Europe’s largest sci-tech property deal goes live

L-R, Chris Oglesby, Bruntwood, and Nigel Wilson, Legal & General.

The launch of a new science and technology property business between Bruntwood and Legal & General has provided a welcome vote of confidence in the UK’s research and development base.

The 50:50 partnership will see Bruntwood and Legal & General invest £360m of capital, property and intellectual assets into a new company, Bruntwood SciTech, with a business plan supporting the creation of over 20,000 high value jobs. The deal represents the largest investment made in science and technology property assets in Europe this year.

Influential led on the public relations for the announcement, which has attracted worldwide media interest.

“The UK government’s Industrial Strategy is based on building a high value, highly skilled economy and the ambitions of the new business are closely aligned with those objectives,” said Influential director Chris Hulme. “What has also chimed is the focus on the UK regions. This is a story about unlocking the economic potential in the North and Midlands – or ‘By ‘eck, sci-tech’ , as one newspaper put it. Bruntwood has long been a driving force in growing the sci-tech sector in Manchester and is now using a similar approach to develop the economic potential of Leeds, Birmingham and other Northern cities. There’s been a great deal of interest from a broad spectrum of media. All concerned acknowledge that the vision set out by the two partners is a welcome boost of confidence in UK’s ability to innovate and progress, whatever
happens with Brexit.”

Bruntwood SciTech’s portfolio is already home to more than 500 science and technology businesses, ranging from digital start-ups to global life sciences companies. It is centred around flagship assets and development projects in Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds, and includes the internationally-recognised life science campus in Cheshire, Alderley Park. Liverpool also features strongly in its forward plans.

The major life science asset within the portfolio, Alderley Park, is already the subject of a £160m development plan, following its acquisition by Bruntwood in 2014. It is now home to 65 SMEs and 150 start-ups and is further focussed on forming, growing and scaling life science sector businesses. Bruntwood’s programme of investment and expansion has established an ecosystem that includes high specification labs, offices, scientific services and a programme of specialist business support. Alderley Park has two venture funds on site, one of which, the £42m Greater Manchester and Cheshire Life Science Fund has already invested in 25 businesses across pharmaceuticals, biotech, diagnostics, CROs and medical devices.
Next year, the 150,000 sq ft Glasshouse building will open at Alderley Park, offering space for digital tech businesses, in part reflecting the convergence between drug discovery and digital tech, including artificial intelligence.

Bruntwood SciTech will also develop and be home to a new world-leading precision medicine campus within Manchester’s Oxford Road Corridor Enterprise Zone. Leveraging its position on Europe’s largest clinical-academic campus the £60m expansion of Citylabs will be the heart of the new cluster and occupied by global diagnostics company QIAGEN. The expanded campus will also complement the pioneering work by industry and the NHS in Greater Manchester to integrate electronic health data with genomic technology.

Graham Barnes, Executive Director, CBRE Capital Advisor, commented: “This represents the largest science and technology transaction in the real estate market so far this year, demonstrating the continued appetite for corporate platform deals as investors seek alternative access to real estate in scale. It is fantastic to see such large-scale investment in the science and technology sector, one that will be instrumental in the evolution of the UK’s Northern Powerhouse and future socio-economic growth.”

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