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06 August 2014

Laing O'Rourke appointed for 48,000 sq m Research and Translation Hub

Laing O’Rourke Group will transform the site in White City, London, for new client Voreda Developments Limited

The scheme forms part of Imperial College London’s wider innovation district, Imperial West

Offsite manufacturing and modular construction central to Laing O’Rourke’s solution

Laing O’Rourke has secured the £100m construction contract for Voreda and Imperial College London’s Imperial West Research and Translation Hub project in White City, London with a solution drawing heavily on its Design for Manufacture & Assembly capability and integrated in-house Group expertise.

Voreda – the London-based real estate development and investment company – is partnering with Imperial College London to deliver the major research and translation centre – adding further critical infrastructure to support London as a location for world class research and commerce. 

The Research and Translation Hub project, valued at a total of £200 million, will form the centrepiece of the new Imperial West innovation district in White City, West London.  The 48,000 sq m Hub will deliver world-class education, research and translation activities, and foster partnerships with global stakeholders from business, industry, higher education and the NHS.

Voreda has secured a £73.0 million development and investment facility from Santander Corporate Banking for the 23,000 sq m translation centre.  Imperial College London was awarded £35 million by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) towards the development of the adjacent 25,000 sqm research centre in November 2012.

Starting in September 2014, Laing O’Rourke and its specialist Group businesses Crown House Technologies, Explore Manufacturing, Expanded, Select Plant and Laing O’Rourke Facades will deliver the two buildings, which form the Research and Translation Hub. It will be completed in summer 2016.

Incorporating 50 new scalable units for university and industry spinouts and new ventures, the translation centre will serve the needs of London's growing enterprise community.  It will be run by Imperial College ThinkSpace – a dedicated team that works with entrepreneurs and companies large and small to provide innovative, high quality workspaces and relocation support.  The Hub will have an emphasis on linking research and commerce to benefit society and the global economy. Businesses and other world-class universities will have the opportunity to drive innovation through co-location and collaboration.  The Hub will also provide high specification, multidisciplinary research space for 1,000 next generation scientists and engineers.

Laing O’Rourke’s in-house digital engineering expertise, ability to manufacture components offsite and modularise MEP solutions was central to its offer, in order to minimise disruption to the busy surrounding area, and demonstrate quality certainty and programme savings.

Laing O’Rourke Leader for Construction UK Steve Coleby said:

"We are delighted to be working with Voreda and at Imperial College London on a development of such significance for research and business in the UK. Laing O’Rourke’s innovative approach to manufacturing and construction techniques along with our direct delivery capability serves as a fantastic complement to the schemes overall vision for being a world-class innovation hub. Collaboration, professionalism and attention to detail have been at the heart of the tender process and we now look forward to taking this approach through to the delivery phase."

Steve Dykes, one of the co-founders of Voreda, said:

“Having worked in partnership with Imperial College London since 2009 to successfully deliver GradPad Wood Lane Studios at Imperial West, we are thrilled to have secured the next phase of the project. Imperial’s vision is exemplary and we are honoured to be working with one of the world’s leading research institutions. We are committed to delivering their vision and to make Imperial West the destination for innovation and entrepreneurship in London”.

Professor David Gann CBE, Vice-President (Development & Innovation) at Imperial College London, said:

“Imperial West’s Research and Translation Hub provides the physical environment to enable world-class research and knowledge transfer at scale – driving innovation and growth. Working with our partners at Voreda, Laing O’Rourke and Santander, we are delivering the next phase in the development of Imperial West: London’s new innovation district. With the capacity to generate and sustain 1,000’s of jobs, this project represents an important investment in the future of Imperial in White City and the capital as a whole.

“Imperial West already hosts scores of innovative spin-outs and start-ups, and is highly connected to London’s TechCity and MedCity ecosystems. The Research and Translation Hub allows us to take this to the next level. Other major new facilities will follow on as our vision for Imperial West comes to fruition."

Suzy Verma, Head of Education, Santander Corporate & Commercial Banking, said:

“We are extremely delighted to be working once again with both Imperial and Voreda to help deliver this iconic building, which will aid the delivery of world class research and innovation. Santander is committed to helping UK companies grow and prosper and the continued investment in White City will create jobs, attract inward investment as well as aid economic recovery."

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