Manchester Offshored: A Public Interest Report on the Manchester Life Partnership Between Manchester City Council and The Abu Dhabi United Group
68 Pages Posted: 10 Aug 2022
Date Written: July 20, 2022
Over the last 25 to 30 years Manchester city centre has experienced a property development boom unlike that of any major UK city outside of London. This development has – in no small measure – been financed by the inflow of overseas capital and in recent years investment from Abu Dhabi has been a major source of financing for Manchester’s sports and real estate assets. This has raised concerns about the ongoing relationship between Manchester City Council and the Abu Dhabi regime, given the latter’s human rights reputation. That relationship has deepened in recent years as the council has entered into joint ventures with Abu Dhabi investors in a number of property development projects. This report examines the structure and economics of the Manchester Life development - one such joint venture between Manchester City Council and entities ultimately owned by the Abu Dhabi United Group. Our report examines how the Manchester Life project is organised legally, how it draws on various public resources (land, planning, expertise and loans) and where the money goes from rental and sales income. In so doing, it considers questions of transparency, accountability and ethical compromise. It also considers the wider implications of our analysis for state-led urban redevelopment and alternative models of regeneration.
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