Amenity space including a café, a flexible conferencing area and a gym are on the cards for tenants at Oxford Technology Park (OTP).

Ian Harris, director of asset management for OTP owner Life Science REIT, told guests at the UKPF Oxford Social on November 16, held in Building IQ6 at the park, that permission for a café on the ground floor of that building was recently granted and that the first floor is to be turned into a flexible conference/function/co-working/breakout space for occupiers.

He said: “To keep OTP the success it has been to date as it fills up with tenants, we have got to promote and encourage a community feel.

“We want these guys to interact with one another, share ideas and bounce things off one another.

“We don’t want 12 discreet buildings where people come to work, do their job in a fantastic building and then go home again at night. That’s missing the point, we need to create a community here.”

The café is expected to begin operating around Q2 or Q3 2024.

The first floor will then become a flexible conference/function/co-working/breakout space which will be available for tenants to book.

Mr Harris explained the demand for meeting space from tenants. He said: “They don’t want to take up a big chunk of their space for a boardroom/conference room that they use once or twice a year.”

And he said a plot near Building 9 is available for a gym of the David Lloyd type. However, operators will only consider it once the park fills up. Meanwhile a health and fitness operator is to provide yoga, pilates and a running club.

An app will give occupiers and their staff access to the park’s services.

Delegates heard from current and future occupiers. Jackie Chan from Oxford Gene Technology said the company is to move from Begbroke Science Park next month, partly because the firm’s Japanese owner Sysmex wanted it to have higher quality space.

Michael Neale from The Native Antigen Company explained how the Covid pandemic had caused the firm to increase its output by 10 times and a move to OTP increased its floorspace from 10,000 sq ft at Langford Locks to 48,000 sq ft which includes ample space to expand into.

Both said the option to move into new space allowed them to fit out to their requirements.

Duncan May from Bidwells explained the change in occupier requirements from five years earlier including a focus on the amount of electricity needed from the grid.

“One of the big struggles is, once you find out what they need, is how much power they need.”

He said when occupiers try to calculate their own power requirements from their own departments, the true requirement can be as little as half that amount.

He added: “It’s a complicated process. It’s been a very steep learning curve for me and the Oxfordshire market because we’ve gone from being predominantly office and industrial style market to being this science and technology market.”

Image (l-r) shows Duncan May, UKPF managing director Matthew Battle, Ian Harris, Michael Neale and Jackie Chan.

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