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WPP reveals details of new 82,000 sq ft Manchester base for up to 800 agency staff


WPP has revealed details of its ambitious plans to consolidate its Manchester operations in a new 82,000 sq ft base, confirming a story ran on Prolific North in October.

Britain’s biggest agency group currently employs 520 people in Manchester at its agencies MediaCom, Wavemaker, Kinetic, Code Computerlove and Cheetham Bell.

And it has confirmed today that it has agreed a 15-year lease for a new “campus” building in Enterprise City, a redevelopment that includes the site of the former Granada Studios.

The eight-floor building – to be designed by WPP-owned BDG architecture + design – includes a roof terrace, café, bar and events area and will have space for 800 people when it is ready in 2022.

WPP says its commitment to Manchester “reflected in its community, school, start-up and SME partnerships, courses and events”. The new building will also house Allied London’s dedicated media and technology-focused co-working space ‘All Work & Social’.

Karen Blackett OBE, UK Country Manager for WPP

Karen Blackett OBE, UK Country Manager for WPP, said: “WPP campuses not only give our people amazing, inspiring spaces in which to work, learn and create, but provide our clients with easier access to our expertise.

“The UK is our second largest market, and by building a brand-new home for our agencies and a creative hub for the city, we’re investing in both our future and in the future economy of Manchester.”

Michael Ingall, Chief Executive for Allied London, said: “We’re delighted to have WPP join Enterprise City. The co-working spaces in particular will allow SMEs in the media, creative and tech industries to benefit from being located close to some of the world’s largest companies.

“Enterprise City is growing quickly, and with great tech and media companies joining the creative cluster alongside the TV & film studios and The Factory, we believe we’re going to create a place with a real buzz that modern industries will flock to.”

A visual showing WPP’s new Manchester base

Most of WPP’s 14,000 UK staff are based in the capital, but Blackwell added in an interview with Campaign that “there is opportunity that isn’t just based in London”.

“If I was in my twenties, I would definitely do a stint in Manchester,” she said. “It’s just as vibrant, it’s got just as much cultural influence and it’s a fun city. The work is just as good; the creativity is there.”

WPP, which turned over £15.6bn in 2018, is encouraging greater collaboration across its sprawling agencies by merging offices into larger hubs.

It is aiming for 64,000 of its 130,000 staff to be in co-locations by the end of 2021 and 85,000 by the end of 2023.

WPP joins another of the big six global agency group, Dentsu Aegis Network, in having a significant operation in the North.

Dentsu Aegis Network has more than 500 staff in Manchester, where its agencies consolidated at a base on Portland Street last year, with the remainder split between Leeds, Newcastle and Edinburgh.

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