UBS Asset Management and Reef Group secure approval for one of Europe’s largest Life Science campuses in Stevenage

  • Published on 9th August 2023
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UBS Asset Management and Reef Group secure approval for one of Europe’s largest Life Science campuses in Stevenage

•  £900m life science campus will provide 1.6 million sq. ft of lab, office and Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) facilities

•  The new ‘Elevate Quarter’ campus will be located alongside GSK’s existing Global R&D facility and Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst, and incorporate the UK’s Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult 

•  Up to 5,000 new jobs will be created at the campus 

•  Construction set to begin in late-2023

UBS Asset Management and Reef Group (Reef) have received approval to create one of Europe’s largest life science campuses in Stevenage, Hertfordshire. The decision from Stevenage Borough Council’s planning committee paves the way for the new Life Sciences hub to be delivered alongside GSK’s existing Global R&D facility and the vibrant ecosystem at Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst. 

The scheme will deliver a world-class, sustainable, and connected life science campus bringing together companies from early-stage through to commercialisation and helping to meet the growing demand for GMP manufacturing and laboratory space in the UK. Construction is expected to start in late-2023 with completion for phase one targeted for Q4 2025. 

The 15-building campus, which will be named ‘Elevate Quarter’, will be set around a central green with an interconnecting network of paths and open spaces. The buildings for the new campus will comprise a variety of different uses, including R&D labs and offices, GMP manufacturing facilities and flexible lab buildings, as well as training, innovation and collaboration spaces. Employee and visitor amenity spaces will include restaurants, cafes, and leisure facilities. There will be three Green Transport Hubs which will provide multi-storey car parking, bike parking and potential scooter/e-bike hire spaces. 

The new campus will build on Stevenage’s established reputation as Europe’s leading cluster for advanced therapies and home to over 40 organisations employing over 3,500 people. These include GSK’s Global R&D facility, the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult (CGT Catapult), LifeArc, Cytiva and Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst (SBC), which is home to a growing number of early-stage life science companies. 

The approval builds on UBS Asset Management and Reef’s existing project in Stevenage, the redevelopment of ‘The Forum’ shopping centre, which will provide 400,000 sq. ft. of new GMP advanced manufacturing space in Stevenage town centre and received planning committee approval in February 2023. 

Piers Slater, Joint Chief Executive, Reef Group, said, “The approval of our new life science campus in Stevenage further cements its position as Europe’s leading cluster for advanced therapies. Stevenage is ideally positioned to attract world-class talent and the campus will facilitate further collaboration between major multinationals and biotechs. The campus has been designed to allow these life science businesses to grow and scale-up over time and to create an open and accessible environment for both employees and the wider public.”

Olivia Drew, Portfolio Manager, Real Estate and Private Markets, UBS Asset Management, said: “The delivery of the new life science campus will leverage years of unparalleled experience across both UBS and Reef. The buildings have been carefully designed to be at the cutting edge of sustainability and will facilitate world-leading R&D and advanced manufacturing. The new campus will support thousands of new jobs and boost the UK’s position as a global life sciences leader.”

Dr Tony Wood, Chief Scientific Officer, GSK said: “New lab space and facilities for the cutting-edge biotech companies of the future are in short supply, so we're delighted to support the creation of a new life sciences campus at the heart of the Golden Triangle of London, Oxford and Cambridge. Situated alongside one of our global R&D hubs, this is a really positive development for the sector and it's great that we’re one step closer to work starting on the new Stevenage development.”

Dr Sally Ann Forsyth OBE, Chief Executive Officer, Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst, said: “This is a landmark day for Stevenage and UK science, strengthening our position on the global stage for technological and scientific excellence. This campus will build on the supportive environment created here and our reputation as a leading location for the scale up of companies and commercialisation of therapies that will have a transformative impact on future health outcomes.”   

Matthew Durdy, Chief Executive, CGT Catapult, said: “The UK’s world-leading life science sector requires constant growth and opportunities. UBS and Reef’s investment commitment, when combined with the existing advanced therapy community which has developed in Stevenage will ensure that the site remains a go-to global destination for advanced therapy developers, technology suppliers and service providers, delivering potentially life changing therapies to patients who need them across the world.”

Councillor Richard Henry, Leader of Stevenage Borough Council, said: “We welcome this new development for the town, which has secured a resolution to grant consent. This will expand and build upon the existing campus, with cutting edge science opening up jobs and delivering economic benefits to the town. We will work closely with our partners and life science companies to unlock these job opportunities for our communities and local people, as we continue to make Stevenage Even Better.

“Stevenage is a hugely important location for this sector. Through partnership working we are transforming our town and we are committed to securing the best for our residents, communities, and businesses”.

-ENDS-

For more information please contact: 

James McEwan / Laura Taylor / Giles Barrie
FTI Consulting 

reefgroup@fticonsulting.com  / +44 7980 767394 

About UBS Asset Management 
UBS Asset Management is a large-scale asset manager with a presence in 23 markets. It offers investment capabilities and investment styles across all major traditional and alternative asset classes to institutions, wholesale intermediaries and wealth management clients around the world. It is a leading fund house in Europe, the largest mutual fund manager in Switzerland, the second largest fund of hedge funds manager and one of the largest real estate investment managers in the world. 
www.ubs.com/realestate 

About Reef 
Reef Group was founded in 2001 and has grown to become one of the UK’s leading development and regeneration experts, with extensive experience in large scale mixed-use development. Reef Group are passionate about design, planning, and regeneration, collaborating with local authorities, occupiers and investors to deliver sophisticated developments and vibrant experiences that stimulate towns and cities throughout the UK. Its in-house design and delivery team, Urban R, supports their passion for development of best in class assets and transforming the way people use and experience place. 

Reef Group is now the UK’s leading developer of life sciences regeneration projects in the UK, with over 3.5 million sq ft of developments underway in London, Oxford, Cambridge, and Stevenage. It has built a specialist team with a deep understanding of the life sciences industry from both a commercial and technical perspective. Across all asset classes, Reef Group’s portfolio consists of over 6 million sq ft of space currently under development or in planning. Its goal is to create vibrant mixed-use developments across life sciences, hotels, student accommodation, leisure, retail, residential, offices, and technology. 

For more information visit www.reefgroup.co.uk  

About Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst
Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst is a world-leading cluster of global significance and located at the centre of one of the largest groups of cell and gene therapy companies in Europe. It provides a supportive environment to help companies grow by providing access to specialist equipment, mentoring and finance suited to their stage of development.  Since its opening in 2012, occupier companies have secured £3bn in finance making the cluster one of the most attractive for investment in biotechnology in the UK.

For more information visit www.stevenagecatalyst.com/ 

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