Manchester-based online beauty firm The Hut Group (THG) said on Monday it agreed a deal to develop 1 million square feet of office and studio space near Manchester Airport, investing more than $1 billion in the region over the next three years.
The development, the largest ever by a company in the North West, will be made over two sites in the Manchester Airport area.
On June 1, fast-growing THG said its group sales rose 47% to £736 million in the year ended December 31, 2017 — and that it expects to create a further 2,000 new jobs in 2018.
On Monday, THG said the largest of the two sites, called THQ, will be a new landmark business campus.
At the second new site nearby, THG is building a new development called ICON, the group’s new content creation studio.
Ultimately supporting up to 10,000 jobs, the project represents the UK’s largest bespoke office development outside London.
Airport City Manchester’s joint venture partners will act on behalf of THG as the project’s developer, working in partnership with creative executive architect, workplace culture strategist and interior designer PENSON.
A planning application has been submitted, with construction scheduled to begin in early 2019.
THG already has a presence at Airport City after taking 79,000 sq. ft. of office space in the Voyager and 4M buildings earlier this year.
THG has 5,000 employees globally, of which 1,000 are currently based at Manchester Airport.
The Hut Group CEO Matthew Moulding said: “THQ is a landmark development for THG and another important step in our growth story.
“As we continue to extend our global footprint, it makes sense for us to base our headquarters at Airport City in Manchester, with its global connections and access to talent and supply chains worldwide.
“THQ and ICON cement our position as a significant player and employer in the UK and we look forward to expanding even further from here, attracting and retaining the most innovative and inventive talent from across the globe.”
Charlie Cornish, CEO of Manchester Airports Group and Airport City JV Partner, said: “As a technology-led, e-commerce business with a significant international footprint, THG is the ideal anchor occupier for the first phase of Airport City Manchester, which will bring significant job creation to the region and further emphasise our position as a hub for international commerce.
“We have worked closely with THG to help the company establish its initial presence at Airport City Manchester and will develop our relationship to deliver what will be the largest office development deal outside London for over 20 years.
“This is a major boost for the delivery of Airport City, where we still have 60 acres of land available to deliver a further 2m sq. ft. of business space.”
Dan Gallagher, joint managing director of Stoford Developments and Icon Industrial JV Partner, said: “We are delighted to welcome THG to Icon Manchester Airport. They have recognised that the site is in a key strategic location at the very heart of the Northern Powerhouse and its unrivalled airport connectivity will enable THG to reach its expanding world-wide market.
“This project is the second exciting development on the scheme and the remaining land presents potential occupiers with an excellent opportunity to have a unit built to their specific requirements.
“The connectivity this site offers occupiers makes it a hugely significant site as an important logistics hub for South Manchester and the North West.”
Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, said: “This is in every sense a big deal and we are delighted to have an international company of this importance headquartered in Airport City.
“THG’s arrival provides further impetus for Airport City as a hub for jobs and investment.
“Today’s announcement is a major vote of confidence in the city.”