innovators and brilliant businesses.”
As the first new build on Manchester Science Park in more than 15 years, its creation also marks an important strategic milestone in the development plan to grow MSP’s city centre estate to one million sq ft, with the facility providing a focal point around which the wider Oxford Road Corridor innovation district can flourish.
The new ‘heart of the Park’, it will be a central hub for the growing collective of scientists, technologists and entrepreneurs who make up the MSP community with more than 170 businesses across the Manchester Science Park and Citylabs campuses; providing the physical infrastructure to support the intellectual connectivity and networks that are essential for business growth.
The Bright Building is home to Mi-IDEA which also launches today. A collaboration between MSP and leading technology company Cisco, Mi-IDEA is a new post-accelerator centre to support start-ups to scale and to provide a space for co-innovation in the region.
Neither a co-working space or traditional accelerator, Mi-IDEA will help start-ups flourish and scale, and be a catalyst for co-innovation with businesses, academia and government. It gives start-ups the space and support to grow – on their terms – without restrictions and a demand for equity.
The building will also serve as the centre of operations and demonstrator for CityVerve: Innovate UK’s Internet of Things city demonstrator, in which MSP is a lead partner.
Developed for MSP by majority shareholder Bruntwood, it is the first of two landmark contributions the leading property group is making to the city’s digital economy: the second being the Manchester Technology Centre, located in the £750m Circle Square neighbourhood, which is set to transform Oxford Road.
The Bright Building will be the new nerve centre for the region’s digital technology sector, which contributes GVA £3.1bn to Manchester’s economy.
The four-storey building’s flexibility allows for blue chip corporates to co-locate with pioneering start-up enterprises – creating a collaborative environment for innovative ideas to develop, and valuable partnerships to form.
The layout has intentionally been designed to maximise collaboration, with the 20,000 sq ft ground floor given over to event and communal space, suited to events for up to 200 people, or informal socialising.
Employee wellbeing is also at the forefront of the design which features cycle storage, shower facilities, kit drying room, a fitness studio with instructor-led classes, and an external yoga area. This is complemented by a ground floor café, operated by ethical caterer, Friska, which has chosen the Bright Building as the location for their first northern site.
The building’s doors were formally opened on 21 September, with MSP also announcing another new customer for its 70,000 sq ft flagship.
Ricardo, a global automotive engineering and environmental consultancy, has taken 4,530 sq ft to house its growing Water & Environment practice. The expansion reflects Ricardo’s mission to foster innovation in the UK water industry through closer collaboration and technology exchange with the automotive sector. Ricardo works with most major UK water companies, including Thames Water, Yorkshire Water and United Utilities.
This latest news follows the recent announcement that NorthWest EHealth Limited, the world leading, fast-growth data platform specialist, which provided the software for pharma giant GSK’s pioneering Salford Lung Study in 2016, agreed a deal to take 12,000 sq ft in the Bright Building, having outgrown its current base at MSP’s Citylabs Campus.
Part-funded by the North West Evergreen Fund (backed by the European Regional Development Fund), and Greater Manchester Combined Authority, the Bright Building is located within the Corridor Manchester Enterprise Zone, which provides significant financial benefits for businesses looking to locate there. Businesses moving to the Bright Building before March 31 2021 may be eligible for a total of £275k in business rates relief over a period of five years.
Jake Berry, Northern Powerhouse Minister said “Greater Manchester is home to world-class digital innovators and entrepreneurs and I am delighted to have been at the opening of its latest success story, Mi-IDEA and the Bright Building, which will focus on supporting collaborative innovation in Greater Manchester and across the Northern Powerhouse. The Government understands just how important digital and creative sectors are to ensuring the North, and the UK more widely, remains a global powerhouse of digital economic activity."