Believe it or not, it’s been 10 whole years since MediaCityUK in Salford opened its doors, and what a decade it has been – what was once the derelict Manchester Docks has now been transformed into a world-class media and digital hub that has put Salford on the investment map and propelled the Greater Manchester economy. To commemorate the 10-year anniversary, MediaCityUK has now re-branded itself as MediaCity so we thought that this was the perfect opportunity to reflect on what impact MediaCity has had on Salford and Greater Manchester in the last decade.
When it was proposed in the mid-2000s, the primary purpose of MediaCity was for it to be the northern headquarters for the BBC but now, it has also become the chosen location for many major corporations like ITV, Bupa and Kellogg’s, as well as over 250 SMEs. MediaCity has been a major factor in the success of Manchester’s economy – since its completion, MediaCity has provided approximately 10,000 jobs in the area and according to a recent report by KPMG, the number of digital and creative businesses have increased by 70% since MediaCity was launched. In addition to this, the BBC contributed 19% of its GVA in Salford alone. If that wasn’t enough, MediaCity is also nurturing future talent with the University of Salford, Salford City College and University Technical College all having campuses within its boundaries.
The success of MediaCity has also had a hugely positive impact on the Salford property market, with the development of the creative media hub triggering the re-development of the wider Salford Quays area. In the last decade MediaCity and Salford Quays has become the region’s most desirable waterfront neighbourhood, with residents enjoying an array of amenities on their doorstep including bars and restaurants, shops, museums, the theatre and even a water sports centre. On top of this, MediaCity and Salford Quays also benefit from a tram service that gets you into Manchester city centre within minutes.
In the last decade, the population of Salford has grown by approximately 12% and house prices in the area have increased by an impressive 50% (Zoopla, Q4 2021). MediaCity and its surrounding areas have become a highly desirable place to live thanks to the opportunities and quality of life on offer, and this is clearly demonstrated in these figures. There has been an increasing number of large-scale residential developments popping up in the area in recent years, but even with these, the demand for homes in Salford Quays is still outstripping supply by a huge margin.
So, what’s in store for MediaCity in the following 10 years? Well, to put it in simple terms, quite a lot – phase two of MediaCity is already in the works and it will see the development double in size. The £1bn expansion plan will introduce creative, commercial and residential developments across nine plots, as well as a new market and events building and a ‘Georgian-style’ public square. The BBC also has more plans to increase its operations in Salford by relocating a number of its key departments to its northern campus over the next six years in an attempt to make its content reflect the country as a whole. This means that even more jobs will be created in the immediate area.
Greater Manchester has seen huge and rapid growth in recent years and the success of MediaCity has been a large component of that. As the development continues to expand, it will certainly be interesting to see what further opportunities it brings for Salford and the wider Greater Manchester area.