Back in the old days there was a university in the city centre called UMIST. It stood for University of Manchester Institute of Science & Technology and it was, in fact, the university that I attended as a young lad.
It was founded all the way back in 1824 and in 2004 was merged with the Victoria University of Manchester to become the University of Manchester. Since then, the old UMIST building near Canal Street in the city centre have been rather underutilised as the university concentrated it’s campus down to the south on the Oxford Road corridor.
Now though, the University have unveiled a HUGE new 26-acre ‘innovation’ district – a £1.5 billion mega-project in the old UMIST campus.
Billed as one of the highest-profile regeneration opportunities in the country, the new venture – ID Manchester – will span 4m sq feet and is intended to attract science, research, development, cultural and technology companies to the university’s city centre campus.
ID Manchester will be a mixed-use city-centre neighbourhood with a distinct identity and unique character. It will be vibrant, dynamic, diverse and inclusive: a new exemplar for innovation districts and urban renewal.
There’ll be a total of 2.6m sq ft of offices and other workspace, along with some residential development and three acres of public space.
The site is next to the impressive grade two-listed Sackville Building, which would be re-purposed as part of the project, and early designs also take in the much-loved Brutalist gems on the campus, including the fantastic Reynold Building and it’s distinctive zig-zag glass feature.
The University have chosen Bruntwood SciTech to tackle to project, with the teams set to look for an architect and other companies to draw up a masterplan, with the intention being that “by 2035, ID Manchester will be recognised as one of the world’s leading innovation hubs”.