Willmott Dixon to build £60m science R&D facility in Manchester

Plans for the Greenheys development at Manchester Science Park - image: Willmott Dixon

Willmott Dixon has been appointed as main contractor on the £60m Greenheys development at Manchester Science Park for Bruntwood SciTech.

It will now start construction of the project which will enhance Manchester’s Oxford Road Corridor knowledge quarter as a hub for life sciences and technology innovation. 

It is a joint venture between Bruntwood, Legal & General and Greater Manchester Pension Fund (GMPF). 

Scheduled for completion in summer 2026, Greenheys will span 131,000 sq ft across six floors comprising specialised laboratory spaces for diagnostics, genomics, biotech and precision medicine businesses. 

UK Biobank will occupy three floors at Greenheys for its headquarters. 

Its new laboratory space will include the latest-generation robotic freezer capable of storing and retrieving up to 20 million biological samples four times faster than current standards

Supported by the University of Manchester, the new building importantly puts UK Biobank near leading institutions operating across research, academia, business and the NHS. 

Greenheys will also offer a range of specialist CL2 labs with supporting office space starting from 2,500 sq ft and up to 22,000 sq ft floors. 

An array of advanced technical features will be on offer, including increased vibration resistance, piped gas distribution systems, enhanced cooling and ventilation systems, high-security access and 100GB superfast connectivity. 

Built to BREEAM Excellent, Willmott Dixon says Greenheys is set to become the first lab space in the UK to be 100% electric and net zero carbon in construction and operation in its shared spaces. 

Sam Darby, development director at Bruntwood SciTech, said: “We are delighted to have Willmott Dixon on board for the Greenheys development. 

“Their expertise aligns strongly with our vision for creating a facility that will serve as a catalyst for innovation in the life sciences sector and become one of the most advanced and specialist life science spaces in the UK.

“With Willmott Dixon’s commitment to quality and sustainability, we are confident that together we will deliver a world-class facility that meets the needs of the scientific community and contributes positively to the Manchester region.”

Willmott Dixon’s managing director in the north, Anthony Dillon, added : “In partnership with Bruntwood SciTech and UK Biobank, we will create a cutting-edge and sustainable hub for science innovation which will be a catalyst for changing lives and creating opportunities for local people. 

“We share Bruntwood SciTech’s passion for nurturing local community talent and powering the regional economy, so we are committed to investing £16.8m into local skills and businesses. 

"Within that, we will create 380 weeks of apprenticeships, four T Level placements, engage hundreds of local students and deliver our Building Lives Academy skills programmes, designed to upskill and inspire Mancunians leaving care and those not in education, employment or training.”

The project is Bruntwood SciTech’s latest commitment to Manchester since it announced a further £500mof funding in October 2023 to support the growth of the science, technology and innovation sectors, and welcomed GMPF to the joint venture. 

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