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Lift off for ICON as The Hut Group’s Airport City plans approved

Plans have been approved for a new logistics and global content creation studio at a Manchester Airport site, Icon Industrial has revealed today.

The announcement paves the way for work to begin on ICON, an 11.6-acre logistics and global content creation studio at Manchester Airport on behalf of online beauty and wellbeing retailer, The Hut Group (THG), which could house up to 2,000 people.

Approval means construction could start on site as early as March 2019, with completion timetabled for April 2020.

The development will provide a 168,000 sq ft warehouse and 104,000 sq ft of office space over four floors, which will dramatically expand THG’s logistics and content production capabilities. It is part of the e-commerce giant’s co-location at Manchester Airport, which includes a new 280,00 sq ft office building at Airport City North – ‘THQ’. The combined developments are expected to support up to 10,000 jobs.

Icon Industrial, a strategic joint venture by leading commercial property developer, Stoford Developments and private global investment firm, TPG Real Estate, has recently submitted two further planning applications to Manchester City Council for significant new developments at its 45-acre warehouse and logistics site.

Dan Gallagher, joint managing director of Stoford Developments, said: “We are delighted that THG has chosen ICON as the site for its new logistics and global content creation studio, it is fantastic news for Icon Manchester Airport and for the wider north west region. This site is in a key strategic location at the very heart of the Northern Powerhouse and its unrivalled airport connectivity will enable THG to reach a worldwide market.

“It is the fourth exciting development planned at the site, such has been the demand from potential occupiers keen to relocate to Icon Manchester Airport. The remaining land presents potential occupiers with an excellent opportunity to have a unit built to their specific requirements and continues the fulfillment of the Airport City masterplan, expanding and enhancing the logistical facilities on site.”

Matthew Moulding, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of The Hut Group, said: “This is an exciting time for THG. Following THG’s acquisition and integration in 2017 of Hangar 7, the UK’s leading content studio, ICON is our next step in expanding the Group’s content production and logistics capabilities dramatically.”

Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, said: “As a first phase investor in Airport City Manchester, THG’s arrival is a major vote of confidence in the city and begins to unlock the major potential of Airport City as a hub for employment.”

Located adjacent to the World Freight Terminal and part of the Manchester Enterprise Zone, Icon Manchester Airport offers excellent road, air and rail connections, with immediate access to junction 6 of the M56 motorway and Greater Manchester. It also benefits from the recently completed A6 Manchester Airport Relief Road, a £290 million dual carriageway linking the A6 and M56 that is expected to significantly reduce journey times to Manchester Airport.

Icon Industrial acquired the site from Airport City Manchester joint venture in July 2017. The build to suit logistics/warehouse development has a gross development value of around £100 million and is already home to occupiers including Amazon and DHL, with on site amenities including a BP Petrol filling station, Costa Coffee and M&S Simply Food.

TPG Real Estate and Stoford Developments are building Icon Industrial into a significant logistics platform by acquiring and developing similarly attractive UK sites, as well as refurbishing existing buildings in prime logistics locations.

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