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Old August 23rd, 2012, 08:33 PM   #21
jrb
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Project Digital - Tomorrow

Surely worth it's own thread?

Plenty to discuss as and when it happens.

Reposted two articles from yesterday originally posted by Charlesstreet and Man Med. The third article is from property Week. Most of it is very positive office guff, but the highlighted bit might tie into 'Project Digital', now renamed Tomorrow'.

Quote:
An American technology giant is set to lead a property deals spree in Manchester city centre.

Surveyors DTZ say that so-called Project Digital is now close to taking 100,000 sq ft of central Manchester office space.

Sources have indicated the company on the search for premises in Manchester is a global brand.

Speculation is rife that it could be Apple.

Assessing the city’s office market, DTZ said: "In a significant move, it is understood that an undisclosed US technology corporate has terms agreed on 17 different Greater Manchester buildings, with seven more to follow.

"Project Digital is set to take up to 100,000 sq ft of grade A space in 2012, progressing to an eventual total of around 170,000 sq ft."

The Project Digital deal is expected to be followed by a series of other transactions.

DTZ calculates that as many as 29 occupiers are looking for around 830,000 sq ft of space in and around Manchester.

An announcement is expected this autumn from health giant BUPA, which has been looking a 160,000 sq ft Greater Manchester base.

A shortlist of Salford and city centre sites is being considered.

Jacbos Engineering is also looking for 90,000 sq ft, with Cheadle tipped as its likely destination.

Private college BPP is seeking 50,000-60,000 sq ft to consolidate operations in the city centre while another college, Futureworks, has a requirement for 25,000 sq ft.

Rob Yates, director of office agency at DTZ in Manchester, said: "We expect the second half of 2012 to show improved levels of activity.

"There are a number of deals due to commit plus larger transactions to come to fruition. We expect the final take up figure for 2012 to be around 700,000-800,000 sq ft."

In a separate report, surveyors at GVA disclose that business confidence has continued to affect regional office occupier markets.

Christopher Cheap, a director at GVA , said: "The overriding theme across all north west markets is occupier nervousness and higher levels of due diligence increasing the

time taken to convert firm interest into transactional commitment.

"This is particularly the case with larger lettings or pre-lettings, which essentially underpin take up levels.

"It is clear that this has contributed to a lag in the pipeline of transactions over the last quarter.

However, with a number of these ‘deals’ still very much on track, we expect there to be increased activity towards the end of the year.

"The central Manchester market continues to see a high number of smaller transactions within the secondary sector which yet again illustrates its scale and robustness as

indigenous occupiers continue to move."

Source: http://menmedia.co.uk/manchestereven...-space-in-city
Quote:
http://www.thedrum.co.uk/news/2012/0...ubbed-tomorrow

Last night, the Manchester Evening News reported a rumour that Apple could be one of 20 companies set to open in the city as part of a mysterious project known as ‘Project Digital’ or ‘Tomorrow’.

The story ran following the letting of 20 buildings, totally 180,000 sq ft, being let, with a ten-year commitment for each. The buildings are based across The Hive in the Northern Quarter of the city, MediaCity UK and Booths Park in Knutsford.

Property consultancy Edwards & Co has been appointed as advisors on developing the plans for a Manchester based, as well as a future plan to enter into London, while the Sheilda Bird Group, the interior design firm, has been working for ‘a global client’ for over two years, as its UK client design director.

Tenancy deals are understood to also have been concluded without the identities of the tenants being made known, mounting further speculation as to the size of the organisations involved.

The technology companies that are involved will form a community, which, should it go ahead, will boost the city’s digital reputation on an international scale.

Tim Newns, chief executive of the city’s development body, MIDAS described the potential of the project as being; “the most exciting digital investment in the UK,” stating that it could trigger a number of new investments within the area also.

“It is therefore a testament to Manchester’s growing reputation in the global digital community that the city has been chosen as the first location internationally to launch what will be ground-breaking technology. It will also be a huge opportunity for businesses based in Manchester and beyond to explore new ways of working to grow their competitiveness through enhanced technology,” he added.

Also known is that Manchester creative studio The Neighbourhood has been working on the launch concept for the project.

In terms of international companies working within Manchester, Google already has a small presence in city, but is heavily rumoured to be one of the 20 involved, while ITV and BBC have both set up home within MediaCity UK in the last year.

Katie Gallagher from Manchester Digital is also enthusiastic about the future for the city, should the rumored organisations choose to set up shop in the city to work together on a project, described as being ‘a world first’.

“We thought that the BBC was a game changer for the city, and indeed it was, but this gives us a whole new game altogether. Just looking at the size of the space they’re taking – we could be talking 1,000 jobs there. That is mind boggling, and another BBC sized investment into the city,” she stated.

Commenting as to what it would mean for the digital industry’s ability to retain talent within the North West of England, Gallagher was also hugely optimistic.

“There was a bit of a panic within the industry when the BBC was coming, with people wondering if they would lose their talent to the BBC. There maybe some short term issues with that, but I’d don’t think that there’s been anything close to what people expected. The great thing about having these tech companies will be that they will be able to afford to train staff and it means that we can improve that mid-level tier of talent and it helps with that eco-system of spending your whole career in the North West,” she commented.

Speculation will continue to rumble on as to exactly which the companies involved and what they will be working on, but it does look as though whatever the plans are – they are likely to be revealed in the coming months.
Quote:
Prepare for regional renaissance as businesses favour ‘northshoring’
17 August 2012 | By Chris Oglesby



From the evidence in Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds and Birmingham, there is a much fairer wind blowing through these city economies than the media would have you believe.

Negative media sentiment has led to negative market sentiment and, as a result, the difference between office yields in London and the regions is the widest I’ve ever known. But despite the prevailing view in London that everybody north of Watford either works for the public sector or spends their time watching daytime TV, demand in the regional property markets is greater than it has been for some time.

The trend is highest in Manchester, which reinforced its role as an economic powerhouse with an impressive 20% population increase in the census, more than three times the national average.

In Liverpool, we have more large enquiries than at any stage in the 20 years we’ve been operating in the city, and we’re also starting to see strong demand in Birmingham and Leeds.

So where is the growth spurt coming from?

One significant factor is an increase in “onshoring”. Cost increases and service concerns have led to large corporates bringing shared service centres back to the UK, and regional cities are a logical destination. They are comparatively cost-effective places to locate, plus the availability of good-quality staff means service standards — and the resulting customer satisfaction — can be improved. One of India’s biggest outsourcing companies, Aegis, has recently created 600 jobs at its new European headquarters, in City Tower in Manchester, citing the city’s connectivity, talent pool and diversity as the reasons for the decision.

Companies no longer need to set up in London first, as Manchester has global links

Regional rethink

We’re also seeing a notable trend in “northshoring”. The Royal Bank of Scotland has recently moved investment banking jobs up from London to Manchester, and Deutsche Bank has followed suit in Birmingham. Many banks had put on hold their previously planned moves north because of the financial crisis, but have now started to reconsider because the expense of London — for both property and people — is causing them to rethink.

Legal sector deregulation will also play to this trend. An interesting anecdotal “statistic” is that 50% of the legal work done in London won’t be done there in 10 years’ time — it will have been “northshored” to regional cities, where you can access the talent pool at a much lower cost.

Another factor is “city appeal”. It is not Manchester’s 20% population growth that is the most fascinating statistic, it is that this growth has come from just the type of people a thriving economy needs — graduates and young professionals. And those people want to be in cities. The greenfield business parks where companies relocated in the 1980s are not where people want to be. Cities are improving their offer to young talent.

Businesses are basing themselves in cities because they want to be at the centre of the talent pool. That, in turn, means cities offer the better jobs, creating a virtuous circle.

It is this urban focus for what were not traditionally seen as “urban” businesses that has led to Bruntwood to take over a controlling stake in Manchester Science Parks. This public/private sector partnership operates key science and technology facilities linked to the city’s high-quality universities and teaching hospitals. Post-industrial cities such as Manchester present tremendous opportunities in this area: you have strong academic infrastructure and space to develop, and fewer of the constraints that some of the south’s economic hotspots face. Cities such as Cambridge may be making great technological leaps, but they do not have the space, the transport infrastructure, the size of talent pool or the advanced service economy to support the businesses that want to set up on its doorstep.

The fourth factor is that regional cities are “going global” and many international companies no longer feel they need to set up in London first.

Manchester has all the necessary global links — to the US, India and the Far East — through its top-tier airport (pictured). I’m aware of at least three large international technology companies who are looking at Manchester for their first significant foray into the UK.

Manchester airport’s global connections do not just affect Manchester. The recently announced investment in the northern rail hub will link Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester, putting them all within half an hour of the airport. Together, they can create an economic “supercity” zone to rival other areas in Europe, never mind the overheating south-east.

So get ready for the renaissance of the regions: over the last 20 years, our regional cities have had to completely restructure their economies but, having done so, they are now poised to become some of the best places in the UK to support the businesses of the future. http://www.propertyweek.com/comment/...041206.article

Last edited by jrb; August 23rd, 2012 at 08:45 PM.
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Old August 24th, 2012, 11:10 AM   #22
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Similar to Urbanist, my punt (well actually my daughter's as well) is that it could be infrastructure. The fact that they have multiple locations but offices not retail - chosen in the way that Costa Coffee chooses locations - is intriguing.

They could be offering a service and want people to drop in, but that suggests they might be better with retail space.

But if they were offering super connected digital city then each office could be acting like a repeater (hub) akin to a mega bandwidth wireless network. But does technology need a lot of space? And is it more roof space that they would need? So there must be some service element to it - maybe you will be able to connect to other hubs in other cities - virtual meeting rooms for video conferencing 2.0 or something.
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Old August 24th, 2012, 11:15 AM   #23
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Duplicate post

Last edited by pixel2006; August 24th, 2012 at 04:05 PM.
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Old August 24th, 2012, 11:35 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pixel2006
My punt (well actually my daughter's as well) is that it could be infrastructure. The fact that they have multiple locations but offices not retail - chosen in the way that Costa Coffee chooses locations - is intriguing.

They could be offering a service and want people to drop in, but that suggests they might be better with retail space.

But if they were offering super connected digital city then each office could be acting like a repeater (hub) akin to a mega bandwidth wireless network. But does technology need a lot of space? And is it more roof space that they would need? So there must be some service element to it - maybe you will be able to connect to other hubs in other cities - virtual meeting rooms for video conferencing 2.0 or something.
I kind of agree with this, but can't quite work out why they'd need so much space, or why they'd be doing this in Manchester before larger markets. Unless they're developing whatever this product is while at the same time piloting it in a real city.
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Old August 24th, 2012, 02:42 PM   #25
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Don't think this is infrastructure. The current big trend in IT is the cloud. That is large sheds stacked up with cheap commodity servers that are located in anonymous out of town locations. The idea is an Enterprise would out source some of its IT to such a cloud to be managed by a third party. This doesn't seem to fit with that model.

There is an alternative which is the so called private enterprise cloud. PEC is developed in house by an Enterprise because it is concerned about data security issues with the cloud e.g. think of a bank, say, very unlikely that they would out source their customer details to a third party. Even so I don't think this is unlikely as why build it in expensive city center offices when you could locate the equipment in some out of town shed. Modern servers run extremely hot and require vast amounts of power and cooling - the economics just wouldn't stack up.

Maybe these offices could be some sort of 'front end' to some sort of business to business (B2B) networking. If this is so they could just place networking equipment in the offices and my guess this would be aimed at the SMB level of company. But again, why do this in the days of the ubiquitous Internet?

Nope I've no idea what is going on but, like all of us I guess, I'm very intrigued.
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Old August 24th, 2012, 04:16 PM   #26
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No I wasn't thinking server farms for cloud computing, instead that the buildings were being used to create super fast mesh network for the city.

But, why office space not roof space - hence my thought that there is some service element to it. They have chosen specific locations to be near specific customers. So that was my idea about some super dooper virtual meeting offer.

Anyway, like you say, who knows - but I do like a mystery.
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Old August 24th, 2012, 05:04 PM   #27
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The 13/20+ schemes that have been mentioned so far, mapped.



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Old August 24th, 2012, 06:58 PM   #28
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Good work nq.

Anyone got a subscription to Propertyweek?

Could be the same guff printed else, but might be something new?

Quote:
Manchester hopes Tomorrow reveals secret tech tenants

24 August 2012 | By Nick Johnstone

Consortium of digital occupiers leases 180,000 sq ft across 20 schemes in the city and neighbouring Salford

http://www.propertyweek.com/news/new...041573.article
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Old August 24th, 2012, 07:22 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrb View Post
Could be the same guff printed else, but might be something new?
Doesn't really add anything extra to what's already been posted TBH.
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Old September 6th, 2012, 04:11 PM   #30
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Quote:
Who's behind Project Digital

By Nadia Elghamry on September 6, 2012 2:07 PM| No Comments| No TrackBacks

Ah, Project Digital. The 188,000sq ft Manchester requirement so secret, only four people in the city know who it is, writes Simon Binns.

Other media outlets have made a lazy stab at Apple, but other names including Cisco, Intel, Google and Microsoft have been thrown around in recent weeks.

But what will it actually be? All signs seem to be pointing towards an enlarged use of holographic modelling, extended toward a B2B audience that would usually be unable to afford access to the technology. Thin glass screens and white walls will be used to grab and store data as global colleagues push, pull and spin virtual environments in front of their very eyes. Imagine a verson of Minority Report set in a branch of Rymans. Possibly.
http://www.estatesgazette.com/blogs/focus/manchester/
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Old September 6th, 2012, 09:28 PM   #31
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This is a joke isn't it?
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Old September 6th, 2012, 09:32 PM   #32
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Strange article that. Is it written by Nadia or Simon? Considering Simon makes out that only four people in the city know the detail of the project and then gives quite a lot of detail are we led to believe that he's one of the chosen few?
And the possibly bit, added to avoid legal action methinks.
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Old September 7th, 2012, 02:12 PM   #33
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I'm not one of the four who know who it is. But I do know certain elements of what it might be, based on visuals and fly-throughs that have been displayed to people.

And it was a light-hearted piece, based on the fact that everyone's just guessing.

A well known IT/electronics brand is behind it? Well, pick any one from 20. Apple? Microsoft? Google? Maybe. But then again, maybe not...
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Old September 7th, 2012, 03:29 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tellmeastorey View Post
I'm not one of the four who know who it is. But I do know certain elements of what it might be, based on visuals and fly-throughs that have been displayed to people.

And it was a light-hearted piece, based on the fact that everyone's just guessing.

A well known IT/electronics brand is behind it? Well, pick any one from 20. Apple? Microsoft? Google? Maybe. But then again, maybe not...
So even you tellmeastorey are not prepared to spill the beans just yet.

I/we all know how the system works.

Thanks for that little snippet anyway.
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Old September 7th, 2012, 07:38 PM   #35
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Be interesting to hear who he thinks the four people are. There was about that many in the press release wasn't there?
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Old September 9th, 2012, 11:44 PM   #36
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It's not a big secret - four firms have been appointed to handle the requirement, and that's already in the public domain.

Trust me, if I knew, I wouldn't be keeping it to myself.
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Old September 10th, 2012, 09:29 AM   #37
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from this week's exec report on Sharp Project...

Recent press coverage has reinforced Manchester’s position as one of the
leading digital cities with the announcement of “Tomorrow” which has
potential to be one of the most exciting digital investments in the UK and
testament to Manchester’s growing reputation in the global digital community.
“Tomorrow” is the result of a collaboration between a number of global digital
companies and will be delivered across twenty sites in and around
Manchester. Each site will host ground-breaking technology that will enable
local firms to explore and access business solutions, knowledge and data in
an intuitive and interactive format that is completely innovative and
unprecedented. The technology will be linked across all 20 buildings to
facilitate collaborative problem solving, new product/service development and
commercial innovation. Manchester has been chosen as the first location
internationally to launch what will be ground-breaking technology. It will also
be a huge opportunity for businesses based in Manchester and beyond to
explore new ways of working to grow their competitiveness through enhanced
technology. As such “Tomorrow” has the potential to deliver a form ‘digital’
co-working hubs as envisaged by O&O.
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Old September 10th, 2012, 03:53 PM   #38
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This 'Project Digital' is getting to that stage where it could end up really underwhelming - particularly after rumours of Apple opening an office in the city. Someone at the MEN News should just hold their hands up and admit it was a guess (or lie)...
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Old September 12th, 2012, 11:47 PM   #39
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Part of the Exec report.(see The Sharp Project | Central Park | Newton Heath thread)

Quote:
Recent press coverage has reinforced Manchester’s position as one of the
leading digital cities with the announcement of “Tomorrow” which has
potential to be one of the most exciting digital investments in the UK and
testament to Manchester’s growing reputation in the global digital community.
“Tomorrow” is the result of a collaboration between a number of global digital
companies and will be delivered across twenty sites in and around
Manchester. Each site will host ground-breaking technology that will enable
local firms to explore and access business solutions, knowledge and data in
an intuitive and interactive format that is completely innovative and
unprecedented. The technology will be linked across all 20 buildings to
facilitate collaborative problem solving, new product/service development and
commercial innovation. Manchester has been chosen as the first location
internationally to launch what will be ground-breaking technology. It will also
be a huge opportunity for businesses based in Manchester and beyond to
explore new ways of working to grow their competitiveness through enhanced
technology. As such “Tomorrow” has the potential to deliver a form ‘digital’
co-working hubs as envisaged by O&O.
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Old September 13th, 2012, 07:30 AM   #40
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I don't think it's apple. I'm gonna go on a limb here and say it's definitely not apple. If they'd get something, I think they'll take a prime city centre location that has a lot of footfall for a store. Other than that I don't think so.
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