Discovery Park sets vision to continue global success for iconic site

Published: 21-Jun-2017

Major investment will add 50,000 square feet of new laboratory space

Discovery Park Ltd has begun a significant programme of investment to ensure the science park’s continued success as a global centre for pharmaceutical R&D, technology and business.

Since taking over Discovery Park in November 2016, the new owners have conducted a full operational and strategic review. While honouring the master plan, agreed by Dover District Council in October 2014, the company has started to put their own stamp on the future development of the site.

Toby Hunter, Chief Executive for Discovery Park Ltd, said: “As new owners, we felt it was essential to take time to reflect on what has been achieved at this wonderful site and how best to ensure its future success given all the challenges and opportunities ahead."

“Our desire is to ensure that the worldwide reputation Sandwich has enjoyed for decades — from the 50 plus years under Pfizer to the 5 years as a flagship multibusiness campus for science and enterprise — continues long into the future."

“We have plans to invest in our science offer and enhance facilities across the park, starting with Discovery Park House, where work has begun creating new high-spec lab and write up provisions for existing tenants to expand into. We are also adding capacity for new pharmaceutical businesses.”

These improvements include an initial £5 million investment in improving science facilities, with 50,000ft2 of new laboratory space being created and plans in place for a 60,000ft2 expansion of office space.

Future investment includes a major revamp of the site’s catering and conferencing offer, with plans to rebrand and refocus the on-site cafes and restaurants, providing an improved environment and ambience for on-site networking and collaboration.

With a new focus on collaborative and educational space, plans are drafted for a new auditorium providing tenants and education providers such as the School of Life Sciences at Canterbury Christ Church University with bespoke presentational space for up to 250 people.

Discovery Park prides itself as an international science park attracting companies from around the world, including the regional headquarters of Sydney based Genea Biomedx and US-based generic pharmaceuticals firm Mylan. Concept Life Sciences and, of course, Pfizer also retain a significant presence on site.

The site has built a reputation for a wider range of smaller R&D companies using world-class laboratory facilities for further pioneering research, including a growing cluster of expertise in the field of immunotherapy as well as diagnostics and the search for new strains of antibiotics — to rival anything offered in other UK science clusters.

Discovery Park remains a centre of excellence for science, continuing and building upon the collaborative and outward looking spirit that makes this site an attractive location, not only for R&D, but also accountants, lawyers, recruiters and marketing agencies that support them.

Innovation House, Discovery Park’s lively business centre is home to a growing number of general businesses as well as providing regional headquarters for the likes of Kreston Reeves, Hornby and luxury holiday company Top Villas.

The site’s investment team has begun the process of clearing and configuring the upper floor, ready for the next stage of development. The addition of more office and events space will further increase the number of general businesses that can locate there.

Mr Hunter, added: “With 150+ companies, employing some 3000 staff, Discovery Park is in great shape. Our plan, using our expertise as a commercial property management company, is to take the site to the next level – maximising its potential as one of the UK’s leading science business parks."

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