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A recent upturn in development activity for the emerging life sciences cluster around Canary Wharf in east London has highlighted the scope for construction contracts to create new laboratory and office facilities for growing firms in the sector.

In a joint development between Kadans Science Partner and Canary Wharf Group, fit out work has begun on an innovation centre across two levels of a building at 20 Water Street. It will create 38,000 sq ft of flexible, serviced innovation space for life sciences business with new wet labs alongside offices and meeting rooms. When it opens next April, tenants will be able to occupy areas ranging from a single laboratory bench to 5,000-plus sq ft of space.

Largest building in the sector in Europe

The new Water Street facility is in addition to a major new 22-storey life sciences-focused building also being developed by a Kadans/Canary Wharf Group joint venture on a 3.3 hectare site at nearby North Quay. The new £500 million landmark building will be the largest commercial wet lab-enabled life sciences building in Europe and a focus for plans to create a UK life sciences cluster at Canary Wharf. A reserved matters application is expected this year with work due to start in 2024 and run for two years (Project ID: 22120609).

Other major developments in the pipeline in London could cement the capital’s status as a centre for life sciences businesses. Plans are in the early stages for the construction of a £350 million life sciences hub, including new labs along with research and design areas, across 28,000 sq m of space at the Snowfields Quarter next to Guy’s Hospital in south east London. Oxford Properties and Reef Estates are the preferred developers on the scheme where work could start in late spring 2024 and run for two years (Project ID: 22164802).

Meanwhile, detailed plans have been submitted for a separate major scheme in east London, the £283 million Whitechapel Life Sciences Cluster led by Queen Mary University and the Barts Health NHS Trust. The plan involves selling land with planning permission to an experienced developer for life science buildings to cover almost 90,000 sq m of space across five plots on a site next to Royal London Hospital. Work is pencilled in to start in spring 2024 and run for 36 months (Project ID: 21391404).

Potential across the country

The potential for new development across the country was underlined in a report earlier this year from property agent Savills, Life Sciences: Trends & Outlook. It noted that funds raised from venture capital groups by life sciences companies with HQ’s in the UK was worth £5.6 billion in 2021, up 120% on the previous year. As well as the dominant, London-Oxford-Cambridge cluster, fund-raising for life sciences businesses in the North West (particularly Manchester) and the West Midlands rose sharply.

Glenigan data highlights other significant new life science projects in the pipeline around the country which are providing opportunities for new construction work. At Alderley Park near Macclesfield in Cheshire, outline plans have been submitted for a £60.82 million life sciences development involving two office and laboratory buildings with 28,000 sq m of space. Work on the scheme is set to get underway next summer and run for six months (Project ID: 22066980).

New life sciences space linked to universities in the regions is also adding to the work pipeline in the sector. At Edge Hill University in Ormskirk in west Lancashire, detailed plans have been submitted for a £10.65 million University Life Sciences Building which will include teaching and research facilities and where work is set to start next summer and continue for 17 months (Project ID: 22401794).

Glenigan customers can see details of all new Life Sciences construction projects if part of your subscription.
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Request a free demo of Glenigan today so we can show the size of the opportunity for your business.