Willmott Dixon hands over £17.8m Project Violet

Work on the 43,000 sq ft speculative office space at Sci-Tech Daresbury in Halton has completed.

Project Violet is made up of three buildings designed by Seven Architecture. Two of the buildings are 12,000 sq ft, while one is 19,000 sq ft. Project Violet is located off Keckwick Lane.

Warrington-based developer Langtree delivered the scheme, alongside Halton Council and the Science and Technology Facilities Council. Willmott Dixon was the main contractor and had begun work on the project in November 2020.

“Project Violet reaching completion is yet another moment of real excitement at a time when our campus is truly going from strength to strength,” said John Downes, chief executive of Langtree and chairman of Sci-Tech Daresbury.

Downes went on to describe how the pandemic had caused some to cast doubt on the development.

“Contracts were signed for the build programme of Project Violet in the summer of 2020, when the first few months of the pandemic had led many to believe that high-quality office and laboratory space would no longer be in demand in the years to come,” Downes said. “This was not a view we shared, and the strong demand we’re experiencing for Violet vindicates that our unwavering faith in cutting-edge businesses in the North West has been more than vindicated.

“The work we’re currently undertaking will be pivotal in supporting science and technology in our region and beyond  for decades to come – this is a truly exhilarating period for Sci-Tech Daresbury.”

While tenants have not yet been confirmed for the buildings, Sci-Tech Daresbury said it was in final negotiations “with a number of local and international companies regarding occupancy”. Those deals will ideally see three-quarters of the project let, according to Sci-Tech Daresbury. Announcements regarding the lettings are set to be made in the coming weeks.

Project Violet was funded in part by the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, which provided £8.4m for the endeavour. Of that £8.4m, £2.5m was a loan from the Urban Development Fund, while the remaining £5.9m came from the authority’s Chrysalis Fund. Those two funds are being managed by Igloo Investment Management.

Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said: “Sci-Tech Daresbury is a thriving hub for science and technology in our region, playing host to many of the cutting-edge, innovative businesses that will help us to build a  greener, smart and better-connected Liverpool City Region.

“We are only scratching the surface of our region’s potential to be at the vanguard of science and innovation in the  UK. This latest expansion of the Sci-Tech Daresbury campus means that we can continue to attract world-leading  businesses to our region, delivering hundreds of high-quality, high-value jobs that fuel our ambitions to be global  innovators”

The next stage of development for Sci-Tech Daresbury is Ultraviolet, which will have 180,000 sq ft of laboratory and office space. Ultraviolet will be located next to Project Violet. Planning approval for the scheme was granted by Halton Council in December.

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