Greenheys updated CGI, Bruntwood SciTech, p Citypress

BDP has designed the future home of UK Biobank. Credit: via Citypress

Bruntwood SciTech’s £60m Greenheys set for 2026 completion

Main contractor Willmott Dixon is currently at work on the 131,000 sq ft lab complex off Pencroft Way, within Manchester Science Park.

When finished in summer 2026, Bruntwood SciTech’s Greenheys will span seven storeys, providing a mixture of CL2 labs (capable of handling medium-risk biological agents) and offices ranging from 2,500 sq ft to 22,000 sq ft.

UK Biobank will occupy three floors at the BDP-designed Greenheys, making the Manchester complex the hub of its operations. The biological sample business will utilise its £127.6m award from the UK Research and Innovation Infrastructure Fund to kit out its space with a robotic freezer capable of storing and retrieving up to 20m biological samples for scientists to study.

Samantha Welsh, head of laboratory at UK Biobank, said she was “excited” that construction is underway on the company’s new headquarters.

“The new facility’s lab and robotic freezer will allow us to meet the growing demand for our millions of unique biological samples, enabling scientists across the world to make great leaps forward in health and disease research,” she said.

Greenheys has been designed to have an increased vibration resistance, 100GB connectivity, high-security access, piped gas distribution systems, and enhanced cooling and ventilation. It is on track to be BREEAM Excellent, fully electric, and net zero in construction. Greenheys is also set to be net zero in operation within its shared spaces only.

A living wall hoarding was put in place earlier this year, with plans to incorporate it into the building itself prior to completion.

The project is set to cost £60m to build, and £75m when the fit-out for UK Biobank is added in.

Sam Darby, development director at Bruntwood SciTech, said he was “delighted” to have Willmott Dixon as the main contractor for the Greenheys project.

He said that the contractor’s “expertise aligns strongly with our vision for creating a facility that will serve as a catalyst for innovation in the life sciences sector, and become one of the most advanced and specialist life science spaces in the UK”.

Darby continued: “With Willmott Dixon’s commitment to quality and sustainability, we are confident that together we will deliver a world-class facility that meets the needs of the scientific community and contributes positively to the Manchester region.”

Anthony Dillon, Willmott Dixon’s managing director in the North, added: “Our team of science and commercial sector specialists will bring a wealth of experience and innovation to Greenheys.

“In partnership with Bruntwood SciTech and UK Biobank, we will create a cutting-edge and sustainable hub for science innovation which will be a catalyst for changing lives and creating opportunities for local people,” he continued.

Dillon also said Willmott Dixon would invest £16.8m into local skills and business as part of its involvement in the project. That figure includes 380 weeks of apprenticeships, four T-level placements, and a Building Lives Academy skills programme that trains up the construction force of the future while upskilling those already in the field.

Greenheys is one of several projects from Bruntwood SciTech that will benefit from a £480m funding boost awarded by Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds Bank, NatWest, and Santander earlier this year to the Greater Manchester Pension Fund, Legal & General, and Bruntwood joint venture.

Planning permission for Greenheys was secured in July 2023, with the help of planner Deloitte. The project team includes DW Consulting, Walker Sime, Silcock Leedham, Curtins, NX Consulting, Tyler Grange, RSK, GIA, Zed, and N. D. Oliver – as well as BDP.

You can learn more about the project by searching application reference number 136934/FO/2023 on Manchester City Council’s planning portal.

Learn more about the life sciences development scene in the North West. Book your Life Sciences Update ticket.

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