Peel Media, Salford City Council, Central Salford Urban Regeneration Company and the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) have taken the first step towards creating a specialist innovation and business support facility at the heart of MediaCityUK.
Salford City Council has signed a lease with Peel Media which will enable the creation of the Media Enterprise Centre (MEC) in the south tower of the MediaCityUK studio block.
Spread across six floors and covering 53,500 sq ft, the MEC will aim to stimulate both existing and emerging media talent. Individuals and businesses will be able to utilise a range of resources at the MEC, including: flexible office space; specialist training facilities; advice from agencies such as Business Link and Northwest Vision and Media; and access to the NorthernNet digital media network.
The MEC will also house the recently announced games industry centre of excellence, along with an international hub for research into digital media markets and technologies, an industry-led ‘hothouse’ for the development of new digital content and prototypes, and a place where community groups can learn new skills and create media content. More information and funding for the projects based within the MEC will follow during 2010.
The MEC’s lease and initial operations will be funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) £4.2 million, the NWDA, £3.8 million, plus additional funding from Salford City Council.
Councillor John Merry, leader of Salford City Council said: “The MEC is a vital component of MediaCityUK and one that the council and public sector partners have worked hard to make a reality.
“It firmly establishes MediaCityUK and Salford as a centre for world class innovation, but, vitally, it will also nurture grassroots businesses and the development of creative relationships at every level from community media to international names.”
Steven Broomhead, Chief Executive of the NWDA, said: “The NWDA is investing over £30 million in the physical development of MediaCityUK. This additional investment in the MEC will help to create the supportive environment for business innovation and growth that is an equally critical part of the MediaCityUK infrastructure. We know that MediaCityUK will be a site of global importance in the digital and creative sector and the initiatives based within the MEC will make it a bustling centre of the latest digital and creative thinking.”
“The MEC proves that Salford and the region is committed to supporting and offering opportunities to local creative talent, in the context of a global collaborative community at MediaCityUK.”
Salford City Council will next begin work to procure an operator for the MEC in early 2010. Phase 1 of MediaCityUK is due for completion in 2011 and it is expected that the MEC will be operational from summer of the same year.
Bryan Gray, Chairman of Peel Media, said: “The signing of the lease is an important milestone in the development of the Media Enterprise Centre.
“The MEC will join a wider community at MediaCityUK which will include the BBC, Salford University, and Northwest Vision and Media – not to mention more than 15 media companies already operating from The Pie Factory, next door to the current construction site.
“We’ll be working closely with our partners to ensure that everyone involved in MediaCityUK is able to benefit from the Media Enterprise Centre – we’re looking forward to it generating some really exciting partnerships.”
Peter Watson, Managing Director of Business Link Northwest and a member of the ERDF Programme Monitoring Committee, said: “I am delighted that the first steps have been taken in creating this important resource for businesses in the area, who will be given the opportunity to nurture their creativity and innovate for the future thanks to its wonderful facilities.”
In addition to the MEC, the south tower of the MediaCityUK studio block contains nine additional floors of space which Peel Media will let to other media organisations.
Source: Northwest Regional Development Agency