GVA to market 600,000 sq ft at Thornton

Simon Donohue

GVA has been appointed to market 600,000 sq ft for commercial use at Thornton Science Park, the 66-acre site of the former Shell Technology Centre in Ellesmere Port.

Its activity as a property agent will relate to buildings on the site not being used by the University of Chester, which acquired Thornton Science Park from Shell earlier this year.

The university will establish its eighth faculty, engineering and technology, on the site. It will also provide accommodation for pre-start and high growth small and medium-sized enterprises from the environment, engineering, advanced manufacturing and automotive sectors.

Thornton Science Park currently houses 1.1m sq ft across 48 buildings, comprising laboratories, workshop, offices, sports facilities and a restaurant.

GVA will also advise the university on the development of the new campus and science park.

The space being marketed by GVA includes four 30,000 sq ft laboratories, a number of office buildings ranging in size from 10,000 to 40,000 sq ft and a mix of general industrial buildings of between 5,000 and 15,000 sq ft.

Patrick Whitby, a director at GVA, said many of the buildings are still currently in use by Shell, which is due to formally hand the site over in April next year.

He said that much of the space would be ready to be occupied by a new tenant or owner.

He added: "Thornton Science Park is undoubtedly one of the most significant and deliverable projects to come to the North West market in recent years.

"The new faculty will complement and support high grade private sector companies active in the environmental, advanced manufacturing and automotive sectors and provide students with the opportunity to study at a world-class facility, alongside on-site science and technology employers.

"Whilst science parks have proliferated in the UK and around the globe for at least three decades, this landmark project seeks to develop a new approach which is focused on building on the relationship between education, industry and government."

As a registered charity, the university will take legal ownership of the 66-acre site through a gifting agreement with Shell, which is currently relocating its operations to a number of other premises in the UK and overseas.

The site was originally developed by Shell alongside the Stanlow Rrefinery, which was sold to Essar Energy in 2011.

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