The news that Kadans are partnering with Canary Wharf Group on a 22-storey lab skyscraper is interesting on so many levels to those that follow this sector.  London has long sought the right location to rival the life science hubs in Boston, San Diego and San Francisco and to truly exploit its position as the third point in the successful golden triangle, alongside super-charged Cambridge and catching up with Oxford.  With its proximity to Central London, the imminent opening of the long-awaited Elizabeth line, which will link Canary Wharf to Heathrow, together with the huge amount of development being undertaken in the area which will provide homes and social lives for any employees coming to work there, Canary Wharf may just be it!

We also see another traditional UK based developer dipping a toe into the buzzing life sciences development sector, partnering with the industry knowledge that Dutch company Kadans has gleaned from years of building these unique spaces in Europe. Of course, Government support for this sector continues and both companies clearly see the lack of available fitted lab space in the golden triangle as an opportunity to be exploited by those that can harness a suitable location with that sector development expertise.

The idea of putting that lab space into a skyscraper is not new - the US has been doing it for some time  - but it is newish for the UK.  The Cambridge and Oxford markets mainly consist of low-rise lab buildings.  But with space at a premium in both those locations and with developments such as this in London, perhaps they too will consider that the only way is up.  The challenges of Building Up across the Real Estate sector have been explored by this firm previously and those challenges are magnified by the specific requirements of making the space lab capable.  It will therefore be fascinating to watch the development taking shape and track which tenants are prepared to take a gamble on this new and very promising location. 

If you would like to know more about Building Up and how it impacts your business, please contact Louise or download our Building Up discussion paper on real estate development in a post-pandemic world here.