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18 February, 2021 - 11:02 By Tony Quested

New £500m technology park set for Cambridge

Abstract (Cambridge) Limited has completed the purchase of a second and adjoining site in Fulbourn Road for its Cambridge International Technology Park scheme – increasing its total ownership to 15.26 acres of development land.

It has now submitted a planning application for around 500,000 net sq ft of laboratory enabled offices, aimed at life sciences, biotechnology and more traditional office occupiers. 

The site-wide infrastructure and the first buildings will be ready for occupation in 2023. The completed development should have a value between £400 million and £500m.

The Cambridge International Technology Park, currently comprising open farmland zoned for business use, is adjacent to Peterhouse Technology Park, which houses the global headquarters of Arm plc. 

The land lies south east of the city centre core, around 2.5 miles from the Railway Station and gives easy access to the M11 and A14.

Mark Glatman, chief executive of Abstract, said: “We jumped at the opportunity to buy the balance of this allocated land after our initial purchase last summer and believe this is a fantastic opportunity to create a new science and technology destination in the Cambridge market. 

“As with all Abstract schemes, we are focused on providing buildings of the highest quality, with great environmental credentials, but this scheme will also be shaped by what has been learnt through the pandemic and I am confident that the wellness offering will be second to none, particularly as occupiers start encouraging their teams back into the workplace.

“We are excited to be developing in Cambridge. This is a unique market and the opportunity to create Cambridge International Technology Park, the largest new science destination in the city for many years, will help harness growth and investment into science and knowledge-based businesses, appealing to those companies looking to expand and grow organically as well as companies looking to upgrade from dated first generation space in the city. 

“The additional land has increased the net floor area we can deliver from 300,000 sq ft to around 500,000 sq ft as well as providing much better access to the Technology Park.

“Again, 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.

“Now we have completed this further site acquisition, Peterhouse will retain the freehold ownership of the land and have granted Abstract on each site a 175 year ground lease which will attract a three per cent ground rent after buildings are completed and let.

“Abstract has retained Scott Brownrigg to design their 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.

“Buildings will be highly sustainable, while providing flexible space suitable for a range of end user needs, particularly important given the diverse range of occupiers in the Cambridge market. Bowmer & Kirkland has been appointed to build out the scheme.”

Christopher McPherson, Development Director of Abstract Securities, said that with the planning application submitted, the focus was now on mobilising the construction team as soon as consent is given. The deveoper is targeting a start on site early this summer.  

McPherson said: “We have applied for detailed consent on the first building of around 105,000 sq ft and our intention is to complete this, together with the infrastructure for the entire scheme, as a first phase by summer 2023.  

“We are also looking to start four further buildings, currently ranging from 75,000 sq ft to 250,000 sq ft as soon as possible, either for single or multi occupation. 

“In all we will be able to accommodate lettings upwards of 12,500 sq ft and the buildings are designed for both office and laboratory users. We can discuss more specialised requirements with potential occupiers should this be of interest.”

Bidwells represented Peterhouse. Abstract was advised by Pinsent Masons and Peterhouse by Mills & Reeve. Bidwells and Cheffins are retained letting agents for the Cambridge International Technology Park.

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