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UNIVERSITY OF SALFORD MEDIA CITY RENT REVELATION
 

Star date: 4th April 2011

A Salford Star Exclusive

SALFORD UNIVERSITY MASSIVE MEDIA CITY EXPENSE

It's taken well over a year and five breeches of the Freedom of Information Act by the University of Salford. But finally the Salford Star can reveal the massive rent being paid by the University to Peel Holdings for four floors of its new campus at MediaCityUK.

Click here to find out…


UNIVERSITY OF SALFORD TO PAY PEEL OVER £20MILLION IN RENT!

After a huge Freedom of Information battle with the University of Salford which was finally resolved by the Freedom of Information Commissioner last month, the Salford Star can now reveal that the rent being paid to Peel Media (Peel Holdings) for its new four floor campus at MediaCityUK is £19,126,141 (excluding VAT) until November 2020. Or £2.125million a year. Or £40,867 per week.

The figure was finally revealed to Salford Star in a letter from Salford University's Head of Information Governance, Matthew Stephenson, following a ruling by the Freedom of Information Commissioner that included five breeches of the Freedom of Information Act by the University over the MediaCityUK affair (see here for further details).

The Salford Star was previously informed by the University that the information was publicly available (it wasn't). Then we were told it would "prejudice commercial interests" and that disclosing the information "would be likely to lead to a breakdown in the relationship we have with Peel Holdings…and possibly legal action"

At the beginning of March, the Freedom of Information Commissioner told the University to release the information within 35 days. Last week, a two line statement arrived titled `University of Salford's rental costs at Media CityUK until 2020'To November 2020: £19,126,141. The above figure is exclusive of VAT and may change as the rent is subject to review in 2015.

Not only does the rental figure of £19,126,141 exclude VAT, it's also not clear whether this includes service charges etc.

In its last set of accounts the University of Salford also disclosed a fit out cost of £30.41million for its four floor space at MediaCityUK, making a conservative total cost of £50million over the next nine years.

The move to MediaCityUK is being part financed by a 25 year loan of £20million at a fixed interest rate of 5.18%. The move has also been financed by the University's infamous `Project Headroom' which led to hundreds of staff losing their jobs and the Salford University Campus Unions to issue a formal reply to University bosses in 2008, urging withdrawal from MediaCityUK…

"If Media City increases our operating costs by £5million per annum, and this is to be funded by commercial contracts, then assuming a profit margin of 10% an extra £50million of contracts will be required" it stated "We have yet to receive any information that one single contract has been signed which will bring any increased income to the University."

"It appears that the University simply `hopes' that if we occupy a building near the BBC, then income will follow" it added "…We can only conclude that Media City is the most speculative and high risk investment imaginable. We cannot see that this justifies the damage Project Headroom is doing to the rest of the University."

The University of Salford is hoping to attract around 1,500 graduate and post graduate students to the new MediaCityUK campus, and will reveal its new rate of tuition fees later this month. They are expected to be around £9000 a year per student.

Photo by Jemma Cooper

 

 

The cancer from down below wrote
at 04:39:45 on 09 May 2013
Well done for getting finally this information out. There are more scandals that need answered from the Salford mafia. How much many is spent on consultants, specifically those who suggested the red and black colours . How many of these consultants are Australians? How much is the university is paying Hobson consultant for the little and poor service on students "recruitment "?
 
@And Another Thing wrote
at 05:50:10 on 21 April 2011
It was Matthew Sefton who stood against Fantazey Blears in the 2010 General Election, not Matthew Stephenson. The former is actually quite a nice chap - the latter, the less said the better.
 
Bernhard wrote
at 06:17:33 on 20 April 2011
This is an incredible story, absolutly unbelievable. No wonder the University were trying to block. However the Service charge (rather than the VAT issue) is really important and the university really need to clarify the figure they have given. Does it, or doesn't include service charges? If not how much is this building really costing? Ninteen Million is a such a huge amount of money for a ten year contract.
 
And Another Thing.... wrote
at 14:34:22 on 08 April 2011
Wasn't Mr Stephenson the Tory Candidate who faced Hazel "Blunder" Blears at the last General Election? If so..it's Nice to know he's got a plum job dealing with all that cash at the Uni, whilst the rest of us Make Do and Mend!
 
Brian Francis Kirkham wrote
at 09:46:11 on 08 April 2011
Whoa! People! This is what happens when you turn centres of Academia into Businesses! I can hear the voices of the uni. council pressing its case already - Adelphi Campus is Old, No room at Centenary, Excellent 'opportunity'.links wi' BBC....but before you all get hot under the collar..It isn't the universities first dive in the pool of property : - take a stroll to Manchester's Piccadilly, where just off Portland St, lies Salford's Centre for urban built environment (Part of Salford University - I know, Geographically incorrect, but true), How's it Paid for? Sorry Folks - a nice mix of Inward Investment from University Business Partners and Fee Paying Students - Oh, Of course there is the 'secondary' income coming from the businesses in Cube and the business incubator past Adelphi - But you knew about that didn't you?
 
Em3 wrote
at 17:28:22 on 07 April 2011
ABSOLUTELY UNBELIEVABLE! This is a story that belongs in the national press, all student newspapers and on the TV news! The idea that in times of cuts and huge poverty, our taxes are being spent in this way to fund the fat cat parasites in private companies, universities and councils...... cannot believe it. It makes me feel sick and depressed. How can we fight this?
 
VentnorBlog wrote
at 13:54:17 on 06 April 2011
Just saw this mentioned by David Higgerson (tried to link, but can't). Well done on continuing to pursue it and refusing to take no for an answer. Inspirational. Simon
 
Salford Star wrote
at 21:04:51 on 04 April 2011
See Eric's comment below... It took us nearly 18months just to get the basic info out of them - maybe by the year 2020 we'll know the full story!
 
Eric Longley wrote
at 21:02:38 on 04 April 2011
It would be useful to know whether VAT has to be paid and what proportin if any the UoS can reclaim. Also was this taken into account when they budgeted the acquisition. What happens after 2020 is that the end of the rental or is that another break clause period in which the rent can be reviewed and increased? Is Peel Holdings a UK resident company or a foreign landlord? What premium if any was paid for the lease? What costs does the dilapidation clause in the lease render the UoS liable for, if any? Was there a rent free period at the begining if not why was this not negotiated. Who negotiated this from the UoS side (that is in conjunction with the professional advisers), which legal firm dealt with the lease rental agreement? What cost benefit analysis was conducted by the UoS and can we see it (including the cash flow forecast).
 
Jacqui Carroll wrote
at 13:58:02 on 04 April 2011
Where does this money come from - its to scary for words in a time when we are cutting back and cutting back - who is paying to line peel holdings pockets even more. This is a scandal - well done once again to the Salford Star for not giving up and getting to the bottom of this. Still waiting to see some jobs here for local people. Had a row this morning with a media type from London telling me there is 6000 jobs going at media city and local people have a priority if they are willing to go for it in this competitive market.
 
UoS wrote
at 13:57:35 on 04 April 2011
Interesting. Well done S/Star for pursuing this one - there were lots of people interested in this figure. It is not as outlandish as some had speculated - one figure I heard bandied around was £150k/week. I think this works out at less than £10/sq m/week, which of itself is not bad value really. There's been a loan drawn to part-finance the capital fit, there was a £8m grant toward this given a few years back - I wonder how much has come from the annual operating budget since Project Headroom? The overall financial picture is still a little hazy - a comprehensive cost/benefit analysis is going to be difficult to make until the thing is up and running. Remember if fees are set at £9k, then only 220 or so students need to sign up to cover the rental costs. I'm not sure what terms the loan for the capital fit were agreed but I expect they were quite generous as the University's debt level is, in absolute terms, very low indeed and as such a loan to them would seem to be fairly low risk. The key thing now is keeping the operating costs under control and making sure the University don't end up 'loss leading' (Haemmoraging money at first under the assumption you will get a good rate of return later). Probably best to avoid creating any 'non-jobs' for bullshit-spouting middle managers and focus the finance on a solid core of academics/administrative staff. They might well pull the thing off just yet.
 
Albert wrote
at 13:56:18 on 04 April 2011
Best get those $tudent Fees put up then eh? 30 MILLION quid to fit out? What are the $tudents getting? Gold Plated Loos and Diamond Encrusted iPads? Just in case the rise in $tudent Fees doesn't cover it, I suggest we sack some Nurses!!
 
Betrayed worker wrote
at 13:55:38 on 04 April 2011
Yet another unacceptable rip-off in this hellhole dump of a mis-managed city .Never mind , we're all in this together .The fact that the poor cannot afford education obviously does not matter .Another reason to loathe and detest the vile , corrupt thatcherite condem alliance , and their mates the corrupt , lying , cheating banksters - And the labour-shite who allowed this to happen .Bastards , all of them .Where is the Fightback ? The Sheeple should really be rioting in the streets , and the Unions calling for a General Strike to bring the Alliance of Evil to an end .
 
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