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Leaders Gather at The Shard to Discuss the Future of Life Science Real Estate

16 May 2024

Life Science, Real Estate

Leaders in construction and the life sciences came together in The Shard for Bisnow’s sell-out Life Science Spring Social last week which brought together developers and investors who are shaping the life sciences environment and driving its economic growth.

Simon Howell of King’s College London opened the event with a short talk about SC1 and the work they are doing to create Southwark’s very own science hub. Attendees heard that the UK’s life science real estate leasing market remains in good shape, as demand continues to outstrip supply. However, quirks in the UK science and technology sector mean that some developers face a harder time than others in filling space.

Emma Goodford, Knight Frank’s Head of Life Science and Innovation stated that despite increasing venture capital investment, demand outstrips supply, with about 1,700,000 square feet needed and only 400,000 available in the Golden Triangle.

Panellist Emma Goodford, Head of Life Science and Innovation at Knight Frank noted a key dilemma for the real estate industry is what type of building best meets demand. If a developer builds a 200K sq ft building, it is not going to lease it to 100 startups needing 2K sq ft, nor is it likely to find a single occupier. Therefore, mid-sized companies become the focus for the industry to attract.

Goodford told the sold-out crowd that demand for space across the Golden Triangle is running at 1.7M sq ft with only 400K sq ft available, even after stripping out companies that have been waiting for more than 12 months for investment.

The audience also heard from Grant Bourhill, Managing Director of Barts Life Sciences, who discussed the need for the UK to do more to aid the creation of successful and profitable life science companies, given the country’s top-tier academic institutions. He suggested that real estate companies that wish to partner with academic institutions need to think about long term, strategic partnerships.

The full article is available here.

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