KJ Tait

Elevate Quarter Planning Approval – One of Europe’s Largest Life Sciences Campuses to be created in Stevenage

29 August 2023

Project Overview: 


Elevate Quarter, an innovative life sciences campus in Stevenage adjacent to the GSK research site, has been granted planning approval by Stevenage Borough Council.   UBS Asset Management and Reef Group are working together to deliver the development alongside GSK's existing Global R&D facility and the ecosystem at Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst.  The £900m project's goal is to forge a sustainable, interconnected hub for life science innovation at one of Europe’s largest centres for life sciences. The expansive campus will encompass state-of-the-art research and development facilities, fostering collaboration between life science companies from early-stage through to commercialisation.  


In our role as MEP designers and sustainability champions, we are supporting the creation of a campus that exemplifies sustainability excellence.  Each building within the campus aims to achieve Net Zero Carbon status, underpinned by fully decarbonised heating systems.  


To ensure a best-in-class sustainable scheme, we have identified seven key themes to success: 


  • Net Zero Carbon: Commitment to reducing carbon emissions once the buildings are in use 
  • Health and Wellbeing: Prioritising occupants' physical and mental wellness 
  • Social Value: Engaging with the local community to foster positive impact 
  • Biodiversity: Preserving and enhancing the natural ecosystem 
  • Low Carbon Mobility: Facilitating sustainable transportation solutions
  • Climate Resilience: Adapting to climate challenges with robust strategies 
  • Circular Economy: Promoting resource efficiency and waste reduction


Each building aims to achieve BREEAM Outstanding, EPC 'A', and WELL Gold ratings. 


Due to its exceptional location, robust connectivity, and proximity to affordable housing, the campus is uniquely placed to attract leading occupiers. The project's central focus on cultivating a collaborative ecosystem is anticipated to be a driving force in advancing the life sciences sector.


Features and Benefits: 


Innovation-Focused: Elevate Quarter is designed to encourage innovation, making science more accessible and open. 


Community Enhancement: The campus will offer a dynamic environment with restaurants, cafes, leisure facilities, and green spaces. 


Green Transport: Three Green Transport Hubs will provide parking for cars, bikes, and potential scooter/e-bike hire. 


Job Creation: The project is expected to create up to 5,000 jobs, catering to a range of skill sets within the life sciences sector. 


Sustainability: The design prioritises sustainability, including energy efficiency and flexible, adaptable buildings.


Collaboration: The campus will facilitate collaboration among companies, from early-stage startups to established firms, promoting growth and shared expertise. 


Project Details: 


Location: Stevenage, UK 


Investment: Up to £900 million 


Size: Approximately 1.6 million sq ft of space including R&D labs and offices, GMP manufacturing facilities and flexible lab buildings, as well as training, innovation, and collaboration spaces 


Timeline: Construction to commence in late 2023, with phase one anticipated to complete in Q4 2025 


Key Partnerships: 


GSK: The project is located next to GSK's global R&D facility, creating a strong partnership for life science advancement. 


Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst located on the same site allows for collaboration to promote Stevenage as a hub for life sciences.  


Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult: Elevate Quarter will incorporate the UK's Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult, further boosting its prominence in the industry. 


Project Team:


Client: Reef Group/UBS Asset Management 


Architect: Hawkins Brown 


Building Services Engineer and Sustainability Consultant: KJ Tait 


Cost Consultant & Project Manager: Gardiner & Theobald 


Structural and Civil Engineer: Curtins 


Landscape Architect: Exterior Architecture