Wates appointed as main contractor to convert Victoria House to life sciences hub

Global real estate investor and developer, Oxford Properties Group, and Pioneer Group have appointed Wates as the main build contractor for converting Victoria House in Bloomsbury Square, central London, into a life sciences hub due to complete in Autumn 2024.

The group plans to convert 220,000 sq ft of the building’s 300,000 sq ft internal area into Grade A wet lab-enabled life sciences space.

The property’s floor-to-ceiling height, internal infrastructure and scale of the floor plates mean it is well suited for life sciences conversion.

It has been designed to house an ecosystem of occupiers ranging from start-ups in designated incubator spaces, to larger pharmaceutical companies as well as firms supporting the life sciences industry.

The property will feature 80,000 sq ft of office, amenity, meeting and retail spaces to provide an exceptional employee experience for end users, highlighted by heritage meeting rooms, an eighth-floor club lounge and a roof terrace overlooking central London.

The development will have customer wellbeing and sustainability at its core, with the project on track to achieve BREEAM ‘Excellent’ certification.

Wates, in partnership with SES Engineering Services, will work to reduce the operational and embodied carbon footprint of the building through renewable technology and implementing modern methods of construction, such as utilising offsite prefabricated modules for mechanical and electrical (M&E) services.

The existing M&E infrastructure will be upgraded, including installing energy-efficient LED lighting and heat recovery throughout the air conditioning system.

The finished building will also be primarily heated by air source heat pumps.

Its location gives Victoria House a true competitive advantage versus London’s existing life sciences space and immediate development pipeline, which is predominantly in edge-of-town and fringe locations.

Robin Everall, head of development for Europe at Oxford Properties Group, commented: “Wates is a leading construction company with a highly skilled team, which makes them ideally suited to undertake the refurbishment of the iconic Victoria House into a state of the art lab space.

“The group’s strong  ESG credentials and experience in sustainable construction methods will help us create a one of a kind, cutting-edge life sciences development in the heart of London.” 

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