Around 40 delegates attended the latest UKProp Social event at Milton Park to see the county’s largest co-working space.
The new 53,000 sq ft Bee House was unveiled to guests at the June 16 event, held jointly by UK Property Forums and MEPC’s Milton Park.
The 51 offices, 11 lettable stores and eight meeting rooms have been created at the former home of Research Machines, which occupied the building in Eastern Avenue in a pre-let agreed in 1999.
Now, with vacant possession, MEPC has revamped and repurposed the building, including converting the ground floor from a car park into communal space which has shower rooms, The Hive café and a large events room.
Commercial director for Milton Park Philip Campbell (pictured) told guests: “Because the ground floor as a structure was not lettable space, it enabled us to develop facilities like these which, frankly, if you did it from scratch, would be commercially unviable.”
Bee House is part of a major refresh of amenities at Milton Park and Mr Campbell highlighted the pipeline of further developments including 70,000 sq ft Nebula, currently under construction, 2/3 Park Square, earmarked for 80,000 sq ft of laboratory space, and a 40,000 sq ft life science incubator close to the Bee House.
Mr Campbell said the park’s success owed much to a change in direction in 1988.
He said: “A key decision to use Milton Park as a vehicle to support science companies was a massively big, bold, brave decision by management at the time because that was when the property world wanted 25-year leases from bulletproof covenants and those science companies could not do that.
“It was providing accommodation that nobody else wanted to and that key direction of travel has continued since then and it continues to get stronger.”
Head of flexible workspaces Nikki Gibson said a target of 20 per cent occupancy of Bee House, which opened at the end of May, was set for its first year but added occupancy is already in line to be 43 per cent by July.
Guest then took tours of the space.
Earlier UK Property Forums managing director Matthew Battle told delegates he had hoped to announce the shortlist for the OxPropFest Awards at the meeting but had been forced to give judges more time because record numbers of entries had been received.
A total of 50 entries are to be judged this week and the shortlist will be published in Thames Tap on June 27.
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