The UK’s leading science and technology parks operator Manchester Science Partnerships (MSP) has hailed a year of ‘strong performance’, with notable growth driven by existing customers flourishing and expanding their operations, and increasing demand from new occupiers.
MSP creates collaborative and engaging environments across its 2m sq ft estate to support the growth of innovative science and technology companies. The company’s accounts for the year to September 2016 show a 33% surge in the group’s net worth to £58.5m (2015: £44m).
Chief Executive Rowena Burns said: “MSP’s ownership structure and relationship with the city is unique, and gives us the opportunity to play a pivotal role in delivering growth and high value jobs in the knowledge economy.
“The international interest in the city region was palpable recently, at both MIPIM in Cannes, and at South by Southwest in Texas. It will only intensify as Manchester’s national Internet of Things demonstrator CityVerve gathers pace and the health devolution agenda advances.”
She added: “We believe in the power of both partnerships and place and both were evidenced in our successful bid for £2m of funding to create the Manchester Tech Hub within Corridor Manchester, the city’s Innovation District.”
Working alongside partner organisations Manchester Digital, Complete Resourcing, the University of Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University, MSP will create a comprehensive package of services to support the growth of businesses located in the Tech Hub; providing access to world class talent, skills development and introductions to an active and engaged investor base.
A recent study by Tech North highlighted the important role MSP is playing in the rapidly-growing Manchester digital economy. Manchester Science Park alone is home to more than 170 companies in the life science, health-tech, biotech, ICT, digital and creative sectors.
Rowena Burns added: “The Manchester digital economy is enjoying strong growth with a GVA of nearly £3bn, and dynamic businesses like Cisco and Digital Bridge powering the city region forward.
“2017 is going to be a landmark year for MSP and digital enterprise in Manchester with the opening of the Bright Building – the first new build on Manchester Science Park in more than 15 years. In addition to providing a HQ for CityVerve, it will be one of the most tech-enabled buildings in Europe and home to the Mi-IDEA innovation centre; a partnership with Cisco to provide post-accelerator support to SMEs working in technology and digital health sectors.
“Our campuses continue to offer an attractive proposition to occupiers from science and technology sectors and we will continue to invest in both physical facilities, and the wider business support offering and networks which link them.”
Occupancy levels at MSP’s Corridor Manchester operations hit 94% in the period, underlining the appeal of locating in such close proximity to MSP’s partner hospitals and universities.
At Alderley Park in Cheshire, the group’s transformation plan is gathering pace, with high profile customer relocations including Redx Oncology moving from Liverpool, and post-year end Cyprotex from Macclesfield.
In February 2016 a 10-year Masterplan was approved by Cheshire East Council, which includes planning permission for up to 275 homes, a gastro-pub, hotel and new leisure facilities.
Significantly, MSP’s Alderley Park, Manchester Science Park and Citylabs campuses all became Enterprise Zones in April 2016, which offer significant financial benefits to potential customers. It is hoped that this will result in increased occupier interest, and allow for the re-investment of retained business rates to accelerate development of the sites.
With its operating model supported by robust financial figures, MSP is continuing to invest in the creation of new locations.
Highlights for the year were led by plans to invest £60m in a two-phase 220,000 sq ft expansion of the Citylabs campus – home of the biomedical centres of excellence in Manchester – which is set to boost the city’s economy by more than £100m, and deliver 750 high-value jobs upon completion.
The planned investment in Citylabs 2.0 and 3.0 – in a joint venture with Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust – was announced during Europe’s largest science festival; The EuroScience Open Forum (ESOF), which was staged in Manchester in July 2016. The development received the green light from Manchester City Council in April 2017.