Hawkins\Brown’s huge £900m Stevenage life science cluster approved

The scheme for UBS Asset Management and Reef Group, dubbed the Elevate Quarter, will create 150,000m² of lab, office and research facilities next to GlaxoSmithKline’s (GSK) existing base, south of Stevenage town centre.

Billed as one of Europe’s largest life science clusters, the project aims to bring together companies from ‘early-stage through to commercialisation’.

The buildings will house a variety of different uses, including research and design (R&D) laboratories, Good manufacturing practice (GMP) facilities as well as training, innovation and collaboration spaces.

The proposals also include restaurants, cafés and leisure facilities as well as a trio of green transport hubs which will provide multistorey car parking, bike parking and potential scooter and e-bike hire spaces.

Stevenage is already home to numerous life science big hitters, such as GSK’s Global R&D facility, the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult (CGT Catapult), LifeArc, Cytiva and Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst (SBC).

UBS Asset Management portfolio manager of real estate and private markets Olivia Drew said the project would support ‘thousands of new jobs’ and bolster the UK’s position as ‘a global life sciences leader’. She added:The buildings have been carefully designed to be at the cutting edge of sustainability and will facilitate world-leading R&D and advanced manufacturing.’

Hawkins\Brown partner and healthcare sector lead Ewan Graham said: ‘Designing buildings for science and research takes skill and care. It’s not just about technical compliance and performance, it’s about designing for people.

‘To create a truly world-leading environment and one of Europe’s largest life sciences clusters, it is essential to provide an ecology for success. Occupiers need their teams to be able to come together with like-minded innovators, engineers and collaborators.’

Graham went on: ‘Our proposals provide flexible and adaptable buildings that promote active lifestyles, collaborative working and flexibility for occupiers to grow from early-stage through to commercialisation without having to relocate.

‘This is a seriously compelling offer when spaces for biotech companies are in short supply. The new cluster will attract the best in class occupiers given its location, connectivity and access to affordable housing.’

Construction is set to begin later this year with the first phase expected to complete in late 2025.