Harrison St snaps up largest private life sciences portfolio in the UK

Chicago-based alternative real estate investor Harrison Street has entered the UK biotech sector with the acquisition of a portfolio of five life sciences and innovation properties across the country for a price of around £250 mln (€300 mln).

Harrison Street is teaming up with investment partner Trinity Investment Management to buy the assets from hedge fund Angelo Gordon while also forming a strategic joint venture partnership to invest in the life sciences sector throughout the UK and Europe.
 
The portfolio consists of a combined total of approximately 1.6 million sq ft of lab and office space located across the UK with assets in Kent, Colworth, Manchester, Newcastle and Edinburgh. Financial details were kept confidential.

Four of the five properties in the portfolio are multi-building campuses and each property offers attractive amenities, including cafes, nurseries, gyms, communal workspaces and presentation spaces. Anchor tenants across the portfolio include GW Pharma and Unilever. The portfolio allows for embedded upside through refurbishment and lease-up strategies, as well as the expansion of some of the campuses.
 
The package - the largest private life sciences portfolio in the UK - enables Harrison Street to enter the sector with an income-producing portfolio at scale and to establish a major presence in the life sciences real estate market, the company said in a statement.
 
Additionally, Harrison Street and Trinity announced the launch of Knowledge Factory, a network of science parks tailored to the UK innovation sector that offer facilities ranging from small flexible laboratories to pharmaceutical grade manufacturing, among many other amenities.
 
Rob Mathias, senior managing director and head of International Business for Harrison Street said; 'Despite being the second most advanced life sciences and innovation market in the world, the real estate market in the UK is vastly undeveloped. However, the sector exhibits strong fundamentals such as a highly educated talent pool, rapid growth and substantial public and private investment. Harrison Street has significant experience investing in and developing life science assets and we look forward to entering the UK life sciences market at scale and bringing the expertise we have developed in the US to bear.'

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