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27 February, 2019 - 12:14 By Tony Quested

Overseas investor pool backs £3.5m property deals around Cambridge innovation hotspots

Alisa Zotimova

A pool of overseas investors embracing territories such as Russia, Dubai, Japan and Hong Kong, is injecting big money in residential and commercial property schemes in or around Cambridge UK innovation hotspots.

They are operating through London and Moscow-based real estate consultancy AZ Real Estate.

One of the biggest deals is a £1.5m equity investment into a serviced apartment development 400 metres from the Cambridge Biomedical Campus. 

Developed by GCR Camprop, the scheme will see 57 rental apartments spread across three buildings, accommodating professionals and academics based at one of Europe’s largest centres of health and medical science. 

The campus has been earmarked for significant expansion in the coming years as part of wider plans for the city, with the opening of state-of-the-art research facilities and locations for leading international businesses –including a £500m headquarters for pharmaceuticals giant AstraZeneca – set to bolster the campus’ global status.

In north Cambridge AZ Real Estate is raising funds for GCR Camprop’s research & development office project at the heart of the Cambridge Science Park. 

This contemporary building will play home to new commercial occupiers moving into the 152-acre site and represents a further sign of confidence in the renowned technology hub – which already accommodates circa 6,500 employees and 120 businesses – despite concerns around the UK’s departure from the EU.

Those figures are set to increase substantially as Cambridge continues to establish itself as one of the most desirable places to live and work, in addition to its educational and academic offering. 

The new local plan for Cambridge adopted in October 2018 is anticipated to add 44,000 jobs and over 33,000 homes, many of which will pivot around the expansion of the science and technological hubs as well as improvements to the city centre.

Alisa Zotimova, CEO and founder of AZ Real Estate, says: “Cambridge has been one of the UK’s most sought after cities outside of the capital for some time now. 

“The adoption of the new local plan and investment that will come alongside that is set to take it to another level. Overseas investors are increasingly becoming more aware of the growth opportunities presented outside of London, and their cash injections will play an important part in the development of them.”

Kash Lais, Managing Director of GCR Camprop, added: “Its historic foundation as a globally recognised hub of academia and culture makes Cambridge one of the most dynamic cities in the UK. 

“Cambridge has now added a global leadership position in research and development. The sharp spike in business investment has been complemented by additional transport, commercial and residential offerings. The Cambridge life sciences sector contributes £2.9 billion annually to the UK ensuring that this city plays a pivotal role in shaping the future of the UK economy and stimulating continued demand for housing and offices.”

AZ Real Estate advised its clients on the process, working closely with GCR Camprop to negotiate terms, manage the legal process and complete the transactions. 

Founded in 2012 by Alisa Zotimova, AZ Real Estate is a bespoke property consultancy specialising in advising primarily Russian-speaking clients seeking to invest in London and UK property – from cradle to completion. Russian-born and now London-based, Zotimova has 16 years’ property experience, which includes senior roles at JLL and Cushman & Wakefield. 

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