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Construction for new research space

News that Legal & General is planning two major new science hubs around Oxford has highlighted that construction for new research space opportunities are being created by business spin-outs from universities. 

The L&G-funded scheme involves two science parks to be built outside the city centre – at Begbrooke and Osney Mead - which will provide space for a plethora of new science-based ventures and will be run by the University of Oxford.

The new science parks form part of a wider L&G scheme around Oxford involving 2,000 new homes and 500 student homes which together could involve development worth £4 billion (Glenigan Project ID: 19220751).

Rising investment

The science development come against a background of rising private investment in the Oxford-Cambridge Arc, as firms are encouraged by the prospect of improved road and rail links in the area.

A recent report by Bidwells, a property consultant, said that science and tech companies around Oxford and Cambridge are looking to recruit 20,000 new R&D workers by 2023 which in turn will create demand for an estimated 2.5 million sq ft of new lab and research space over the next five years.

In keeping with the trend, the University of Cambridge has recently awarded contracts for Project Atria, a new £35 million Cambridge Biomedical Campus which will involve the construction of around 14,200 sq m of new floorspace.

Work on the project, where SDC Construction is the main contractor and Aecom is the quantity surveyor, is set to start in the new year and run for 18 months (Glenigan Project ID: 16233488).

Research-based developments

Meanwhile a series of large research-based developments linked to universities in other cities across the country is helping to maintain major contractors’ order books.

In Manchester, tenders have recently been returned on the £35 million Citylabs 3.0 Phase 2 scheme which is part of the new Biomedical Hub in the city’s innovation district being developed by Legal & General and Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Work is set to start on the scheme later this year and run for 18 months (Glenigan Project ID: 16268865).

Sir Robert McAlpine is the main contractor on the first phase of the scheme, the £22 million Citylabs 2.0 project at the Biomedical Hub where 92,000 sq ft of new space is under construction and where work is set to run until 2020 (Glenigan Project ID: 16268863).

Further north, the £16.5 million Advanced Forming Research Centre facility at the University of Strathclyde is at the pre-tender stage with work set to start towards the end of next year and set to run for 14 months (Glenigan Project ID: 18289617).  

Meanwhile, construction work has started in recent weeks on the £54.3 million Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research Building at the University of Warwick’s Gibbet Hill Campus in Coventry, where Willmott Dixon is the main contractor and with work continuing until the end of 2020 (Glenigan Project ID: 18081750).

Willmott Dixon is also working on a £8 million contract to expand Nottingham Science Park with a facility providing 22,700 sq ft of Grade A office space in what is the first phase in a series of new developments planned at the site (Glenigan Project ID: 17212032).

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