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Manchester University scraps tender for £40m Pankhurst Centre

Dover Street Building
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The University of Manchester has abandoned its search for an architect-led multidisciplinary team for a £40 million biomedical research hub

The surprise move comes six months after the university announced the £700,000 design contract. The project has been shelved due to funding issues.

In a statement, the University of Manchester said it was reviewing its business case for the new Pankhurst Centre for Research in Health, Technology and Innovation, though a search for a new design team could follow.

A spokesperson said: ‘The university is currently going through the business case process with [Greater Manchester Combined Authority]. The tender process is valid only for a specific length of time, so it is sensible to close down the current procurement with a view to starting a new exercise once we have finalised the business case and have more certainty over the overall funding package.’

The project, originally planned to complete in 2021, was expected to deliver a hub featuring wet and dry laboratories, write-up areas and offices on a yet-to-be-confirmed site close to the University of Manchester’s existing biology, medicine and health faculties on Oxford Road.

The university is mid-way through a £1 billion regeneration programme intended to create a world-class campus for staff and students by 2020.

Key schemes include a new £350 million engineering faculty, by Dutch practice Mecanoo, which the university claims will be one of the largest construction projects undertaken by a higher education institution.

Potential sites for the proposed Pankhurst Centre included the Grade II-listed Dover Street Building (pictured), constructed in the 1880s for the Manchester High School for Girls, along with the former Jabez Clegg Public House and an incubator building on Grafton Street. The scheme was expected to refurbish and extend an existing structure rather than being fully new build.

The planned hub would be less than 500m north of Manchester’s existing Pankhurst Centre, which occupies the former home of suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst.

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