£60m development to enhance lab space in Manchester

Greenheys at Manchester Science Park

Work has started on a £60 ($75.1) million development in Manchester intended to enhance the city’s Oxford Road Corridor knowledge quarter as a hub for life sciences and technology innovation.

Greenheys at Manchester Science Park is scheduled for completion in Summer 2026 and will span 131,000 sq ft across six floors. The development will include specialised laboratory spaces tailored for diagnostics, genomics, biotech and precision medicine businesses.

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. It forms part of a joint venture between Bruntwood, Legal & General and Greater Manchester Pension Fund (GMPF). Willmott Dixon will be the lead contractor for the project.

Three floors of Greenheys will consist of the future HQ for UK Biobank, whose laboratory space will include the latest-generation robotic freezer capable of storing and retrieving up to 20 million biological samples four times faster than current standards. The relocation is hoped to help the organisation increase the speed at which they can supply samples to researchers, allow for the storage of more samples, and be more environmentally efficient. UK Biobank hopes that its HQ relocation will enable it to collaborate easier across research, academia, business and the NHS.

The development will also offer specialist CL2 labs with supporting office space starting from 2,500 sq ft and up to 22,000 sq ft floors. Other 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. Greenheys is also 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 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.

A catalyst for innovation in life sciences

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.”

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.”

Reece Armstrong, Editor, DDW

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