Progress at Citylabs 4.0 development marked with topping out ceremony

CGI of Citylabs 4.0

Topping out has been marked at Citylabs 4.0, within Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust’s (MFT) Oxford Road Campus.

The ceremony, earlier this week, was organised by developer Bruntwood SciTech, a joint venture between Bruntwood, Legal & General and Greater Manchester Pension Fund.

Guests received a full site tour co-hosted with GMI Construction, the lead contractor for the development, as well as hearing from Dr Kath Mackay, Chief Scientific Officer for Bruntwood SciTech, on the global importance of the work that goes on at Citylabs and the medical advancements that have been made there.

Once complete, the £42m, 125,000 sq ft, seven-storey lab and workspace will offer world leading, highly specialist space specifically designed to support companies working in precision medicine, including those in diagnostic, genomics, biotech, medtech, health-related AI and digital health.

It will also bolster the existing Citylabs cluster, strengthening the internationally significant health innovation campus – a joint venture partnership between Bruntwood SciTech and MFT.

Dr Kath Mackay said: “To date, the Citylabs campus has helped to support hundreds of specialist healthcare businesses that are changing the face of medical science across the UK and beyond. By creating a cluster of like-minded businesses all centred around one of the country’s most eminent teaching hospital Trusts, we have seen first-hand how the ability to collaborate and knowledge share will drive forward innovations in medicine and healthcare.”

Citylabs 4.0 incorporates infrastructure to accommodate containment level 2 (CL2) biology and chemistry labs and specialist equipment, including increased floor loading, enhanced cooling systems and ventilation provisions, and a large platform lift. Businesses that locate here will also benefit from 100GB superfast connectivity, shared breakout spaces, an internally secure cycle storage with showers and kit drying room, and have access to the campus’s 150-person event space, multiple meeting rooms, cafes and supermarket.

As part of the support provided by the joint venture, businesses receive access to research, development, innovation, and funding support, as well as opportunities including joint clinical trials, sample supply, diagnostic collaborations and medtech adoption with MFT. They can also access the world-class talent and research capabilities of MFT, the University of Manchester, and Manchester Metropolitan University.

Topping out ceremony

The development of Citylabs 4.0, the third phase in the Citylabs masterplan taking the campus from 192,000 sq ft to 327,000 sq ft, will build on and enhance the existing health innovation cluster at Citylabs, which is home to more than 20 life science and healthcare businesses.

This includes global molecular diagnostics company, Qiagen, which opened its Global Centre of Excellence for Precision Medicine at Citylabs 2.0 in November 2021, new generation molecular diagnostics business Apis Assay Technologies, ophthalmic instrument manufacturer Takagi, and one of Europe’s largest contract research organisations, MAC Clinical Research.

Citylabs 4.0 is expected to achieve net zero carbon in construction and operation in its shared spaces and will be 100% electric. As a highly energy efficient building, it is targeted to be EPC A and include 208 sq m of solar panels, enough to charge an average electric car approximately 1235 times.

The building’s cladding system will be made from 75% recycled end-of-life aluminium (post-consumer scrap), meaning its content will have one of the smallest carbon dioxide footprints worldwide – seven times less than the global average for aluminium production.

The new lab and workspace is expected to be complete in spring 2025.

Mark Cubbon, MFT Group Chief Executive, said: “The pioneering partnership between MFT and Bruntwood SciTech, starting with the first Citylabs development 10 years ago, is a legacy to the late and visionary Keith Chantler, our former Director of Innovation, who was instrumental in the creation of the Citylabs project.”

GMI Construction Group is leading the build of the Sheppard Robson-designed development and local teams also working on the development include Arup, Hilson Moran, Gardiner and Theobald, and Layers. The development of Citylabs 4.0 is supported by a £32m senior loan from the North West Evergreen Fund, managed by CBRE’s Investment Advisory team, which is part of CBRE Capital Advisors.

Anthony Judge, Regional Director, North West, at GMI Construction Group, said: “The topping out of Citylabs 4.0 marks a significant achievement for GMI and our delivery partners.”

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