Investors sought to help Edinburgh BioQuarter realise £1bn vision

Edinburgh BioQuarter is seeking an investment partner as it looks to push ahead with ambitious plans for a £1 billion transformation to create a “world-leading” mixed-use neighbourhood including pioneering lab facilities.

How it is hoped that the expanded Edinburgh BioQuarter will look. Picture: contributed.

The 167-acre site lies three miles south of Edinburgh city centre and currently 8,000 people work and study within its boundary. Today, it comprises many life sciences businesses based at Nine, its Innovation Centre, Edinburgh Medical School, many of the University of Edinburgh’s research institutes and the 900-bed Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh.

The BioQuarter has announced in the Official Journal of the European Union its aim to launch a procurement process.

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New fly-through video shows what £800m expansion for Edinburgh BioQuarter would ...
Existing development at Edinburgh BioQuarter. Picture: contributed.

The vision is a £1bn plan to create Edinburgh’s Health Innovation District, a “new and vibrant” mixed-use neighbourhood, ultimately supporting a community of more than 20,000 people. It will include commercial labs and offices as well as residential housing, cafes, bars, restaurants, hotel, retail and leisure. BioQuarter is a partnership between the University of Edinburgh, NHS Lothian, City of Edinburgh Council and Scottish Enterprise.

The BioQuarter has issued an announcement known as a prior information notice flagging its partners’ search for an interested party to invest in and accelerate plans for the 61 acres of developable land. So far, more than £500 million has been invested at BioQuarter, with a further £330m of capital investment planned for the next five years for buildings, infrastructure, and specialist equipment.

Edinburgh BioQuarter interim programme director Anna Stamp said: “The commercial life sciences, data-driven health innovation and biomedical sectors are crucial to the global economy. BioQuarter is one of very few locations in Europe which offers the combination of globally ranked academic and clinical research at scale with the space to accommodate a large cluster of commercial companies and associated services, as well as residential housing to create a vibrant community.

“We are currently consulting with the community on revising our masterplan and placemaking strategy as we develop our requirements for a new partner to be part of this opportunity.”

She said that due to the current Covid-19 restrictions, information will be collated via an online questionnaire and a virtual bidders’ day will be hosted in September. Hans Moller had held the role of BioQuarter director, but he stepped down in 2018.

Ivan McKee, Scotland’s minister for trade, investment and innovation, said: “The planned expansion of the BioQuarter into a vibrant community centred around the sector is undoubtedly one of the most exciting investment and collaborative opportunities available. It will have far-reaching benefits for investors, local communities and global health innovators alike.”

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