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18 December, 2012 - 13:19 By News Desk

Microsoft Cambridge launches new era of innovation

Andrew Blake

Technology innovator Microsoft Research Ltd today embarked on a new era for its nervecentre in Cambridge UK when it was handed the keys to an iconic purpose-built headquarters.

21 Station Road is a new city centre landmark, just along from Cambridge railway station in Brookgate’s groundbreaking CB1 development.

It’s a venue chosen by Microsoft’s Cambridge research staff themselves after it was decided to move away from the university’s West Cambridge site to a more central location. They will take occupation in the New Year.

The opening of the building was celebrated with an event onsite attended by the Mayor of Cambridge, Cllr Sheila Stuart, and Microsoft Research Laboratory director, Professor Andrew Blake.

The new six storey 83,500 sq ft building, designed by Chetwoods Architects, was pre-let on a 20-year lease to Microsoft Research which has decided to base its European Research headquarters at CB1.

The building will house around 220 employees in state of the art accommodation, encouraging greater collaboration and the generation of new ideas.

Andrew Blake said: “We very much look forward to moving into our fabulous new building early in the New Year. I am astonished at just how quickly it has appeared and I would like to thank everyone involved for their contributions to the project.

“The result is something truly spectacular. The CB1 development is set to create a vibrant and productive new city quarter and we are very pleased to be the first office building to be commissioned.”

Sven Töpel, chief executive of Brookgate, said Microsoft’s decision to move to CB1 held a broader significance for the technology cluster.

He said: “Retaining a firm of this calibre will help Cambridge to strengthen its competitive status and will galvanise regeneration of the city centre.”

The CB1 masterplan will create a new city centre quarter offering a mixture of commercial, residential and leisure facilities. The scheme also includes a refurbished station concourse, a new public square and a new transport interchange with proposals also in place to create a 3,000 space cycle park.

• PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS: Andrew Blake

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