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14 July, 2017 - 12:13 By Tony Quested

Cambridge sees strong take-up as companies continue to expand

Maurice Wilkes Building Cambridge

According to Savills, take-up in the Cambridge office market hit 262,000 sq ft in the first half of 2017, in line with the 10-year average, which has been largely driven by underlying demand from home grown companies and continued corporate commitment to the city.

Significant deals include Amazon taking a further 59,000 sq ft at One The Square in CB1, Heptares relocating to a new facility of 35,000 sq ft at Granta Park and Astex Pharmaceuticals taking 42,600 sq ft at Cambridge Science Park.

Further examples of corporate commitment include Biomed Realty investing £35 million on speculative laboratory space at the Babraham Institute, which is set to provide two 54,000 sq ft buildings.

Savills notes that it is not just corporate activity fuelling the market, but the continued growth of Cambridge-born companies.

For instance, incubator space at St John’s Innovation Centre remains full, with a number of startups and young firms seeking to graduate to grow-on units elsewhere on the park and within the wider vicinity.

Also construction is underway at the new Maurice Wilkes Building at St John’s Innovation Park. On completion in June 2018, the building will total 65,000 sq ft and is already more than 60 per cent pre-let or under offer. This includes the 19,813 sq ft deal to Darktrace, another Cambridge-born success story.

The northern cluster has also received a boost since Cambridge North railway station opened. Savills has already seen occupiers migrate from the city centre to the parks to take advantage of the new infrastructure, including Collabora, an open source technology specialist which moved from Station Road to The Platinum Building on St John’s Innovation Park in late 2016.

There are also active requirements for the Station Road/Hills Road area, which now include the northern cluster within their potential relocation parameters.

William Clarke, associate director in the business space team at Savills Cambridge, said: “The Cambridge market remains robust, proving resilient in the face of ongoing political and economic uncertainty.

“The election of the new mayor is an excellent step forward for the city and we expect this to encourage further investment into infrastructure. This in turn will translate into further success for Cambridge – especially if we continue to nurture home-grown talent and give these businesses the space they need to expand.”

• PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS: The Maurice Wilkes Building at St John’s Innovation Park

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