BRUNTWOOD has announced it has bought Alderley Park - AstraZeneca’s 400 acre site in Cheshire.
The commercial property company is acquiring the Cheshire site with its subsidiary Manchester Science Parks (MSP) and Cheshire East Council.
The sale is part of AstraZeneca’s plan, set out in March 2013, to establish a new global R&D centre and corporate headquarters in Cambridge in 2016.
Cheshire East Council is proposing to buy a 10 per cent stake in the project and place a three per cent investment in MSP.
Bruntwood became a majority shareholder in MSP in 2012 with a vision to grow that business and contribute to the investment currently underway on the Manchester Corridor on Oxford Road.
Chris Oglesby, chief executive of Bruntwood and Chairman of MSP said: “The science and technology sectors are at the forefront of growth within the UK economy and in particular the Manchester city region.
"This is truly a unique opportunity and it was natural for us to build on our success at MSP. Our aim is to take one of the best invested sites in the world and build a sustainable business environment by linking the assets on the Manchester Corridor with Alderley Park."
Clr Michael Jones, leader of Cheshire East Council, said: "This is a vindication of a year of co-ordinated, cross-boundary, Task Force-led, MP-supported innovative action with AstraZeneca to save Alderley Park and jobs.
“Last March, AstraZeneca announced it was moving its UK-based R&D and world HQ to a new site in Cambridge and removing some 2,300 jobs from its nearly 3,000-strong workforce from Alderley Park, with 700 staying at the site.
“Since then the council and the AstraZeneca bio-hub team, working with local partners have developed the hub to entice 20 companies into the site, bringing about 500 jobs on board – and a further 1,000 jobs in the pipeline.
“What is unique about this opportunity is that it’s not only a centre with vast facilities but also a centre with significant hi-tech equipment in place, unique infrastructure and a ready supply of highly-skilled workers.
“This is a national centre, if not a European centre, for bio-sciences and I am delighted that the new owners are fully engaged with the vision for the bio-hub and Alderley Park."
Pascal Soriot, chief executive officer, AstraZeneca, said: “We believe that the sale of the site to Manchester Science Parks is the responsible and sustainable choice for the future of Alderley Park.
"The new owner is committed to building on AstraZeneca’s life science legacy at the site and ensuring it remains a centre of biotechnology innovation in the North West of England. It will lead to future growth and offer significant opportunities for new jobs to be created.”
Tatton MP George Osborne MP added: “I am delighted that the future of Alderley Park has been secured through today’s deal with Manchester Science Parks. As the local MP, and as Chancellor, I’m fighting hard for the future of this site.
"So I am very pleased that Alderley Park, with its rich heritage of innovation, will now continue to operate at the centre of the UK’s life sciences’ industry.
"Today’s deal ensures that new businesses are able to build on the site’s history to deliver exciting new opportunities and more jobs for the North West which in turn means economic security and a brighter future for all those involved.
"Life Sciences are one of the UK’s leading sectors and by backing places like Alderley Park, we are backing the industries of the future."