The consumer technology juggernaut that is Apple Inc could soon be rolling full steam into the north-west of England, with the company rumoured to be lining up office space on a significant scale in Manchester. Reports suggest that the company could be the lead player behind a project that has seen office space being rented across over a dozen different buildings around Manchester.
Details of the scheme and its backers remain scarce but a joint statement has been released by a variety of parties involved in making possible a remarkably expansive scheme apparently aimed at making Manchester a hotbed of technological innovation and enterprise. A quite deliberately secretive “collaboration of global companies” instructed the likes of the Sheila Bird Group, an interior design firm, and the surveyor Edwards & Co to line up suitable offices right across the city. It has now emerged that these efforts have resulted in 10-year terms being agreed on a total of 20 different office buildings around Manchester on behalf of unnamed parties that were until very recently calling themselves ‘Project Digital’ but have now decided to go by ‘Tomorrow’.
The jointly-released statements on the subject explain that each of the 20 sites will have some of the very latest communications technology installed to facilitate a collaborative approach to all and any work undertaken within the relevant offices.
“This is an unbelievably exciting prospect for Manchester, as the first city to have access to this revolutionary technology and the potential it has to transform local businesses and the way they work, individually and together,” said Atul Bansal, co-founder and commercial director of the Sheila Bird Group. “There is nothing like this anywhere else in the world. The walls will be ‘alive’ and ‘Tomorrow’ will drive a new approach to work interactions and conversations.”
The sites and the buildings set to form part of what is still an endeavor shrouded in mystery at this point include 1 New York Street, Chancery Place, 304 Bridgewater Place, 196 Deansgate, Orange at MediaCityUK and the Manchester Science Park. You can find a full list of locations at the MIDAS ‘invest in Manchester’ website.
Andrew Timms, partner at Edwards & Co, said of his firm’s involvement: “We have approached location-mapping the Tomorrow acquisitions the same way you would a coffee franchise. Each of the buildings has been carefully selected in areas where there is a strong, critical mass of occupiers and businesses. We have had to work off market and ask for a lot of trust from landlords and office agents in lining up the deals, as we are unable to disclose who the tenant is as yet, with only the reassurance that the covenant is of the highest standard.”
So the question of who the driving force behind Tomorrow might be remains up in the Air but rumour at least has it that the company is no less than Apple Inc, maker of so many of the world’s best selling consumer technology devices. In any case, the project looks likely to significantly impact the Manchester office space markets over the course of coming months.