Bruntwood SciTech has secured £500 million of additional investment and welcomed the UK’s largest local authority pension fund, Greater Manchester Pension Fund, to the partnership.
The property provider was founded by Legal & General and Bruntwood in 2018 to support the growth of the life science and tech sectors.
It said the deal demonstrates the role that such funds can play in regenerating the UK’s towns and cities, helping to create highly-skilled jobs, increase productivity and drive wage growth, while supporting the UK’s target to become a global science and technology superpower by 2030.
Now the largest dedicated property platform serving the UK’s innovation economy, Bruntwood SciTech aims to create a £5 billion UK-wide portfolio that can support 2,600 high-growth businesses by 2032. The £500m of new equity sees GMPF inject £150m alongside a significant increase in investment from existing shareholders, Legal & General and Bruntwood, through cash and asset transfer.
The new capital will be used to expand and redevelop existing science and technology campuses and city centre innovation hubs, delivering much-needed additional world-leading lab and office space in Manchester, Cheshire, Birmingham, Leeds, Liverpool, Glasgow and Cambridge, across a secured 3.6m sq ft development pipeline.
The investment will also enable Bruntwood SciTech to enter additional R&D intensive regional cities.
Providing the ‘connective tissue’ between research universities, large hospital NHS Trusts, strong civic regional leadership and high-growth enterprise, the partnership has more than £1.5bn in assets across nine campus locations and 31 city centre innovation hubs, offering 4.8m sq ft of specialist workspace, support and like-minded communities for 1,100 high-growth startups, scaleups and global businesses.
Several developments are already underway that will support the growth of city-wide like-minded ecosystems for AI, MedTech, diagnostics, genomics, FinTech, EdTech and digital health businesses. This includes Citylabs 4.0 in Manchester, a health innovation and precision medicine hub; Birmingham’s first truly smart building Enterprise Wharf; and a new dedicated digital and tech hub at Glasgow’s Met Tower.
“In GMPF we have found a partner who shares mutual strategic vision, values, cultural alignment and passion for the key sectors of the UK economy which have the biggest potential for growth,” said Chris Oglesby, executive chair of Bruntwood SciTech and CEO of Bruntwood.
“Bruntwood, Legal & General and GMPF are each committed to creating thriving cities, are deeply rooted in the places in which we invest, and are focussed on the application of long-term, patient capital to support the UK’s economy, with a particular focus on its regional cities.
“GMPF’s investment, alongside the additional capital from Legal & General and assets from Bruntwood, will elevate the potential of Bruntwood SciTech even further, accelerate the delivery of our expansion pipeline, and maintain our market leading position as the workspace provider of choice for innovation-led businesses.
“We will also be able to further support the delivery of strategic city visions and innovation strategies in the UK’s fastest growing regional cities.”
Laura Mason, CEO of Legal & General Capital, said: “Legal & General Capital has long been committed to investing in an innovation backbone for the UK, providing the infrastructure that businesses, universities, and the public sector need to thrive.
“This partnership with Greater Manchester Pension Fund is testament to the strength of the platforms we have created and the track record of our investments. It is particularly special to Legal & General given our long history of investment in and around Manchester.
“Bruntwood SciTech is a unique opportunity to invest in, and develop, a significant, patient capital project that is economically viable and socially useful. By bringing Greater Manchester Pension Fund alongside us, we can further scale our impact and deliver on a shared purpose to use society’s capital for society’s benefit.”
Cllr Gerald Cooney, chair of the GMPF, added: “We have long admired Bruntwood SciTech and seen its impact on our doorstep in Manchester, not least in leveraging the strength of its universities to create innovation districts with a genuine global reputation that are capable of attracting companies like Roku and Qiagen to the city.
“We’re investing from society for society by deploying our capital to benefit the UK’s regional economies for the long-term, helping develop the innovation infrastructure they need in order to scale in world-leading workspaces and supporting them to attract the best, and most highly skilled talent, enter new markets, and be supported in accessing new funds.
“We’re excited about how we can now help to bring forward Bruntwood SciTech’s pipeline of transformational, world-class developments and for a future in which we spread its impact even more so in its existing cities, and into new ones.”
Kate Lawlor (pictured), CEO for Bruntwood SciTech, commented: “We’ve done some amazing things over the last five years by partnering with city regions on their investment strategies and helping create the places they need to unlock them.
“The investment from GMPF demonstrates the strong impact and proposition Bruntwood SciTech has developed, and we are excited to bring in a like-minded third-party investor to support the key priority sectors for the UK in our mission to expand the portfolio further.
“The UK’s real estate market is in a challenging period, but this deal, which will stand out as one of the most significant transactions this year, is about three organisations aligned in both their visions and commitment to investing for the long-term. It underlines our absolute confidence in our business model and proposition’s success, and we can now realise it at scale across more locations.”