Date: 13/05/2024
Author: Bruntwood
Company: Bruntwood

Construction has officially commenced on the development of Greenheys at Manchester Science Park, as Bruntwood SciTech announces Willmott Dixon as lead contractor for the £60 million project. This milestone marks a significant step forward for the joint venture between Bruntwood, Legal & General and Greater Manchester Pension Fund (GMPF) – the UK’s largest specialist property platform for the science, tech and innovation sector - in enhancing Manchester’s Oxford Road Corridor knowledge quarter as a hub for life sciences and technology innovation.

Scheduled for completion in Summer 2026, Greenheys will span 131,000 sq ft across six floors, and is now underway with construction commenced on site. This significant development will redefine the landscape of specialised laboratory spaces tailored for diagnostics, genomics, biotech and precision medicine businesses. 

Occupying three floors, Greenheys will be the future HQ for UK Biobank, the world’s most comprehensive source of health data for research. Their laboratory space will boast cutting-edge facilities, including the latest-generation robotic freezer capable of storing and retrieving up to 20 million biological samples four times faster than current standards, revolutionising the pace of scientific discovery. The relocation will dramatically increase the speed at which they can supply samples to researchers, allow for the storage of more samples as UK Biobank expands, and be more environmentally efficient.

Supported by the University of Manchester, the new building importantly puts UK Biobank near leading institutions operating across research, academia, business and the NHS. This will provide UK Biobank with new opportunities for collaboration between multi-disciplinary researchers and industry which will stimulate innovation, health impact and economic growth in the Manchester region and beyond.

Greenheys will also offer a range of specialist CL2 labs with supporting office space starting from 2,500 sq ft and up to 22,000 sq ft floors. An array of advanced technical features will be on offer, including increased vibration resistance, piped gas distribution systems, enhanced cooling and ventilation systems, high-security access, and 100GB superfast connectivity. Notably, the BREEAM Excellent development reflects Bruntwood SciTech’s commitment to sustainability, with Greenheys set to become the first lab space in the UK to be 100% electric and net zero carbon in construction and operation in its shared spaces. 

Life science businesses located at Manchester Science Park, part of Europe’s largest clinical academic campus, will have the opportunity to collaborate with The University of Manchester and Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT) through Bruntwood SciTech’s partner network. This includes direct access to R&D and funding support, highly skilled talent, and clinical trial opportunities.

Businesses located at Greenheys will enjoy a host of market-leading amenities; from grab-and-go food stations to shared breakout spaces, secure bike storage, showers, and access to campus-wide facilities including event spaces, café, gym, meeting rooms and on-site parking - every aspect is meticulously curated to enhance productivity, collaboration and employee wellbeing.

Sam Darby, Development Director, Bruntwood SciTech, said: “We are delighted to have Willmott Dixon on board for the Greenheys development. Their expertise aligns strongly with our vision for creating a facility that will serve as a catalyst for innovation in the life sciences sector, and become one of the most advanced and specialist life science spaces in the UK.

“With Willmott Dixon’s commitment to quality and sustainability, we are confident that together we will deliver a world-class facility that meets the needs of the scientific community and contributes positively to the Manchester region.”

Willmott Dixon’s Managing Director in the north, Anthony Dillon, said: “Our team of science and commercial sector specialists will bring a wealth of experience and innovation to Greenheys. In partnership with Bruntwood SciTech and UK Biobank, we will create a cutting-edge and sustainable hub for science innovation which will be a catalyst for changing lives and creating opportunities for local people.

“We share Bruntwood SciTech’s passion for nurturing local community talent and powering the regional economy, so we are committed to investing £16.8m into local skills and businesses. Within that, we will create 380 weeks of apprenticeships, four T-level placements, engage hundreds of local students and deliver our Building Lives Academy skills programmes, designed to upskill and inspire Mancunians leaving care and those not in education, employment or training.”

Samantha Welsh, Head of Laboratory at UK Biobank, said: “I’m excited that construction has started on the site, bringing our brand-new headquarters one step closer. The new facility’s lab and robotic freezer will allow us to meet the growing demand for our millions of unique biological samples, enabling scientists across the world to make great leaps forward in health and disease research.” 

The project is Bruntwood SciTech’s latest commitment to Manchester since it announced a further £500 million of funding in October 2023 to support the growth of the science, technology and innovation sectors, and welcomed GMPF to the joint venture. Now the UK’s largest dedicated property platform serving the growth of the nation’s knowledge economy, it aims to create a £5 billion UK-wide portfolio that can support 2,600 high-growth businesses by 2032. Greenheys is part of Manchester Science Park’s 1m sq ft masterplan and joins other developments by Bruntwood SciTech currently underway in Manchester, namely Citylabs 4.0, No. 3 Circle Square and the latest city centre innovation hub, Pall Mall.