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Could Manchester be the UK's Silicon Valley...?

"Never before in history has innovation offered promise of so much to so many in so short a time." - Bill Gates.
The skyline of Manchester, a forest of cranes, construction and property development.
The future of Manchester is boundless.

The 21st Century has become a renaissance of technological ambition and achievement, whether it's our mobile devices transforming year-by-year from a standard "call and text" service to a near-flat, compact, high resolution computer in our pockets that brings us up to date with the latest news, trends, information as well as immediate access and communication to friends, family and contacts near and far.

It's a broad industry, which one could certainly explore around the clock, throughout the years

and never be able to keep up to speed with what the next breakthrough is; the Apple or Samsung of yesterday will not be the Apple or Samsung of tomorrow.

With the breakneck speed of technology increasing, evolving and developing day-to-day, more and more startup businesses - as well as already established enterprises - are looking towards the next big thing that consumers and users will want to be a part of, whether that's an app, software, device or service.

As the industry changes, so does the traditional methods of 'location', culture and architecture - as we all often bring our minds to Silicon Valley, a haven and breeding ground of tomorrow's innovators, inventors and developers, when we think of the likes of Facebook, Google, Apple, Adobe, Intel, Visa and so on.

When these major businesses locate offices and spaces overseas, the likely outcome used to be that they would seek out the capital cities of the countries they have chosen to set-up their next expansion. In the United Kingdom's case: London.

It's no secret that the City of London is notoriously renowned for being an expensive area to position an office or a home - renting or buying - and so, as the world economy continues to apply pressure to today's aspiring innovators of the future, many have sought to rethink their concept of 'being where the action is' and seek out other ideal spots where undiscovered geniuses can set up shop.

The landscape of Manchester City Centre on an overcast summer morning.
Manchester - a city unlike any other.

Manchester - a city unlike any other. Now, forgive this writer's clear bias towards this incredible place but tap any resident on the shoulder and I can almost guarantee you, no matter where that person is originally from, they will have some wonderful things to say about Manchester and why they are unlikely to seek a home elsewhere.

An estate agency that was founded in 1896 - a company that has done as well as it has by demonstrating such forward-thinking as they had at June's event: 'Capturing the New Wave.'

A real estate agency going strong for over 120 years.
Knight Frank - an Estate Agency Founded in 1896.

"I think the most exciting thing about tech is that it's ubiquitous - it's everywhere - and it's changing every industry sector that you can think about," ~ Dr Lee Elliott.

Presented by Dr Lee Elliott and - San Francisco resident - Bill Benton, followed by a thorough Q&A with various members of the Knight Frank team, the event showcased how Manchester is a buzzing hive of technological activity, as students looking to startup their own businesses have no intention of leaving the city that they have fallen in love with, as well as known businesses setting their sights on newly-built properties that are cheaper than London's offerings.

"I think the most exciting thing about tech is that it's ubiquitous - it's everywhere - and it's changing every industry sector that you can think about," Dr Lee Elliott states in the five-minute Paper Sky produced promotional documentary: 'Capturing the New Wave.'

Giving a presentation on how tech is changing and creating an exciting future.
Dr Lee Elliott Addresses the Room of Architects, Property Owners, Investors and Bankers.

The skyline behind each presentation is a testimony to their case, cranes and construction in every direction - promising a skyline of shimmering buildings, calling in new and existing businesses, entrepreneurs and residents from around the world.

"I mean, look out the window," says Charles Ingram Evans - partner, head of project and building consultancy of Knight Frank - addressing the attendees of architects, real estate developers and owners, bankers and accountants. "There are cranes everywhere, it's a success story. You come to cool trendy bars like this" - he references the 20 Stories bar where the event is being held - "and you think: 'Crikey, there is a lot of money being invested here!'"

Taking questions and answers from the audience after the technology event
The Knight Frank Q&A

"There are companies right now in San Francisco that nobody's heard of, that I'm sure that ten years from now will be household names over here." ~ Bill Benton.

A key game-changer was also referenced, and that is "WeWork" - a 'hot desk' concept where clients and business owners seek to acquire space on a 'pay-as-you-go' basis - a reality that Knight Frank is happy to acknowledge, regardless of the feelings of how property owners may feel about that. The times and ever-changing cultures are shifting their needs, desires and requirements in such a fast-lane fashion that all accommodating ideas are being realised and met, to encourage attraction from those who will underscore Manchester's presence on the world map.

"As deep as we are in this cycle," Bill Benton tells us in the documentary. "There is still so much more tech being invented [ ] there are companies right now in San Francisco that nobody's heard of, that I'm sure that ten years from now will be household names over here. Not to mention the ones that were invented ten years ago that are now building millions of campuses over here, so there's a lot more innovation to come."

From San Fransisco is Bill Benton - Flown in from the States to over his take on the future of technology and real estate.
San Fransiscan Bill Benton Takes the Stage.

During his presentation, Bill explains how your standard office - one, which many would pop into our heads as a visual go-to description when the word 'working office space' is said aloud to us - is and should become a thing of the past. As the likes of Google, Facebook, Pixar, Apple and so forth all seek to create spaces that provide a culture that inspires creativity, expression and boosts work morale and innovative thinking for its staff, thus creating better work and pioneering new and wonderful ideas.

"I think the most important lesson is that landlords that want to be aggressive and attract the tech tenants should build out the space ahead of time," Bill tells us. "And if they do a good job and use quality materials, they're going to have a list and a line of tenants waiting to occupy the space, which will drive up the rents and knock down free rent and provide a better return."

An upcoming promotional documentary that showcases how Manchester is the next upcoming city of technology
Coming Soon: Knight Frank - Capturing the New Wave. Produced by Paper Sky Productions

Manchester is a city that doesn't seek to impress anyone, but simply allows people to fall in love with it just by being what it is - a place with great musical culture, famous football teams, great theatres, community spaces, cinemas, highly-regarded universities, unique nightlife, residents with great spirit, humour, kindness and tolerance. It's a city that deserves great things and will handle its earned fortunes with grace and humbleness, whilst capitalising on making something good into something great - forever continuing to grow and evolve, keeping its core values front and centre.

"From a real estate perspective, technology is driving massive change," says Lee Elliott, a smile forming on his face, his enthusiasm is on clear display. "And I think that's really exciting!"

If you want a promotional video made to showcase a service, product or brand like Knight Frank has done with Paper Sky Productions - then get in touch at:

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