A scheme using £17.5m of Levelling Up funding to transform two historic Manchester city centre buildings into a modern hub for growing media and tech firms has taken a significant step forward.
The Council has entered into legal agreements with development partner Allied London for the Grade II-listed Upper Campfield Market and Lower Campfield Market buildings on Liverpool Road. 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. A third building, Castlefield House owned by Allied London, will also be repositioned as part of the masterplan to provide complementary workspace for tech and media businesses.
Campfield is one of two schemes which together formed the Culture In The City project which the 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 of this will be announced in the new year.
Campfield will attract and support start-up, recovery and scale-up businesses in the tech, innovation and media sectors.
The Campfield market buildings will provide 83,000 sq. ft. of modern workspace including a minimum of 400 hot desks plus meeting rooms, event spaces and other facilities accessible on a permanent occupier or drop-in basis.
Over a 15-year period, it is anticipated that 1,600 jobs will be created and a further 2,400 jobs sustained.
The project will build on the success of the Exchange Tech Hub in the 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.
Work on Campfield will start in the new year and be completed by spring 2024.
Council Leader 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 & Chief Executive of Allied London, stated:
“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 year having supported the founding and growth of over 120 fledgling businesses. 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.”