Brookfield Asset Management has acquired a 50 per cent stake in the Harwell Campus.

Through its Strategic Real Estate Partners III fund, Brookfield has acquired the stake formerly owned by U+I Group and Harwell Oxford Partners Ltd.

The deal is the Toronto-based asset management company’s first step into the UK’s knowledge economy, and is expected to accelerate the expansion of Harwell’s massive real estate portfolio which includes flexible hybrid offices, laboratories and advanced manufacturing facilities.

Space at Harwell has been in consistently high demand and lease negotiations are already under way for the latest 400,000 sq ft of development, due to be delivered by the end of 2021. A total of 1.5 million sq ft is due to be developed by the mid-2020s.

Angus Horner, partner and director, Harwell Science and Innovation Campus and co-founder of Harwell Oxford Partners, said: “Having Brookfield within the JV will accelerate the expansion and development of the campus. Our ambitions are to make Harwell Campus a world-leading site for science and technology – boosting the UK’s knowledge economy and ultimately growing UK plc.”

“As a triple helix location, Harwell will always be a place of vital importance to the UK.  We have a unique platform to help accelerate research and innovation not just around the UK but throughout the globe.

“As an example, right now on campus many organisations including the Diamond Light Source, Public Health England, Oxford Nanopore Technologies and the new Vaccines Manufacturing and Innovation Centre, are immersed in critical work on the COVID-19 virus.”

William Cooper, partner and co-founder of Harwell Oxford Partners Ltd, said: “Everything has changed – global and sovereign resilience is paramount; Harwell is at the epicentre of this trend. What was a unique national asset is now positioned to emerge as the world’s leading location for science and technology.”

“Brookfield has come on board with a shared understanding of the value in science real estate as an asset class and a mutual vision to stimulate the global science and tech sectors.”

Zachary Vaughan, head of Europe at Brookfield Asset Management’s Real Estate Group, said: “This acquisition marks an important addition to our portfolio and represents a positive first step into the science and innovation real estate space in Europe.

“We very much look forward to working with our joint venture partner, HM Government, to jointly accelerate the growth of Harwell Campus and to expand its presence as a globally important location for science research and breakthrough technologies.”

Eastdil Secured acted as financial advisor to U+I Plc and Harwell Oxford Partners Ltd on the transaction. Savills Capital Advisors advised Brookfield and Harwell Oxford Partners was  advised by Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner on legal issues.

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