Schroders to fund key site at Brookgate’s Cambridge North regeneration

Schroder UK Real Estate Fund (SREF) has agreed the forward funding of One Cambridge Square, which will see the development of a new GBP45 million Grade A office building situated within the mixed-use 40-acre urban quarter of Cambridge North.

One Cambridge Square will form part of a wider regeneration of Cambridge North, located directly opposite the station on the newly created Cambridge Square and adjacent to a 217-room Novotel hotel which is under construction and scheduled for completion in Q4 2020. Cambridge North will be a gateway to the existing business clusters of Cambridge Business Park, Cambridge Science Park and St John’s Innovation Park, and in the first phase will deliver over 700 new homes, including affordable homes and those for key workers, and 12,000 sq m of office space. Further housing, commercial space, a public square, parks and community facilities are also planned to be developed in phases over the next ten years.

SREF will be delivering One Cambridge Square with development partner Brookgate, a Cambridge regeneration and place-making specialist and Network Rail, who own the land on which Cambridge North is being developed. The 99,743 sq ft speculative office development, which has been designed by Perkins and Will, to be certified BREEAM Excellent, will comprise seven levels with 53 basement parking spaces (initially incorporating a minimum of 27 electric charging points), 364 bicycle spaces, shower and changing facilities, as well as retail outlets on the ground floor. Construction is due to start before the end of the year, with practical completion anticipated in late 2022. 
As a Better Buildings Partnership agreement signatory, SREF will introduce a number of sustainability initiatives to be adopted on site. These include waste targets, with up to 80 per cent of waste generated during demolition and construction being reused or recycled away from landfill, as well as targeting a 20 per cent reduction in carbon emissions from the regulated baseline. The building design incorporates state-of-the-art LED lighting while roof solar panels will generate 30,000 KWH energy. It will also feature a 550 sq m of biodiverse brown roof to encourage habitat creation for plants and animals.
Cambridge’s position at the forefront of innovation and education is aligned with SREF’s approach to invest in high-growth ‘winning cities’, which we believe are best-positioned to benefit from long-term structural trends such as urbanisation, technology and demographic change. One Cambridge Square will be well-placed to respond to increasing demand from technology and life-science companies, as well as SMEs and start-ups, for high-quality, energy-efficient commercial space in Cambridge, with access to its world-leading graduates. 
Jessica Berney, Fund Manager of Schroder UK Real Estate Fund, says: “The purchase marks SREF’s first investment into the city and is a rare opportunity to acquire a freehold interest. We are delighted to be funding the first office building for one of the most exciting regenerations in the UK. Cambridge’s position at the forefront of innovation and education is aligned with SREF’s approach to invest in high growth ‘winning cities’ that are benefitting from technological and structural change. We look forward to working with Brookgate to deliver a space from which innovation and growing businesses can thrive.”
Sven Topel, CEO of Brookgate, says: “Schroders’ decision to fund One Cambridge Square is fantastic news and means we can progress with our proposals for an exemplar commercial building at the heart of Cambridge North. Their commitment to sustainability chimes with Brookgate’s approach and will ensure that we can deliver a contemporary office with outstanding environmental credentials. The deal also represents another step forward for the wider regeneration of Cambridge North, where we are transforming a derelict area into a thriving and inclusive new neighbourhood, providing the community with high quality homes and workspace.”
Stuart Kirkwood, Acting Group Property Director at Network Rail Property, says: “The development of high-quality office space at One Cambridge Square will accelerate further regeneration in the urban quarter of Cambridge North, helping it to become a thriving and highly attractive place to live and work, while having excellent transport links and strong environmental credentials. We’re proud to be working with SREF and Brookgate on this exciting project, which will drive productivity and support the creation of jobs, housing and economic growth in this fast-growing city.”   
SREF was advised by BH2, MHBC and Stephenson Harwood; Brookgate were advised by Bidwells and Herbert Smith Freehills.