Joint venture to invest £700m in Oxford North project

Joint venture to invest £700m in Oxford North project
Image: Courtesy of Thomas White Oxford

Thomas White Oxford, the development company of St John’s College, has formed a joint venture partnership with Canadian-based Cadillac Fairview, the real estate arm of Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, and developer Stanhope PLC, for Oxford North, the £700 million new life sciences and innovation district project in Oxford, UK.

A new company, Oxford North Ventures LLP, has been formed as a joint venture, 50% owned by Thomas White Oxford and 50% by Cadillac Fairview and Stanhope.

Stanhope has also been appointed as development manager.

The board of Oxford North Ventures LLP, will consist of Bernard Taylor, chairman and William Donger, chief executive officer of Thomas White Oxford, Jenny Hammarlund, managing director, head of Europe, of Cadillac Fairview; and David Camp, chief executive of Stanhope.

The joint venture will invest almost £700 million to deliver 939,000 sq ft (87,300 sq m) of laboratory and workspace to enable life-enhancing discovery, along with amenities, infrastructure and social value during the next several years, which will boost the economy by circa £150 million in GVA per annum.

In March 2021, outline consent was granted by Oxford City Council for the overall 64-acre masterplan and detailed consent for the first phase of new laboratories and workspace, which will total 170,000 sq ft (15,793 sq m), with a link road and Central Park. Future labs and workspace phases across Central and Eastside will be delivered by the joint venture.

Enabling infrastructure works started in August 2021. These works have already created more than 200 construction jobs. Delivered in tandem will be new, landscaped, open spaces as public spaces.

Oxford North will include 480 much-needed new homes, of which a minimum of 35% will be affordable. Thomas White Oxford has already entered into an agreement with Hill Group to deliver circa 318 new homes, the first public park and new streets on Canalside, to the south of the A40.

Bernard Taylor, chairman, Thomas White Oxford, said: “Following two years of careful work, we have selected our JV partners. I am thrilled to have Cadillac Fairview as our partner because of their long-established record of involvement in high quality property development and, as the property arm of Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, they have a very long-term investment perspective whose philosophy is well aligned with that of Thomas White Oxford and our 100% shareholder, St John’s College, Oxford.

“I am also delighted to have Stanhope as our partner and development manager. They are one of the leading and highest quality placemakers in the UK and their chief executive, David Camp, will personally lead the development team, bringing his exceptional experience in the life sciences sector and track record for delivering sustainable new exciting places on time and on budget.

“Oxford North will have a very positive impact on people’s lives. For us, it is about investing responsibly in society and seeking a return for all on that investment so that Oxford North is recognised as a ‘must go to’ home for science and innovation within a wonderful new district with an exemplar approach to sustainable and low carbon development.”

William Donger, chief executive officer, Thomas White Oxford Ltd, said: “We warmly welcome our new development partners to deliver in a timely way one of the world’s most significant innovation districts. Demand for lab and science translation space in Oxford is at record levels with restricted supply. Conversations with pioneering science and technology companies seeking such space have already started.

“This also means that we can continue to maximise opportunities for local people with school and college engagement, provide construction apprenticeships for school leavers and graduates and upskill those people looking to be part of this exciting industry. Together, we are committed to delivering a new sustainable place for Oxford for those who live, work, learn, visit and play here.”

Jenny Hammarlund, managing director, head of Europe, Cadillac Fairview said: “As we grow our investment portfolio across Europe, the life sciences sector is a strategic focus for Cadillac Fairview. We are extremely pleased to be investing in the UK with two strong and like-minded partners, Stanhope and Thomas White Oxford. Through this globally ambitious project, we will foster relationships with the UK’s world leading life sciences sector, including educational institutions, hospitals, the research community, and the commercial ecosystem, while building a sustainable community where innovation can thrive.”

The project is the second joint venture between Cadillac Fairview and Stanhope, which follows Cadillac Fairview’s acquisition of White City Place in 2021, which Stanhope continues to asset manage.

David Camp, chief executive, Stanhope PLC added: “Oxford is a world-leading destination for life sciences and medical research, so it is a privilege for us to have formed this partnership with Thomas White Oxford and Cadillac Fairview to create what will become the city’s premier life sciences and innovation district. Stanhope has over 25 years’ experience creating places and fostering communities in the UK and this has allowed us to develop a blueprint for sustainable development which is of paramount importance for all involved in this exciting project. As development manager we are committed to ensuring that Oxford North delivers the highest quality public open space and buildings, and has a positive impact for all.”