Bruntwood SciTech, the 50/50 joint venture between Legal & General and Bruntwood specialising in property for the UK’s life science and tech industries, has reported record profits for 2022.
Profits grew significantly in 2022 to £114m, up from £17.1m in 2021, following the completion and successful letting of several key assets and the growing recognition of life sciences as a distinct real estate asset class, all of which contributed to “significant revaluation gains.”
This included the first two phases of Circle Square, Manchester, that are now completed and fully let; an expansion and 100 per cent letting of a building to existing customer, international molecular diagnostics group Yourgene Health, at Manchester Science Park, and Alderley Park, the UK’s largest life sciences campus and now a growing tech hub, which has become income generative following a sustained period of investment and redevelopment activity.
Net asset value grew by more than a third to £321.1m (2021: £235.3m) with the value of its portfolio also rising substantially, hitting £858.44m (2021: £647.4m). Both are owed to significant on-going investment activity and strengthening market sentiment towards science and technology-focussed real estate assets.
Bruntwood SciTech made a record £91m of capital investment last year including major acquisitions, new development activity and improvements to its portfolio and support services.
It also unveiled a £76.2m plan for the purchase and regeneration of Glasgow’s famous Met Tower to create a new tech and digital campus, marking Bruntwood SciTech’s first footprint and future community in Scotland. Sustainability is at the heart of its redevelopment and will see much of its existing fabric as possible retained, significantly reducing the embedded carbon impact of the work. It will also be net zero carbon in operation.
Elsewhere across the country, Birmingham’s first ‘smart-enabled’ building, Enterprise Wharf, topped out in Spring, while No.1 Birmingham Health Innovation Campus, the first building at the £210m scheme, reached the same milestone in September.
The High Value Manufacturing Catapult selected Bruntwood SciTech’s Innovation Birmingham campus for its new HQ alongside a second hub at Manchester’s Circle Square, while the former location continues to play a role in supporting the legacy of the Commonwealth Games by providing soft-landing space and support for innovative foreign direct investor companies, in partnership with the West Midlands Growth Company.
At Circle Square, the £87m, 264,000 sq ft development of No.3 Circle Square took a major step forward following planning approval, and a £20m investment into 86,000 sq ft of new high-specification biology and chemistry containment labs was launched at Alderley Park in September.
Also in Manchester the £21m, 91,000 sq ft development of Base completed, marking the end of the second phase of Manchester Science Park’s masterplan to grow its campus to 1m sq ft. The net zero operational tech hub will become home to high growth, Industry 4.0 tech businesses, including those working in low carbon, light manufacturing, computer and energy technology, gaming, and animation, and features a purpose built makerspace for customers to prototype their products.
Beyond property, Bruntwood SciTech increased its support for businesses operating in the innovation economy, adding two new partners to its Serendip corporate innovation challenge programme – BNP Paribas and SuperTech West Midlands, joining the LegalTech in Leeds initiative, launching a Female Founders Incubator, and investing in several companies directly, via funds such as the GMC Life Sciences Fund in partnership with Greater Manchester Combined Authority, Cheshire and Warrington LEP and Praetura Ventures, to bolster the region’s flourishing life sciences sector, support innovation, create more skilled jobs, and help businesses to expand internationally.
Kate Lawlor, CEO of Bruntwood SciTech, said: “We recognised that 2021 was a tipping point for the business with our expansions and gaining real momentum with our development pipeline. We kept up the pace in 2022 and remain focussed on our goal of having a £2bn asset base within five years of formation.
“Innovation, science and technology are the future of the UK economy, especially in its regional cities. We are helping to invest into the capacity of these places to support, scale and sustain successful innovation-led businesses.”