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Strong future ahead for Colworth Science Park

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Wrenbridge, a leading UK property company, backed by Palmer Capital, is set to sell Colworth Science Park (‘the Park’), a leading commercial research and development centre in the heart of the UK Growth Corridor between Oxford and Cambridge.

Colworth Science Park was acquired in June 2014 by funds managed by Palmer Capital, who is a shareholder in Wrenbridge. Subsequently, Wrenbridge have implemented an intensive asset management programme working with tenants on the 90-acre site to transform operations, reduce operating costs and create opportunities that will secure its future as a leading centre of innovation for scientific excellence and collaboration.

Under Wrenbridge and Palmer Capital’s management, Colworth Science Park has seen the refurbishment of Colworth House, creating a vibrant multi-let serviced office offering, which has generated 200 jobs and welcomed new businesses on to the site, including its newest tenant, Swiss global flavourings company Firmenich.

The Park is home to one of Unilever’s six global research and development campuses, which has been located at the Park since 1947 and has been the anchor tenant since Wrenbridge acquired the site in 2014. Unilever’s commitment to the Park and Bedford remains unchanged and it retains its lease until 2034.

Ewen McLeod, Director at Wrenbridge in Cambridge, said:

“In the past four years, Wrenbridge and Palmer Capital have enjoyed working with Unilever to develop opportunities for Colworth Science Park and its tenants. This is a crucial site that is a real asset to Bedford and the wider scientific community, and we are thrilled to be leaving it in a secure position that will enable it to grow further. The sale of the Park will not impact existing or future tenants and their staff.

The Park is strategically located in the heart of the UK Growth Arc, a knowledge corridor running from Oxford to Cambridge, which is due to be transformed over the coming years. Its position will enable tenants to compete on the global stage, share knowledge and innovate in collaboration with others along the corridor.Colworth park

Going forward, Wrenbridge will continue to lead the promotion of 900 acres of farmland surrounding the Park as an ideal location for a new garden village that will help meet Bedford’s housing needs. The farmland, owned by Unilever, would create up to 4,500 new homes, new commercial space, new primary and secondary schools, a new railway station with travel time to London of less than an hour and additional new road infrastructure. Wrenbridge is committed to working with Unilever to take the scheme through the planning process and offer further opportunities for local jobs and housing.

Mr McLeod added:

“To enable Colworth Science Park to play an essential role in the UK Growth Arc, we need to offer highly skilled jobs, housing and essential infrastructure. To achieve this, Wrenbridge is committed to supporting Unilever deliver this much-needed housing and infrastructure via a new garden village that will benefit both the Park and the wider community.

For more information on the sale please contact CBRE.

First published November 2018, Estates Gazette.