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Sci-Tech Daresbury reaches latest milestone with appointment of Willmott Dixon to £15m Project Violet development

Sci-Tech Daresbury has announced the next phase of its growth following the appointment of Willmott Dixon as the lead contractor for its Project Violet development, which will comprise 42,000 sq ft of speculative-grade A office, and innovation space, coupled with the highest energy efficiency standards, for dynamic, forward-thinking science and technology-focused businesses.

The project will encompass two buildings (V1 and V2) providing 12,000 sq ft each and one building (V3) of 18,000 sq ft. Each building will provide floor plates of around 3,500 to 6,000 sq ft and as part of the work, there will be major landscaping improvements around the Sci-Tech Daresbury campus.

The development will cost £15m and is funded using the Enterprise Zone retained business rates and investment from the Sci-Tech Daresbury joint-venture. Cornerstone funding is provided by the Chrysalis Fund and the LCR Urban Development Fund, which funds development, regeneration and sustainability projects in the Liverpool City Region, supported by the European Regional Development Fund through the 2014-2020 England Operational Programme.

Designed by Seven Architecture, the new complex is situated at the gateway of the campus next to Keckwick Lane and Innovation Way.

Over recent years the Sci-Tech Daresbury campus has substantially upgraded and expanded facilities in order to allow tenants to achieve their ambitions. The progressing of the Project Violet development underlines the Sci-Tech Daresbury joint venture’s commitment to the future prosperity of the Liverpool City Region and wider North West through meeting the market demand for high-quality workspace for high growth science, technology and innovation-led businesses that are attracted to the area’s unrivalled ecosystem of private and public sector business support, academia and transport connectivity.

John Downes, Chief Executive Officer of Langtree and Chairman of Sci-Tech Daresbury, said:

“This appointment marks a key milestone in the development of Sci-Tech Daresbury, and reflects our confidence in both the future of innovative businesses in our region the ongoing need for high-quality office space. Project Violet will allow us to further deliver our “Home for Life” concept for a new generation of high growth firms at Sci-Tech Daresbury. Tenants join us in different stages of maturity, but the range of facilities and business support services on offer means we’re able to guide them through each step of their journey, from hot desk or hot lab to eventually having their own building on site. We’re now home to over 140 companies, including international firms such as IBM Research, and well-known UK businesses looking to establish a strategic Northern base.

“The importance of such businesses will become only more crucial in the fightback from Covid-19, both in developing the products and solutions that will improve the world around us and through the economic boost their activity can bring to our region. It’s been deeply encouraging to see several businesses increase their growth during this period as they deploy their expertise to accelerate products that will help support various needs brought about as a result of the pandemic. Project Violet will be the perfect location for such businesses to flourish, and we’re hugely excited about work starting on site shortly.”

Anthony Dillon, Managing Director for Willmott Dixon in the North, said:

“We’re very proud to play our part in delivering such an important and exciting project, which will support and enable growing businesses to thrive right here in the North West, creating vital employment opportunities for the local community.

“Just last week the Prime Minister committed to putting jobs, skills and infrastructure at the centre of the government’s economic growth strategy, and Project Violet is a perfect example of a development that will give our local growing businesses the very best support they need to thrive, as we bounce back as a nation.

“Alongside Sci-Tech Daresbury, we believe in leaving a lasting community legacy far beyond bricks and mortar, that all can be proud of. Supporting our communities at this time of uncertainty is more important than ever, this is why we are dedicated to; working with local supply chain partners wherever possible, creating employment opportunities for local young people, former members of our armed forces and ex-offenders as well as empowering local causes and organisations the directly impact the lives of those in need.”

Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said:

“World-class science and innovation are at the heart of our city region’s economy and will only become more important as we build back better from the COVID-19 pandemic. Sci-Tech Daresbury is a hugely important part of the city region’s scientific and technological infrastructure which is why, as a Combined Authority, we are investing in its development, which this announcement brings a step closer.”

Professor Susan Smith, Head of STFC’s Daresbury Laboratory said:

“Science and technology continue to drive growth in the North of England, creating jobs and encouraging essential collaboration and investment. Sci-Tech Daresbury, through this next exciting phase in its development, will continue to champion technology and open innovation across the North West, attracting new businesses and enabling them to grow, bringing valuable economic benefits to the North West and beyond.”

Halton Borough Council Leader, Cllr Rob Polhill, says:

“This is good news that is much-needed at this time. It is another big step in the continuous development of Sci-Tech Daresbury, providing new accommodation to meet the growing demand from businesses to locate at this award-winning site, and we look forward to the work starting.”