A two-acre plot of derelict land in Manchester, just outside Ancoats, will be transformed into a home for 300 aspiring companies by Meanwhile Creative.
The Bristol-based property management firm plans to transform the site into one of Manchester’s biggest creative coworking communities by filling the space with repurposed shipping containers, a sight synonymous with exciting new start-ups and regeneration across the world.
The Pollard Yard development,will provide affordable light industrial style workspaces for local entrepreneurs, sole traders and creatives. 30 ready-to-move-into workspaces will be launched as part of the pilot scheme in the next couple of months, with the rest of the land being made available for local organisations to run events programmes on in the run up to Christmas. A £1m investment into the project and addition of over 250 more container workspaces will begin in the New Year.
This new investment into the Ancoats, will build upon the rich industrial heritage of the area and respond to the demand for more affordable workspace in the area. Pollard Yard will be one of the biggest creative community hubs in Manchester.
Already operating nine other affordable shared workspace sites in Bristol and Cardiff, Meanwhile Creative currently provides low cost office and studio space to over 250 businesses, enabling the employment of 1,250 people. Meanwhile Creative’s first Manchester venture will more than double these figures making it their largest and most ambitious project to date.
Pollard Yard workspaces will offer flexible monthly rolling contracts, enabling fledgling businesses to progress to the next stage of their development without the usual brick and mortar costs or lengthy contracts.
The first Pollard Yard containers will cost just £160 a month – among the lowest rates in Manchester – and so are expected to fill quickly with those in need of affordable, light industrial workspace. The new creative village has already attracted strong initial interest from micro-enterprise, entrepreneurs, traders and creative freelancers looking to be part of a supportive, grass-roots, creative community in the heart of Manchester.
As well as providing workspace, Meanwhile Creative are also looking to play host to pop-up event programmes and community projects, by opening up the additional outdoor space to programmers, event organisers and producers looking for open-air event and filming space.
Meanwhile Creative founder and Managing Director Fred Wyatt feels that Manchester was the obvious next locale: ‘Having trialled the concept in smaller cities, we found there was a real appetite for affordable spaces and Manchester with its rich industrial history was my dream location for our next move. Our aim is to support enterprise through providing inexpensive premises for businesses to flourish. A lot of our tenants sign up for a month to test the water and don’t really think of themselves as having a business when they first join us. To still see some of them with us five years down the line is fantastic.’
The first Pollard Yard open day is set to take place on 29th November, and will give prospective tenants and event organisers the opportunity to view and sign up for the pilot project workspaces, as well as explore the site and learn more about the future plans for the full-scale Pollard Yard development.