Laing O’Rourke signs Oxford North’s Red Hall and first laboratory buildings


Laing O’Rourke has secured the contract to deliver phase 1a of Oxford North’s £700 million new innovation district, comprising the Red Hall, and the first two laboratory buildings.

Oxford North will deliver one million sq ft (92,903 sq m) of laboratory and workspaces, 480 new homes, hotel, nursery, cafes, bars, three public parks and infrastructure.

Outline planning permission for Oxford North’s masterplan and detailed planning permission for phase 1a was granted in March 2021. Infrastructure enabling works started in August 2021 and have been completed. Subsequent Reserved Matters Applications (RMAs) to enhance and expand the Red Hall and central landscape were approved in March and October 2023 respectively.

Phase 1a will comprise the Red Hall which will deliver 43,500 sq ft (4,041 sq m) of co-working spaces, meeting and workspaces for science and innovation starts-ups and SMEs along with cafe-bar, retail units and community space, and Building 1 and 2 laboratory buildings which will total 115,000 sq ft (10,683 sq m). A market square and central landscape will form the new district’s community and cultural centre. Phase 1a is to target practical completion in Q2 2025.

In addition, three new laboratory buildings, which total 458,000 sq ft (42,549 sq m), were given the green light by Oxford City Council in October 2023 and will be delivered in phase 2.

Following these planning approvals, Oxford North Ventures, the joint venture company of Thomas White Oxford, the development company of St John’s College, Cadillac Fairview and Stanhope, has entered into a contract with Laing O’Rourke as its construction partner to deliver phase 1a.

With social value integrated into the project via Oxford North’s Construction Employment Plan, Laing O’Rourke has made commitments to ensure local employment and training opportunities are built into procurement contracts, that they support 13 new apprentices, and provide education outreach and volunteering.

Laing O’Rourke will also bring to the project its expertise in modern methods of construction. By using an off-site approach, they will manufacture and quality check critical components of the project in its East Midlands factory before transporting them for assembly on-site.

Laing O’Rourke’s manufacturing-led approach to construction reduces programme and delivers improvements to quality, sustainability and worker safety. All components will be produced using low carbon concrete which will support Oxford North’s drive to deliver a more sustainable built environment.

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We have been busy with the detailed designs for Oxford North which now have approval. We welcome Laing O’Rourke’s appointment as our phase 1A delivery partner as they bring to the project considerable off-site manufacturing experience, sustainable construction and engineering capability.

Together we are delivering a place for workers, residents and visitors which invites discovery, supports community and enhances well-being. We continue to create construction jobs, and our combined investment will provide economic benefits as well as vital new science and innovation space for Oxford.

David Camp Chief Executive Officer, Stanhope

Martin Staehr, director of building, Laing O’Rourke, said: “We are proud to be part of this prestigious project to create a world-class science and research district. We will combine our experience of modern methods of construction and knowledge of this specialist sector to create carbon-efficient laboratories and workspace along with amenities.

“We will also provide employment and create training opportunities for people living in and around Oxford. We look forward to working for Oxford North Ventures and with our partners to deliver this exceptional new community in the city of Oxford.”