Monday 28th September 2020
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Surge in demand for laboratory space lifts Cambridge property market

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Strong demand from life science companies meant the take-up of laboratory space in Cambridge rose more than ten-fold to over 214,100 sq ft last year, up from 17,145 sq ft in 2018 according to figures from Savills. The sector accounted for some 29 per cent of all transactions in the area over the year. Key deals included RxCelerate UK occupying 25,000 sq ft at the Babraham Research Campus, where a total of 79,000 sq ft of space was let last year.  Meanwhile, Lonza and Microbiotica also took significant space at Chesterford Research Park (photo). Savills says that demand for ‘lab-fitted’ space has skyrocketed as firms look to take advantage of ready to occupy space within Cambridge’s world class science and innovation clusters. Growing activity in the sector is likely to lead to further rises in demand for lab space after UK life sciences firms raised £27.6 billion in new capital in 2019, a 135 per cent increase on 2018.

William Clarke, director in the business space team at Savills Cambridge, said: “Where previously we have seen occupiers take the build-to-suit option when it comes to laboratory space, we are now seeing a surge in requirements for existing fitted product, especially as firms look to up upscale on a reactive basis. Consequently, developers are having to factor this in when commencing new schemes across the city.” The Cambridge office market, as a whole, had a strong year with take-up in the city reaching 737,000 sq ft in 2019, almost 50 per cent above the long term average.