Work kicks off on new Edinburgh lab that could house 150 workers

Work has begun on a new lab facility near Edinburgh capable of housing up to 150 skilled staff.

Developer Pioneer Group said the purpose-built lab space, extending to 20,000 square feet, would be located at the company’s Edinburgh Technopole campus, close to Penicuik.

Branded Moubray, the new building will see Pioneer Group’s footprint in Scotland grow to more than 238,000 sq ft once complete. Planning permission also exists for the company to deliver a further 20,000 sq ft of space on site.

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Bosses said the new development would cater to all segments of the market - from start-ups to blue-chip companies - by incorporating “flexible layouts” and fully-fitted Grade A space. The site is situated just a few minutes walk from the University of Edinburgh’s Easter Bush Campus, while the Edinburgh Technopole science park is already home to the likes of AMD, BioBest, Roslin CT, Cambrex and Almac.

Edinburgh Technopole is a 126-acre life sciences campus comprising ten buildings that provide 108,000 sq ft of lab and office space. The site forms part of the Midlothian Science Zone, a world-leading centre of animal health and life sciences research.

A recent report from Pioneer Group and property consultancy JLL revealed that Scottish life science start-ups raised a record £253 million over the last five years.

John Mackenzie, director (Scotland) at Pioneer Group, said: “Providing suitable accommodation for scale-ups is crucial. Modern biotechs have high standards for lab space and amenity, but crucially they demand proximity to leading institutions for collaboration and to support hiring the best and brightest talent. Our new Moubray building will be plugged into a world-leading ecosystem within Midlothian Science Zone.

“To truly capture the full potential of Scotland’s life sciences sector though, it is up to developers and operators, such as ourselves, to deliver the physical real estate that will help the unicorns of tomorrow scale today, and which is why we’re continuing to expand our footprint across the country.”

A CGI of the new lab building being constructed at the Edinburgh Technopole campus in Midlothian.

Pioneer Group manages more than 3.6 million sq ft of science parks and individual assets across 11 locations

Ogilvie Construction has commenced groundworks with completion of the new building expected in August 2023.

Meanwhile, a solid third quarter for take-up has helped the Edinburgh office market defy the economic gloom, according to new analysis.

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Property adviser Knight Frank found that 121,236 sq ft of office space was transacted in the city centre between July and September, a strong bounce back from the previous quarter’s 50,834 sq ft and in line with the 121,403 sq ft registered during the same period last year.

Office take-up has historically tended to be lower during the summer months due to holidays, but there is a significant amount of pent-up demand for quality office space coming onto the market resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic period, Knight Frank noted.

While there was a mix of active sectors during the quarter, professional services and technology, media and telecommunications (TMT) continued to drive demand, representing 43 per cent and 12 per cent of take-up respectively.

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