Client story

JLL plays key development role in Manchester’s new Mayfield innovation quarter

Our multidisciplinary team helps city transform historic rail district into sustainable mixed-use neighbourhood


Mayfield, Manchester


Economic potential and social cohesion at the heart of the strategy

The ambition

Mayfield has been a forgotten part of Manchester for years, but it really shouldn’t have been. The site of the former Mayfield station is a stone’s throw from the city’s bustling centre, and right next door to Piccadilly station, Manchester’s main commuter and intercity terminal.

To say it’s an area ripe for redevelopment is an understatement. Mayfield is a place of imposing industrial architecture and gritty urban character, desperately in need of new purpose. A consortium of London & Continental Railways, Manchester City Council and Transport for Greater Manchester saw the potential of the historic 10 Ha site. JLL was brought on board to help make it happen.

The results of this collaboration are slowly being realised. Mayfield’s wonderful railway arches and cavernous depot will remain, rejuvenated and repurposed. Around them, a new £1.4 billion innovation quarter is about to emerge.

The plan

The plan for Mayfield is ambitious and inspiring. In short, nearly 155,000 sq m of modern offices will overlook 13 acres of park and public space. New residential build will create a thriving neighbourhood at one end of the scheme.

Central to Mayfield will be its 6.5 acre park, the first new public park in Manchester city centre for more than a century. This will be the city’s green lung, a place to play, meet, relax and amble through biodiverse riverside meadows. It will be criss-crossed with a network of walking and cycling routes.

The offices rising above Mayfield depot will offer connected, collaborative workspace with views of the park and the city centre beyond. Bigger businesses will certainly find a home here. Small units and coworking spaces will ensure start-ups and entrepreneurs do too. Manchester has always been a city of innovation. Mayfield will add to that pedigree.

Around the site, shops, bars and restaurants will be housed in historic, interesting spaces. Mayfield depot and the restored railway arches will be home to a range of independent shops and hospitality venues. This will be destination retail, designed for resilience in an age of online shopping.

People will meet in Mayfield, which will also offer space for the community to come together. And there will be a community. The plans include 1400 new homes of contrasting types and design, from one-bedroom apartments to family houses. With open space on the doorstep – and the leisure, transport, retail and work opportunities of Manchester just beyond - Mayfield will be the epitome of a sustainable “15-minute” neighbourhood.

How JLL helped make it happen

Helping to repurpose city centre neighbourhoods for the challenges of the modern world is in our DNA. Our multidisciplinary team understands the need to combine sustainability, social cohesion and economic potential.

Which is precisely what Mayfield does. It’s a circular economy of work, rest and play. We took that vision to heart and provided our public sector partners with the development expertise that would help make it happen.

To ensure the success of the project, JLL brought a full range of development skills to bear on the planning process. To begin with, we conducted thorough market analysis to prove the viability of the scheme. This in turn fed into the Strategic Regeneration Framework (planning policy guidance) that underpins the Mayfield masterplan.

We identified six sites that form the heart of the Mayfield project. We presented a range of potential delivery routes and optimal development/ownership structures to our partners and then ran a full OJEU compliant Development Partner Procurement Process. At all times we were available to the Mayfield board to offer advice and a fresh pair of eyes.

We made sure cost-effective delivery was at the heart of the plan without ever losing sight of the wider vision. By doing so, we helped ensure Manchester’s redeveloped railway quarter will become a community-focused, green-tinged innovation hub in the heart of the city. 

The result

The result is that, after years of careful work, Mayfield is happening.

The Strategic Regeneration Framework was quickly adopted, and we acquired the six sites that form the core of the Mayfield scheme. U+I Group plc were appointed as development partners following the OJEU procurement process.

JLL provided further feasibility and viability advice to U+I, with the result that, in 2020, Manchester City Council approved plans that will begin to transform a derelict area of railway heritage into a distinctive mixed-use neighbourhood.

We’re delighted to have been a cornerstone of the collective effort to get Mayfield off the ground. This is, first and foremost, a scheme of economic importance, that will bring employment space, jobs and start-up opportunities to a previously left behind area of the city.

But it’s more than that. It’s a project which shows that economic vitality, community cohesion and a healthy urban environment can go hand in hand. In fact, we’d say that, in the 21st century, they have to.

Thanks to the collaborative, can-do attitude of everyone involved, Mayfield’s story will continue. This slice of Manchester’s industrial history will be at the heart of its sustainable future.

Next Generation Regeneration

How can we ensure regeneration continues throughout our cities, making them fit for the next generation?