Manchester Science Partnerships, the leading UK operator of science and technology campuses, has been awarded an £18.5 million loan for the pioneering Citylabs 2.0 development in the heart of Manchester’s Oxford Road Corridor innovation district.
Building on the success of the Citylabs 1.0 biomedical centre of excellence, which was fully occupied just 15 months after launch in 2014, Citylabs 2.0 is a 92,000 sq ft state of the art laboratory and office facility. It is being developed for Manchester Science Partnerships by Bruntwood, its majority shareholder, and is a joint venture partnership with Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT), offering easy access to clinical validations and trials.
The development, alongside Citylabs 3.0, has high strategic importance to Greater Manchester and the wider North West and is part of a £60 million further expansion on Europe’s largest clinical-academic campus providing access to clinicians and patients. It offers state-of the-art laboratory workspace for health and medical technology businesses, focusing on creating a UK hub for the rapid development innovations in predictive and preventative medicine.
The location of Citylabs 2.0 and 3.0 will enable health and medical technology companies to develop and co-create new therapeutic and diagnostic health products in collaboration with the NHS and academic research facilities.
The funding includes £12.5m from Evergreen 2, the first loan facility to be made from the new £45m fund which is supported by the 2014-20 European Regional Development Fund programme. The balance was provided by the original North West Evergreen Fund, and will be used to finance the construction costs, professional fees and expenses of Citylabs 2.0. The deal was announced during a presentation on the evolution of the Citylabs campus at the Manchester pavilion at MIPIM, the international real estate event in Cannes, France.
Like the previous North West Evergreen Fund, Evergreen 2 is managed by CBRE’s Investment Advisory team, part of CBRE Capital Advisors, and provides debt funding for commercial property and regeneration projects in Greater Manchester, with a particular focus on low carbon projects.
Tom Renn, Managing Director of Manchester Science Partnerships said: “At Citylabs 2.0 we are committed to creating a world-leading hub for biomedical innovation and discovery and this funding from Evergreen 2 means we can soon begin construction work on the first stage of our plan to expand the campus in partnership with MFT.
“The success of Citylabs 1.0 has underlined the strong demand from global biomedical and precision medicine companies to locate and grow in Greater Manchester. The city region’s £6bn devolved healthcare budget, its world class universities, skilled talent pool and strong track record of academic, clinical and commercial partnerships has made us a gateway for healthcare entrepreneurs, which we are looking to support with this development.
“MSP provides so much more than inspiring workspaces; our long-standing partnerships in the city and our strong networks with academia and the NHS exist to ensure that our customers succeed. We are grateful for the support of our funding partners in moving Citylabs to the next phase. “
Sir Michael Deegan, Group Chief Executive of MFT said: ““The development at Citylabs 2.0 will further increase the interaction between our hospitals, staff and patients with industry to help to develop the diagnostics and treatments of the future. It is essential that the NHS and industry work closely together, co-creating solutions to address real gaps in the technology and services we need to constantly improve the treatment outcomes for our patients.
“As we have experienced from our successful joint venture with MSP as we developed Citylabs 1.0, we now have many new collaborative projects and programmes underway that will benefit the companies and the services we provide to patients. Accessing the Evergreen 2 funding is important to accelerate this next stage of our campus development through Citylabs 2.0.”
Eamonn Boylan, Chief Executive of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, said: “In Greater Manchester we pride ourselves on leading the way. By investing in businesses across our city region, we are able to develop new pioneering industries like Citylabs 2.0 that help to shape the world we live in.
“It is a credit to the successful businesses we have already helped to support through the North West Evergreen fund that we are able to expand the funds further so more innovative and ground-breaking organisations are able to benefit and grow.”
Andrew Antoniades, Senior Director, CBRE Investment Advisory, added: “We are delighted to have provided the funding for this strategically vital scheme, the first for Evergreen 2. Traditional clearing banks remain averse to lending outside of core areas or where significant pre-lets have not been agreed. There is therefore an opportunity for alternative lenders like Evergreen 2 to achieve attractive returns whilst simultaneously acting as the catalyst for developments that will have wide reaching socio-economic benefits for the region in the long-term.”
The first North West Evergreen Fund of £60m has provided over £115m of debt finance to developments, including Allied London’s St John’s scheme and Peel’s MediaCity in Salford, recycling and reinvesting its capital and supporting developments with a combined value of over £1 billion.
Citylabs 2.0, which will be part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund, is located within the Oxford Road Corridor Enterprise Zone, which provides significant financial benefits for businesses looking to locate there. Qualifying businesses moving to Citylabs 2.0 before 31 March 2021 may be eligible for 100% business rate relief for up to five years.