Partner News: Manchester base for £1.8bn SciTech joint venture

A SciTech property business with a pipeline of projects worth £1.8bn has been formed by Bruntwood and Legal & General.

Based in Manchester, the 50:50 joint venture Bruntwood SciTech includes £360m of capital, property and intellectual assets within Manchester-based Bruntwood’s portfolio.

Property assets include Manchester Science Park; Alderley Park, Cheshire; Citylabs 1.0, Manchester; Manchester Technology Centre; Circle Square, Manchester; Platform, Leeds; and Innovation Birmingham.

Alongside traditional property development, Bruntwood SciTech will support an eco system around science and technology, ensuring tenants have access to talent, funding, mentoring, and advice on how to protect the intellectual property they create.

Companies will also benefit from being part of a growing tech cluster.

Bruntwood SciTech has a business plan to support the creation of more than 20,000 high value jobs across regional cities including Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds.

The deal represents the largest investment made in science and technology property assets in Europe this year.

It launches a business plan that will see Bruntwood SciTech’s assets grow from 1.3 million sq ft on day one to over 6.2 million sq ft over the next ten years, increasing the value of the portfolio to £1.8bn.

The new company combines Bruntwood’s commitment to creating thriving cities, working in partnership with public, private and academic institutions, and Legal & General’s ability to unlock urban renewal opportunities and accelerate growth of some of the UK’s key sectors through its long-term capital.

Bruntwood SciTech’s portfolio is already home to more than 500 science and technology businesses ranging from digital start-ups to global life sciences companies.

It is centred around flagship assets and development projects in Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds, and includes the internationally-recognised life science campus in Cheshire, Alderley Park. Liverpool also features strongly in its forward plans.

With Legal & General’s long-term financial support, Bruntwood SciTech will initially focus on developing ts existing portfolio of assets as well as expanding within the Northern Powerhouse and Midlands Engine regions, seeking to make the most of untapped potential in the UK’s science and technology sector. In the medium and longer term the business will explore opportunities for investment in other UK regional cities.

The business will be chaired by Bruntwood Chief Executive Chris Oglesby and led by current Bruntwood Chief Commercial Officer Phil Kemp as CEO. Phil has over 25 years’ experience in the IT and telco industry with IBM and Nokia. The board also features Legal & General Capital’s Managing Director of Urban Regeneration and Clean Energy, John Cummins, and its Director of Regeneration, Rachel Dickie. The leadership team includes Thomas Renn, Managing Director of Manchester Science Partnerships and Dr Chris Doherty, Managing Director of Alderley Park, along with Dr David Hardman MBE, Managing Director of Innovation Birmingham whilst Bruntwood’s Kate Lawlor joins as Finance Director and Peter Crowther as Property Director.

Bruntwood CEO Chris Oglesby said: “We are delighted to have formed a partnership with Legal & General, an organisation that shares our vision for unlocking growth in the science and technology sector in the UK regions. We are well suited and aligned in terms of our vision and approach to regeneration.

“Our focus is on creating thriving cities - breathing life into places where knowledge-based businesses can start and scale, driving growth for the UK economy. Bruntwood SciTech is

aimed squarely at the many opportunities offered by the science and technology sector and with the backing of Legal & General we can greatly accelerate the scale and pace of what we can achieve. We have ambitious growth plans and see this activity as enabling the creation of around 20,000 new jobs over the next 10 years.”

Nigel Wilson, Chief Executive of Legal & General, said: “Although the UK is a great place to do business, years of chronic underinvestment have led to poor productivity, inadequate real wage growth and muted economic growth. Science and technology will be key to revitalising the UK economy and driving job creation. We need to keep investing to support the development of our UK regional cities.

“Through our investment in Bruntwood SciTech, we are partnering with a best in class management team at Bruntwood with a track record of delivering and developing major science and technology projects across the UK’s regions.”

Bruntwood’s substantial commercial office portfolio which it owns, develops and manages in Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds and Birmingham will continue to operate within its existing structure now headed by Ciara Keeling, who steps up from her role as Bruntwood’s Director of Asset Management to become Chief Executive Officer of Bruntwood Works - Bruntwood’s regional investment business.

As a group Bruntwood currently supports more than 3,000 customers and a community of 50,000 people in over 110 properties around the North of England and Midlands.

Graham Barnes and Colin Thomasson of CBRE advised Bruntwood, alongside a team from Addleshaw Goddard. Savills, EY and CMS represented Legal & General.