Bruntwood SciTech’s 1 million sq ft masterplan for Manchester Science Park has taken another step forward as its £21m development, Base, reaches practical completion.

Work on the five-storey, 91,000 sq ft development started in December 2020 at the height of the pandemic, led by main contractor Caddick Construction, and even through the challenges of the past 18 months has completed only a few weeks after its pre-pandemic predicted completion date.

Bruntwood SciTech, a 50:50 joint venture between Bruntwood and Legal & General, has specifically designed Base both for companies working in the high growth, Industry 4.0 tech arena and for those moulding and training the next generation of highly skilled, specialist talent to support such businesses; including those working in low carbon, light manufacturing, computer and energy technology, gaming, and animation.

Base is ideally located at Manchester Science Park, one of the country’s most vibrant, thriving communities of scientists, innovators and entrepreneurs, with over 150 fast-growth start-ups, scale ups and global businesses working in digital health, cyber security, digital technology, medtech, light manufacturing, biotech and diagnostics. Businesses locating to Base will also be located in the heart of one of the UK’s most densely concentrated life science and tech clusters – the Oxford Road Corridor innovation district, a top 5 European innovation district and the largest clinical academic campus in Europe.

Base offers a mix of office space and a dedicated makerspace workshop for the prototyping of new, or modifying existing products. Additionally, Bruntwood SciTech has the capability to incorporate a bespoke lab space if requested by a business moving in. The building also comprises a welcome lounge with breakout space, meeting rooms including a 24 person board room, internally secure cycle storage with a sports kit drying room, showers and lockers, and an indoor/outdoor roof terrace event space for up to 165 people which has expansive views across the city centre and innovation district.

Base is the first major redevelopment at Manchester Science Park to incorporate a number of sustainability measures which will enable the building to operate at Net Zero Carbon across common areas. They include 704sq m of PV solar power which is expected to generate around 114 MWh of electricity per year and a hybrid heating and cooling system with a significant reduction in refrigerant gases, resulting in far lower emissions and optimised energy consumption. Over 360sq m of carpet from the former Base building has been recycled – 60% of which has been reused as flooring finishes, while the remainder has been turned into useful energy through a waste-to-energy facility. These measures will help to reduce the building’s carbon footprint by 22% and have supported the building in achieving an EPC A rating.

The pedestrian links through the campus to Oxford Road have also been improved as part of the investment in the external landscaping, which includes 50 new trees, wild grasses, bird nest boxes and below-ground beehives.

Bradley Topps, commercial director at Bruntwood SciTech, commented: “Our long-term vision for Manchester Science Park is one step closer as Base reaches its completion milestone. Base will play a significant role in supporting the growth of Manchester’s knowledge economy and will become a new specialist hub in the city, building on the region’s internationally recognised tech and manufacturing cluster.

“The construction of Base during one of the toughest economic and uncertain periods of our time has been no mean feat but it’s testament to the resilience and sheer commitment of our internal project team, Caddick, and the wider contractor team that we complete the build almost to the same timings that we intended when the building was designed, long before the pandemic began. We have a sustained commitment to investing in Manchester’s knowledge infrastructure for science and tech businesses and look forward to an official opening of Base in a few months time.”

Ian Threadgold, managing director, Caddick Construction North West, said: “The team has greatly enjoyed working with Bruntwood SciTech on this exciting development to deliver the highest quality specialist space for tech businesses at Manchester Science Park. We, and our supply chain, have worked together to generate local employment, skills and training opportunities, as well as supporting students working towards their Scholarship in Construction and the Built Environment. We are committed to encouraging new recruits into the industry and this has been a great opportunity for them to learn on such a high profile and innovative development.”

The development of Base is supported by a £15.5m loan from the North West Evergreen Fund, managed by CBRE’s Investment Advisory team, which is part of CBRE Capital Advisors. Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) also awarded a £4m grant from the Getting Building Fund for the construction of the building in support of the city-region’s economic recovery from the pandemic. Base is designed by Bridge Architects and supported by Walker Sime, Buro Happold, DW Consulting Engineers and BDP.