Oxford, Reef to develop life sciences hub in central London

Oxford, Reef to develop life sciences hub in central London

Guy’s & St Thomas’ Foundation has selected the partnership between Oxford Properties and Reef Estates Limited to develop Snowsfields Quarter, a life sciences hub in central London.

Oxford and Reef will invest approximately £350 million to create a 300,000 sq ft life sciences hub with world-class lab facilities across three new buildings in a prime health innovation cluster.

The 0.88 acre site sits adjacent to the Guy’s campus in SE1, which hosts world-class medical and research institutions including King’s College London and Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Trust. These, together with the Foundation and local authority partners, form a central part of an emerging partnership, SC1, which aims to create a new health innovation cluster in the capital.

The sale of a long-term leasehold of the site to Oxford will complete subject to achieving planning permission for the project.

”The envisioned project will play a central role in creating the required, and highly-technical, real estate infrastructure to support the emergence of the SC1 innovation cluster. It will add meaningful new supply of lab facilities in London Bridge, a market that suffers from a lack of commercial R&D space and provide a home for the successful ventures that emanate from the area’s world-renowned research hospitals and institutions,” said oxford in a statement.  

Kieron Boyle, CEO at Guy’s & St Thomas’ Foundation, said: “We had a fantastic level of interest in Snowsfields Quarter and our long-term vision to contribute to the growing life sciences cluster in our central London home. As an investor with a mission to build the foundations of a healthier society, we believe we have found like-minded partners in Oxford and Reef. Their approach and proposals chime with our ambitions to create innovative spaces that support life-enhancing medical advances which improve lives locally and beyond.”

The Foundation is a charitable organisation with an endowment worth nearly £1 billion in assets including land and property, and a mission to support greater health for all. The organisation works closely with Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust but it is independent from it.

Snowsfields Quarter will be the Foundation’s second life sciences-led scheme in the area, with the nearby Royal Street site under development with partners Stanhope and Baupost Group.

Abby Shapiro, Head of Life Sciences, Europe at Oxford Properties, commented: “We’re extremely proud to have been selected by Guy’s & St Thomas’ Foundation to turn Snowsfields Quarter into a world-class life science innovation and growth hub. We will draw on all the expertise of our global life science business to create a project that offers solutions to firms at all stages of scientific discovery and production by providing institutional grade infrastructure, service and amenities that attract and allows the best and brightest talent to bring life-changing therapeutics to market. 

“Snowsfields Quarter is in the heart of a life science cluster that features a global top ten research university in King’s College London, the leading clinical trials of Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust as well as the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult. Our plans will help strengthen this already significant ecosystem and, by delivering high-quality commercially available lab space, and ensuring that the London Bridge cluster can retain and grow the successful ventures that emanate from these institutions which have previously had to relocate to other parts of London or out of the city altogether.”

Oxford Properties and Reef will work with a design team including UrbanR, Perkins and Will and DSDHA to draw up plans for the site, with a planning application due to be submitted to Southwark Council in due course following engagement with stakeholders.

Savills acted on behalf of Guy’s & St Thomas’ Foundation. The bidding process was highly competitive, with a high level of strong bids and shortlisted parties including Stanhope & Cadillac Fairview, Nuveen, Biomed & Blackstone and Breakthrough Properties.