Cloud hosting and colocation firm UKFast have completed a landmark property deal that enables it to expand its UK cloud service and vastly improve connectivity for Manchester’s online businesses.
The technology company, led by founder and CEO Lawrence Jones, has acquired No1 Archway, the prominent 50,000 sq ft building that sits on a two-acre site within Manchester Science Park on Princess Park Way.
Lawrence Jones said: “It’s a strategic acquisition that immediately enables us to expand our network. Every major bandwidth supplier crosses our land.”
The £3.2 million acquisition is a significant move for the privately-owned firm that has grown to a £21 million turnover in 14 years.
Jones said: “This is great news for Manchester and for UKFast. This building strategically dissects Manchester in two ways. It’s on the main road into the city and at a crucial spot on its connectivity network. It’s a massive step forward in making Manchester’s internet presence stronger.”
Plans are being drawn up for Manchester’s largest data centre to be built on the plot which neighbours Telecity’s IFL acquisition.
The site is intended to immediately house UKFast’s rapidly-expanding team as its recruitment division chases its goal to double the head count to 400 people by 2014.
UKFast’s eCloud is due to be launched from the new site, representing the UK’s largest private investment in any cloud infrastructure to date.
Jones continues “We plan to convert part of the ground floor into a 2.5 MVA data centre straight away with dedicated connectivity to all providers in the UK, helping improve connectivity around Manchester and connections to London. In the longer term we’ll develop the whole of the three floors into 8MVA.”
“The project represents a £20 million investment over the next three to five years. It’s allowing us to secure our future and at the same time provides us with the flexibility that we need at this stage in our massive growth plans.
“If we sell our existing data centre space in Trafford quicker than expected we can move the project forward.”
Jones worked closely on the deal with Chris Oglesby, CEO of property firm Bruntwood who acquired a controlling interest in Manchester Science Parks in 2012 and own UKFast’s HQ located on the top floor in Piccadilly’s City Tower.
Jones said: “We couldn’t have done the deal without Chris Oglesby. He is a forward-thinking and intelligent entrepreneur and what he continues to do for Manchester is unprecedented. He felt we’d make a very good strategic partner and anchor in the Science Park. We have no intentions at this stage to leave City Tower. It’s an iconic space that has served us well over the past few years.”
Jones praised Manchester City Council for its help throughout the acquisition. “Sir Howard Bernstein and Sir Richard Leese have been instrumental in ensuring this deal happened. We have a very forward thinking council. If we are going to compete globally as a city, we need their support and understanding. I can’t praise them enough.”