Bruntwood and Legal & General Capital (Legal & General) have established a 50:50 partnership which will see them both invest £360m of capital, property and intellectual assets into a new company, Bruntwood SciTech, with a business plan supporting the creation of over 20,000 high value jobs.
The partnership represents the largest investment made in science and technology property assets in Europe this year and ignites a business plan that will see Bruntwood SciTech’s assets grow from 1.3 million sq ft on day one to over 6.2 million sq ft over the next ten years, increasing the value of the portfolio to £1.8bn.
The growth of the science and technology sector in Leeds is central to the strategic vision of the new business. The new company combines Bruntwood’s commitment to creating thriving cities, working in partnership with public, private and academic institutions, and Legal & General’s ability to unlock urban renewal opportunities and accelerate growth of some of the UK’s key sectors through its long-term capital.
Bruntwood SciTech will initially focus on developing out its existing portfolio of assets within Leeds and the wider Northern Powerhouse and Midlands Engine regions. In the medium and longer term the business will explore opportunities for investment in other UK regional cities.
The Bruntwood SciTech portfolio is already home to more than 500 science and technology businesses from digital start-ups to global life sciences companies. Its plans centre around flagship assets and development projects in Leeds, Birmingham and Manchester, along with Alderley Park, the internationally-recognised life science campus in Cheshire. Liverpool also features strongly in its development strategy.
In 2017 Bruntwood launched Platform - its flagship 120,000 sq ft building located above Leeds railway station which is home to an incubator dedicated to supporting over 70 businesses from the city’s fast-growing digital technology and creative sector to scale and grow.
Similarly, Legal & General has committed over £600 million to Leeds on separate projects. Investments include major urban regeneration projects and the delivery of housing, social care and infrastructure, such as the redevelopment of Headingley Cricket Stadium, a city centre Build-to-Rent scheme, our modular housing factory, and our Thorpe Park Leeds scheme, which includes the construction of the first section of the East Leeds Orbital Road, a key piece of road infrastructure.
The business will be chaired by Bruntwood Chief Executive Chris Oglesby. He commented: “We are delighted to have formed a partnership with Legal & General, an organisation that shares our vision for unlocking growth in the science and technology sector in the UK regions. We are well suited and aligned in terms of our vision and approach to regeneration.
“Our focus is on creating thriving cities - breathing life into places where knowledge-based businesses in Leeds and elsewhere can start and scale driving growth for the UK economy. Bruntwood SciTech is aimed squarely at the many opportunities offered by the science and technology sector and with the backing of Legal & General we can greatly accelerate the scale and pace of what we can achieve. We have ambitious growth plans and see this activity as enabling the creation of around 20,000 new jobs over the next 10 years.
“Leeds has successfully developed a tech cluster worth £1bn, with 168 start-ups setting up since 2016. Our focus is on building on these achievements; doing more to create opportunities for businesses to start and scale, and to support the region in attracting and retaining a wealth of tech talent.
“Bruntwood SciTech will be part of the ongoing effort to showcase the investment opportunities in Leeds and to get the message out there that Leeds is an exciting place to locate a tech business.
Nigel Wilson, Chief Executive of Legal & General, said: “Although the UK is a great place to do business, years of chronic underinvestment have led to poor productivity, inadequate real wage growth and muted economic growth. Science and technology will be key to revitalising the UK economy and driving job creation. We need to keep investing to support the development of our UK regional cities.
“Through our investment in Bruntwood SciTech, we are partnering with a best in class management team at Bruntwood with a track record of delivering and developing major science and technology projects across the UK’s regions.”