A joint venture between Argent, Carillion and Greater Manchester Pension Fund is believed to be the front runner for the Airport City project in the city.

Manchester Evening News revealed that the consortium is close to being awarded the £650 million contract which will see the creation of a major site near to city's airport. It will sit at the heart of the Greater Manchester Enterprise Zone allowing companies relocating to benefit from a number of tax breaks as well as other incentives to entice organisations to set up shop.

Property advisers CBRE was appointed by Manchester Airports Group in December to tender process to find investment partners for the development and the news provider reported that the Greater Manchester Property Venture Fund (GMPVF) was close to securing the deal.

The scheme will see 1.5 million sq ft offices, 650,000 sq ft of advanced manufacturing space, the creation of 2,400 new hotel beds and 1.4 million sq ft of logistics and warehousing units on top of 100,000 sq ft of retail and leisure units. The move is hoped to generate over 20,000 jobs during the next 15 years which is aimed attracting the business of companies from all around the globe.

Mark Rawstron, regional senior director of consultancy GVA, told the newspaper: "We feel as though we have put together a very compelling bid. Clearly, MAG Property [company that will be instrumental in bringing the scheme to fruition] is the one that has got to make the final decision and if we were to be selected as the preferred bidding consortium, we would be absolutely delighted to be associated with this world-class scheme."

Manchester Airport is one of the biggest facilities in the UK and only Heathrow and Gatwick sees more passengers pass through on an annual basis. The airport has strong transport links with the city centre and this could be improved even further with the creation of a new Metrolink line from Manchester to the airport.

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