Over the last six months whilst landlords of retail units and shopping centres have been looking to support a struggling sector, landlords in the science and technology sector have seen an increase in demand for space and accelerated growth. Previously seen as a niche asset class, sci/tech is fast becoming more “mainstream” as investors diversify their portfolios and look for opportunities in the area.

Cities with an established sci/tech market like Cambridge have held up particularly well during the pandemic in terms of recovery of rent (which was up on other cities following the initial national lockdown). Cambridge has seen growth across its science park contingent over a number of years and this is expected to continue at pace with the increased government spending in research and development including life sciences. Deals like Amgen agreeing a ten year lease of 35,000 square foot of space at Cambridge Science Park shows the appetite amongst occupiers notwithstanding lockdown and future uncertainty.

The Golden Triangle (of London- Oxford- Cambridge) and the Innovation Corridor (London – Cambridge) are increasing their presence with parks like Harlow Science Park offering new opportunities. More nationally, the sector has shown how quickly it can move with the creation of COVID testing centres in a matter of weeks, like the one seen at Bruntwood SciTech’s Alderley Park and the AstraZeneca/GSK/University of Cambridge collaboration on University premises at the Cambridge Biomedical Campus.

As the pandemic continues to impact our lives, it also continues to shine a light on the importance of our health and wellbeing. Critical to this is the need for real estate space within the science and technology sector. We expect investment in the area to continue to grow in order to meet the demands for space for research, development and collaboration.

Author: Amelia Lewis, Senior Associate, Mills & Reeve