24 September 2016 – by Claire Robson
A £65m investment by L&G will fund 200,000 sq ft of offices at Newcastle’s Science Central.
The 24-acre Science Central site in Newcastle city centre is being developed as a science and technology hub to accommodate a 500,000 sq ft chunk of commercial space and 450 new homes. Born out of a partnership between Newcastle City Council and Newcastle University, Science Central opened its first building in 2014, yet a new commitment by L&G to fund £65m of offices is a significant step forward.
The Science Central development is gradually transforming a former brewery, famed for producing Newcastle Brown Ale, into a mixed-use community of academics, scientific organisations and technology-driven occupiers.
In June, L&G signalled its intent to become a long-term partner on the project by initially financing the delivery of 200,000 sq ft of grade-A offices.
L&G declined to comment on the deal, but Newcastle City Council hopes the first of the two office buildings will be complete in 2019 and leased by the council, who will seek commercial occupiers. The second building will be speculatively financed by L&G.
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Nick Forbes, leader of Newcastle City Council, says: “Securing Legal & General as an investment partner is a major vote of confidence for Newcastle, one that demonstrates that this city is investment ready. Both Newcastle University and Newcastle City Council have already made significant financial commitments to support further investment and economic growth in Newcastle, helping us to create the jobs that will come to define future generations.”
Two buildings have already been completed at Science Central. November 2014 saw the opening of The Core. Offering 29,000 sq ft of flexible incubation space for science, digital and innovation companies, the building is 97% let and home to 27 businesses.
In February 2016, the doors opened at The Key, housing Science Central’s first research labs. Using similar technology to that developed for the 2012 Olympic Stadium, its lightweight fabric structure is built on the same principles as a soap bubble and is home to Newcastle University’s Institute for Sustainability.
Click here to read more about Newcastle’s regeneration plans