Friday, February 28, 2014

News: Land deal for AMRC Business Park

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The University of Sheffield has signed a deal to secure land at Sheffield Business Park, paving the way for the expansion of the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) with Boeing, and paving over the Sheffield City Airport runway.

The first development is the AMRC Factory 2050, the UK's first fully reconfigurable assembly and component manufacturing facility for collaborative research, capable of rapidly switching production between different high-value components and one-off parts.

A planning application for the £43m, 6,730 sq m reconfigurable factory demonstrator project was submitted in January and it is expected to be completed in 2015. The site will then be developed out for other AMRC research centre activities, fostering further economic growth and attracting more manufacturing firms and inward investment. A detailed master plan for the acquired 50 acres will be submitted to Sheffield City Council's planning department in the Spring.

Just over the Parkway from the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP), Phase 2 of Peel's Sheffield Business Park extends to over 50 acres of land with planning consent for over 83,613 sq m of industrial development. The site is part of the Sheffield City Region Enterprise Zone where financial incentives include a business rate discount worth up to £275,000 per eligible business over a five year period.

Since the university's investment in the original AMRC on the AMP in Rotherham, with the original building opening in 2004, four further new buildings and two extensions have been added to provide a current total of around 30,000 sq m of accommodation.

The application stated that "land availability for advanced manufacturing companies will undoubtedly become a limiting factor on the AMP in the very near future, particularly for any large developments where the close proximity to the residential area currently under development will be a limiting factor. Steps need to be taken now if the Sheffield city region is to continue to attract inward investors and develop new high value manufacturing companies."

Keith Lilley, the director of Estates and Facilities Management at the University of Sheffield (pictured, left), said: "The success of the AMRC over the last few years has shown clearly the demand there is for this kind of specialist, hi-tech, high value engineering activity, and it was clear that we would soon outgrow the small amount of land still available on the existing Waverley site.

"Today's deal opens the door to a fantastic opportunity which will allow us and our many partners the chance to build a hub of activity which will bring an enormous boost to the region."

Graham Sadler, managing director at Sheffield Business Park (pictured, centre), added: "The University's commitment is fantastic news, both for the business park and the city region. A landmark development in its own right, it will also act as a catalyst for our Phase 2 extension, which will include advanced manufacturing enterprises."

AMRC website
Sheffield Business Park website

Images: University of Sheffield

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