The following article ‘Hot Property - the best agents and business locations’ was first published in Business Weekly, 17th January 2019.
In such a hi-tech and life science hotspot as Cambridge it speaks volumes for the scale-up mentality of companies that commercial property news commands the third highest volume of page impressions behind S & T articles on the globally acclaimed Business Weekly website.
This indicates the dynamic nature of the cluster where startups grow at a remarkable rate and their property needs change in the blink of an eye.
A major investment round, a significant collaboration or a surge in new business that requires an immediate increase in headcount can have companies scrambling for new labs or offices in a ridiculously short timescale.
Property developers are well aware that science and tech giants cross the globe are looking to set up shop in Cambridge either through organic growth of existing operations or via acquisition of companies on the ground.
At the time of writing, we have just received notification of a surge of new occupants for 5060 Station Road, alongside the burgeoning city centre technology quarter. Work also started on a new £300 million home for the world-renowned Cavendish Laboratory, a development flagged up by Business Weekly on December 6.
BUSINESS SPACE PROVIDERS
US, Japanese and Chinese operators are injecting record sums in growing their Cambridge business interests while locally based, UK-owned companies are ramping their operations to cope with impressive increases in headcount.
Companies such as Arm, Treatt plc and Abcam are upgrading their local HQs – in Arm’s case from its existing site – while Abcam and Treatt are shifting their focus to flagship new buildings. Abcam is nestling on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus where AstraZeneca is building its new corporate and research headquarters.
In general terms we are seeing Cambridge companies pushing north, east and west to avoid city congestion issues; the CB postcode is destined to swell territorially.
The Maurice Wilkes Building at St John’s Innovation Park was one of the successes stories not only of 2018 but also of the last decade. Take a bow Rob Sadler, Will Clarke and the Savills Cambridge team that marketed the space so expertly.
A string of world-leading tech companies and professional services firms – among them Darktrace, Raspberry PI and PwC – have taken space there.
In terms of business parks, Cambridge Science Park is being rejuvenated by investment from landlord Trinity College along with investors from China and elsewhere.
The establishment of The Bradfield Centre co-working hub at the Science Park has proved inspired as a range of technology businesses and professional services companies settle in this warm and stimulating hive of activity. The buzz at Bradfield has to be experienced to be appreciated.
Babraham Research Campus has a case to be lauded in the same manner as the Science Park. Its companies continue to grow and raise major investment and under the inspired leadership of Derek Jones is proving to be not just a preferred location for life science businesses but also a catalyst for globally significant initiatives that influence drug development and new business models in the sector.
Cambridge Research Park is under new ownership and needs to up its branding game and message to market; meanwhile Granta Park and Chesterford Research Park continue to blossom on the back of worldclass tenants ands proactive growth blueprints.
Co-working space is important so let us also give praise and thanks for the efforts of ideaSpace at all its local centres and Barclays’ Eagle Labs.
And in terms of the agencies promoting space options for our companies, how blessed we are besides Savills to have Will Mooney’s fabulous, proactive team at Carter Jonas and the multi-talented operators at Bidwells who handle everything from planning to delivery of schemes and do a great job taking the temperature of local companies’ property needs.
We are many times blessed in that the Nick O’Leary-led Lambert Smith Hampton, Barker Storey Matthews under Ben Green, Philip Woolner’s dynamic Cheffins cohort, Mark Robinson and Jonathan Lager at Robinson Layer and multifaceted teams at Brown&Co Barfords and Juniper Real Estate bring so many years of expertise and clear-thinking brainpower to the property party. All hot properties in their own right!
BUSINESS PARKS & CENTRES