Developer revealed to turn Old Medical School into health tech innovation hub

Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust has confirmed Scarborough Group International (SGI) is the preferred developer to transform its historic Old Medical School into a hub for health-tech innovation.

The proposed agreement to acquire and refurbish the grade II* listed building represents the first phase in the delivery of the Innovation Village, a world-class cluster for science, innovation and technology surrounding the new hospital development at Leeds General Infirmary.

The Innovation Village project encompasses more than 2.2m sq ft of development which will create up to 4,000 new jobs, more than 500 homes and an economic boost of £13bn for West Yorkshire.  

As part of its proposal, SGI has set out plans to create a “health-tech ecosystem” at the Old Medical School to encourage collaboration between clinicians, academics, researchers and entrepreneurs, supporting start-ups and scale-ups to grow and help transform the future of healthcare. 

SGI’s vision includes preserving the Old Medical School’s Tudor Gothic style while implementing contemporary enhancements to offer a dynamic and functional workspace.

These includes laboratories, co-working spaces, offices and communal areas, along with a new atrium over the inner courtyard. 

Completed in 1894, the original red-brick building was designed by Leeds architect WH Thorp as the home to one of the first provincial medical schools in England.

The building currently houses the trust’s pathology department, which is relocating to the Centre for Laboratory Medicine at St James’s University Hospital.  

West Yorkshire Combined Authority has provisionally identified the Old Medical School as a major project set to benefit from the £160m West Yorkshire Investment Zone. The project is expected to create 237 jobs. 

Dame Linda Pollard, chair of Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “We are happy to announce Scarborough Group International as preferred developer and partner for the Old Medical School. 

“Together we will create a health tech innovation hub that helps clinicians, researchers and entrepreneurs turn the latest scientific advances into successful new products and services that can improve health outcomes and drive economic growth.

Mark Jackson, group development director at SGI, said: “By creating a dynamic environment where clinicians, academics, researchers and entrepreneurs can collaborate, innovate and grow, we want to help drive forward the development of ground-breaking technologies and solutions, and support their swift integration into the broader healthcare landscape, benefiting patients and advancing the forefront of medical innovation.”

The Minister for Investment, Lord Dominic Johnson, said: “The UK continues to solidify its position on the world stage as a leader in science and technology.

“This exciting project taps into the UK’s strengths in the life sciences sector, fostering economic growth and innovative healthcare as part of the West Yorkshire Investment Zone.”

Tracy Brabin, mayor of West Yorkshire, said: “Our multi-million pound investment zone will help us transform the Old Medical School into a global centre of innovation, as we bring together our universities, businesses and hospitals to drive the development of life-changing technologies, deliver thousands of skilled jobs, and transform the lives of patients worldwide.”

Tom Riordan, chief executive of Leeds City Council, added: “The new hospital will be a beacon of innovation, accelerating the work done to date delivering our vision to stimulate innovation that delivers measurable impact towards a healthier, greener and inclusive future for all.

“This project further strengthens Leeds’s position as a leading health tech hub and is a fantastic example of where Leeds consistently achieves and continues to deliver on large scale projects through public/private sector partnerships.”

Property advisor Fox Lloyd Jones advised Leeds Teaching Hospitals during the marketing process for the Old Medical School. 

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