Harwell Campus at Didcot has revealed it let 160,000 sq ft of speculative Grade A space in 2017, 40% of the total Oxford region.
This is the largest combined commercial take-up and development of new space ever seen in Oxfordshire.
Of those lettings, 83% went to innovative tech companies working across the space, life sciences and energy sectors with half expanding on, and half locating to, Harwell.
Recent lettings activity includes securing GMV, AgSpace, Mirion, Keit Ltd, SMS Environmental, and the first investment firm, Longwall Ventures, taking around 20,000 sq ft of space between them for a mix of office, lab and high-tech manufacturing purposes.
The attraction for innovative tech companies lies in being co-located with £2 billion of national labs and open access facilities, on-campus investment and funding opportunities, and a range of leases for companies of all growth phases from start-ups to multinationals.
Year on year growth is set to continue and the Harwell Campus Partnership is close to using up the 400,000 sq ft granted in 2013, while preparing to submit the next application of 750,000 sq ft of commercial accommodation in the first half of 2018.
With a total of 5.5 million sq ft of planned development and 1.5million sq ft to be developed by 2025, Harwell Campus is set to be the largest rejuvenation and commercial property growth project ever seen in Oxfordshire.
William Cooper, Partner, Harwell Oxford Partners, said: “In 2017 we de-risked the largest speculative development in Oxfordshire, attracting more innovative companies than any other site in this region. Our successful growth is down to our disruptive approach to commercial property development, introducing ‘Science Warehousing’ to the UK, with the intention of making the UK fit for Industry needs if we are to grow as a high-tech industrial economy. “
Commenting on why his company chose to expand at Harwell, Dan Wood, CEO, Keit Ltd said: “The benefits of being at Harwell for a start-up tech company are significant. We have access to world-class testing facilities and experts in a uniquely collaborative environment.”
“This support network and environment has enabled us to successfully grow our company from concept to global commercialisation.”
2018 development will focus on the completion of Zephyr, a pioneering Science Warehouse that will house upwards of 60,000 sq ft of offices, laboratories and high-tech manufacturing space; the fit-out of the significant new 26,000 sq ft Grade A Quad building and its accompanying 6,000 sq ft gym, and restaurant; two new R&D manufacturing buildings of a combined 65,000 sq ft will be completed, and a planning outline application for 1,000 homes on Campus to create a work/live community will be submitted.