Campus Diaries: Looking to the future of bioscience property


In our latest instalment of Campus Diaries, our Innovation Campus Manager, Liz Cashon reflects on the year just past, the prospects for York Biotech Campus and trends in the property industry which we can expect to see in the year ahead.

 A year in review

Our success in 2023 has seen real benefits to our community at York Biotech Campus, but also the wider regional bioscience sector. A key factor has been our flexible approach to adapting workplaces to suit occupiers needs, which has attracted new occupiers and allowed our existing to evolve as their businesses do.

We secured two significant new lettings in 2023, totalling nearly 13,000 sq ft when Cargill Bioindustrial and University of York joined our campus. Both organisations were attracted to us partially due to our capabilities in modifying space for bespoke laboratories.

Our expertise in developing specialist lab spaces has also been beneficial to long-standing occupiers who we’ve supported as their organisations grow. For example, Abingdon Health in which we supported by converting their warehouse space so they could deliver new products to market. Last year they announced a new partnership with Morrama, developing plastic-free lateral flow housings.

Opportunities in the year ahead

With the high demand for lab space in recent years, we’re always looking at how we can adapt our space onsite. This includes conducting our own studies on how we can transform our existing office space into labs using innovative techniques. This year, we also have a significant development in the works. It’s expected to launch at the end of 2024 and provide more specialist facilities and national research infrastructure.

Sustainability is also high on the agenda, as we’re looking into how we can utilise renewable energy to become a more environmentally friendly campus. We’re currently implementing projects and considering options available to us that will future-proof our buildings and bring us further along in our own journey to Net Zero.

Prospects in Property

Flexibility will continue to be important for property managers as hybrid working is clearly here to stay. As our approach to working evolves the property sector needs to grow alongside it, offering flexible workspaces to retain and attract occupiers.

There’s also a rising demand for managed workspaces that provide easy in and out options for occupiers that want the benefits of a convenient location with great facilities as well as access to a vibrant community to network with, without having to commit to a long-term lease.

As we see traditional leases expire, we appreciate that many organisations will be looking to reduce office space per sq ft. It’s for us as landlords to work collaboratively with these businesses to deliver bespoke spaces that adapt to their future needs.

An increase in requests for flexible laboratories will also grow alongside the demand for lab space. Science is a fast-paced sector, and we’re getting enquiries for lab space that can adapt as quickly as their own innovation and science does. This means creating labs that have solutions such as movable walls, and services that move with them, rather than traditional brick compartments.

We’re looking forward to continuing supporting our existing occupiers, whilst looking at ways we can enhance the campus for new organisations, to benefit both the regional economy and the wider bioscience sector over the year to come.

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