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9 July, 2020 - 11:17 By Tony Quested

£200m office development for Cambridge proposed

Mark Glatman's Abstract Securities reveals that its wholly owned subsidiary – Abstract (Cambridge) Limited – has exchanged contracts to acquire a 9.17 acre site at Fulbourn Road in Cambridge, with University of Cambridge College, Peterhouse, from the Wright’s Clock Land Charity. 

Abstract proposes to speculatively build around 300,000 sq ft of offices with car parking, subject to detailed discussions with the local planning authority.

The value of the completed envisaged development will be in the order of £200 million Abstract tells Business Weekly.

Following on from several successful speculative office schemes across the UK over the last seven years, this project represents a major investment by Abstract in the Cambridge office market where supply constraints, coupled with demand – especially from life sciences, biotechnology and other more traditional office users – remains high.

Abstract has been granted a long leasehold interest by Peterhouse which will retain the freehold ownership of the land.

The site, currently comprising open farmland zoned for business use, is adjacent to Peterhouse Technology Park, also owned by Peterhouse, which is the location of the global headquarters of superchip architect Arm plc. The land lies south east of the city centre, around 2.5 miles from the railway station and gives easy access to the M11 and A14.

Abstract has retained Scott Brownrigg to design its proposals for the site which will provide a range of grade A office buildings capable of being occupied by a variety of users for multi or single occupation, but particularly focused on the technology, science and knowledge based sectors.

As with all Abstract schemes, a highly sustainable and environment focused approach will be adopted, while providing flexible space suitable for a range of end user needs, particularly important given the diverse range of target occupiers in the Cambridge market.

Mark Glatman, chief executive of Abstract Securities, says: “We are really excited to be developing in Cambridge. This is a location which we have followed closely for many years and, against a backdrop of so much uncertainty in the world today, we have no hesitation in committing to speculatively build here at the current time. 

“Our blend of occupier focused skills, and tried and tested delivery platform, means that we can quickly deliver first class space into a unique market and befitting its highly skilled workforce. We believe Cambridge will be a key engine room to growth as our economy recovers over the coming years.

“We are delighted to have worked on the purchase with Peterhouse, the oldest College in Cambridge, founded in 1284, and we will be maintaining a close relationship throughout the development process in order to realise our aligned ambitions for the land.”

Bidwells represented Abstract and Peterhouse in the acquisition. Cheffins represented the vendor. Abstract was advised by Pinsent Masons and Peterhouse by leading law firm Mills & Reeve.

For information about the proposed development you can email mark.glatman [at] abstractsecurities.com (Mark Glatman) or christopher.mcpherson [at] abstractsecurities.com (Christopher McPherson) .

Established in April 2000 by Mark Glatman, the Abstract Group of Companies specialises in commercial property development and venture capital financing. 

The management team at Abstract is highly experienced at working directly with major property owners and corporate end users and has developed in excess of 1.2 million sq ft of new office buildings across the UK in the last seven years, providing new offices for companies including Babcock plc, KPMG, Aker Solutions, Pension Protection Fund, Zurich UK and Wood plc, amongst others.

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