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Cluster-busting, complementary Cambridge locations

11/03/2024

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Cluster-busting, complementary Cambridge locations

Ben Green, Director, who leads Eddisons' agency team in Cambridge sees developers and landlords looking beyond the city’s conventional boundaries in positioning commercial properties for R&D & laboratory use.

The laboratory shortage in Cambridge is widely acknowledged by agents and occupiers alike. The city’s capacity is stretching to its boundaries when it comes scope for development sites.

The latest, high profile proposals to hit the local headlines are plans submitted to redevelop & re-purpose leisure & retail settings at the Grafton Centre & the Beehive Centre for office, laboratory & R&D and alternative employment uses to those offered currently in those locations.

13 15 Covent Garden Cambridge premises exterior Eddisons Cambridge August 2023  1024x768
This boho studio office off Mill Road is one of many multi-purpose spaces in East Cambridge

While the Cambridge cluster will always carry a cachet and attract high calibre recruits, many property professionals are making the case for alternative or complementary locations where top quality commercial space is developed.

Cambridge city’s transport ills and lack of affordable housing are well documented. And many would argue that these factors make other locations outside the city an attractive and accessible offer to commercial occupiers looking to co-locate, or even complement, existing commercial sites they occupy in the city’s conventional business parks or the southern fringe commercial clusters.

One such South Cambridgeshire location is in the village of Harston where Harston Mill is an established business location. It is 5 miles from Cambridge and 2 miles from Junction 11 on the M11, the Cambridge South Junction from where there is direct and dedicated road access to the Addenbrooke’s & Royal Papworth hospitals and clinical research sites.

Harston Mill Cambridge Eddisons inc Barker Storey Matthews March 2021 1024x683
Harston Mill, Cambridge

Also on the southern fringe is Bourn – a village famed for the fertility research work conducted by the Bourn Clinic. Here you can be looking at very competitive rents and flexible lease terms on lab & office accommodation at £23.50 psf. Plus, ample parking – something highly prized by commuters.

Just 20 minutes’ drive from Cambridge is Newmarket which offers a solid, complementary location to the more conventional South Cambridge science campuses given the town’s dual carriage road links via both the A11 & A14.

We are currently marketing, on behalf of the developer, Vector – 685 sq m to 20,057 sq m of new build laboratory, medical, life science and office facilities for a psf rent that is 50 per cent less than a Cambridge equivalent.

The Cambridge effect does spin out to such complementary, satellite locations; Cambridge will always be a prime target for commercial occupiers.

But there’s a premium to pay and with a current squeeze on sites in the development pipeline, accessible, alternative locations are coming through as part of the area’s commercial property offer.

Ben Green is a director based in our Cambridge office, specialising in Commercial Agency. To speak further with Ben, email him at [email protected] or on 01223 448791.

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