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Life Sciences Campus, Investment Zone Designation: Is Arden Cross About To Enjoy Liftoff?


A medical and technology campus is to be developed in partnership with University Hospitals Birmingham and the University of Warwick at the £3.2B Arden Cross development south of Birmingham.

The first phase of the new campus could begin as early as 2024, creating a development intended to trade on UHB's status as the largest NHS Trust in England, running four major general hospitals in the West Midlands as well as a number of regional specialist centres. 

The move comes as investors turn up the heat on life sciences property. This week UBS closed the first wave of its £1B life sciences fund aimed at acquiring sites for development.

Arden Cross promoters hope to tap into this capital, while also benefiting from government assistance. Director Brian Gray hailed the decision by Chancellor of the Exchequer Kwasi Kwarteng to designate the area around the HS2 Interchange Station as a potential Investment Zone as “game changing”.

If confirmed it could open the door to property and investment tax reliefs. The designation is a long way from being completed, and the site is not named on the official list of local authority areas being considered. However, Gray’s premature congratulation is unlikely to lead to disappointment.

The 346-acre Arden Cross site, which will have a high speed rail station when the HS2 line is completed, is expected to provide 6M SF of new commercial floorspace over 20 years. Work on the station began earlier this month after Laing O’Rourke was awarded a contract to complete the £370M project.

A development agreement and £45M infrastructure funding was agreed by the developers and local partners in March 2022.

The development is by Arden Cross Limited, a special-purpose delivery vehicle created by landowners Birmingham City Council, Packington Estate and Coleshill Estate.