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Industry News

Newcastle Science Central secures multi-million pound deal with L&G

Legal & General Capital plans to support the £350m Newcastle Science Central. The unique deal will see financial services giant Legal & General becoming a long term investment partner on Science Central alongside Newcastle City Council and Newcastle University. Legal & General Capital’s initial £65m investment will fund completion of two buildings on premium plots 1 and 2 offering over 200,000 sq ft of Grade A office space and will help unlock the potential of further investment in commercial and residential plots.

This is the fourth major investment Legal & General Capital have made, supported by UKTI’s Regeneration Investment Organisation (RIO), as part of their £1.5bn UK Regeneration Co-Investment fund, which provides early stage investment capital into large scale UK regeneration projects. This fund was developed in conjunction with the Regeneration Investment Organisation (RIO), to facilitate Institutional Investment into regeneration projects, with the facility to syndicate this with overseas investment.

The investment is the biggest property deal seen in Newcastle for decades, and Legal & General Capital’s investment follows recent announcements that a National Centre for Energy Systems Integration will be built on site. This is the third national centre of excellence secured on Science Central – along with the National Centre for Ageing and Science Innovation, and the National Institute for Smart Data Innovation – bringing the total investment to £90m since the beginning of the year.

This builds on work that has already begun on Science Central, part of Newcastle’s Accelerated Development Zone, which has seen significant progress over the past year. The landmark building The Core opened in November 2014 and is full to capacity, Newcastle University delivered the first research labs in The Key which opened in February 2016. And construction of the university’s £58m Urban Sciences Building is also well underway, and will open in summer 2017. In addition, design work is underway for a Learning and Teaching Centre and Newcastle Laboratory which will offer high quality, incubation and grow-on accommodation specifically geared to science-based commercial activities.

The 24 acre mixed used development is set to create over 4,000 jobs, 500,000 sq ft of office space, and 450 new homes in the heart of the city.

Councillor Nick Forbes, Leader of Newcastle City Council said: “Today’s announcement is a major milestone for Newcastle, and one which sets a clear marker of our ambitions as a city.

“Science Central demonstrates that this city is committed to creating the jobs that will come to define future generations, jobs created thanks to the significant joint investments already made by both Newcastle University and Newcastle City Council.

“Legal & General Capital’s investment is a major vote of confidence in Newcastle from one of Europe’s leading investors, who have clearly recognised the enormous potential of Newcastle and the region. Securing the deal will act as a catalyst to attract further investment, putting us firmly on the map as a UK hub for the science and technology sector and creating knowledge-based jobs for future generations, sending out a strong message that Newcastle is open for business.”

Nigel Wilson, CEO at Legal & General Group, commented: “I am thrilled that Legal & General is investing in the future of Newcastle. This investment is further evidence of the power of ‘bulldozer money’ to deliver high-tech growth and jobs through regeneration in the North. We need growth in the UK – and this is the way to deliver it.”

Commercial Secretary to the Treasury, Lord O’Neill said: “There are unprecedented opportunities for private sector investment into the Northern Powerhouse and today’s announcement by Legal & General Capital is fantastic news for Newcastle. Working alongside Newcastle City Council and Newcastle University, this is a landmark regeneration project that will bring enormous benefits to the area.”

“With science and education at the heart of our plans to rebalance the economy and end the gap between the north and south, this deal has the potential to be a blueprint for other cities right across the region.”

Professor Chris Brink, Vice-Chancellor of Newcastle University, said: “Today’s announcement by Legal & General Capital is a reflection of what has been achieved so far and testament to the potential of Science Central as an exemplar of sustainable urban development.

“Building on our recent outstanding research successes, with the announcement of our three National centres – the National Centre for Ageing Science and Innovation, the National Institute for Smart Data Innovation (NISDI) and the EPSRC National Centre for Energy Systems Integration – this investment will take us a step closer to realising our vision for Science Central.”

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£52m investment in Northumbria University

Northumbria University have announced plans to invest £52m over the next two years to make significant improvements to its Newcastle city centre campus. Building on the £200m invested in its City and Coach Lane campuses over the last ten years, the University is now planning a number of major projects to transform the experience it provides to students studying at its City Campus. Improvements include two new buildings, an extension to Sutherland Building, building refurbishments and investment in new facilities.

The area around Northumbria’s Students’ Union and Library will be transformed to create a new Student Central zone that will bring together all student-facing services, such as careers, welfare and international support to one area in the heart of the campus.

Two new state-of-the-art new buildings will also be constructed to bring major benefits for students on computing and information sciences and architecture and built environment courses.

The University will demolish its dated Rutherford Hall to create a new building for computing students. With a design inspired by the father of computing, Charles Babbage, it will be equipped with the very latest industry-standard technologies.

In addition, the historic 18th century Sutherland Building will be transformed with the addition of a modern, yet sympathetically designed, extension to create a bright and airy building with improved studio spaces for the School of Architecture.

Ellison Building is being refurbished to bring in new cutting-edge laboratories and facilities for the 3,500 students studying science, technology, engineering and maths subjects. This includes significant investment in new technologies including a wind tunnel, an engine test cell facility, 3D printers and a scanning electron microscope.

New world-class learning, teaching and research spaces are intended for students on humanities and social sciences courses. Plans to extensively upgrade and refit the 1970s Lipman Building are currently being developed with staff and students.

Finally, Pandon Building, which is currently home to students on computing courses, will also be transformed over the next 18 months to become a dedicated base for staff working in the University’s professional support services.

Work on all of these projects will begin over the coming months, with most expected to be complete and ready for teaching from September 2018.

A number of Northumbria’s graduates who now work in leading architecture and construction firms will be involved in the development, using the skills they learned at the University to create the new spaces to benefit current and future students.

Northumbria University’s Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive, Professor Andrew Wathey CBE, said: “In recent years we have launched an ambitious new strategy to transform the University, and have made radical change in our research performance, our student recruitment and experience, alongside significant steps in our partnerships regionally, nationally and internationally. Now is the time to create the environment we need to achieve our vision for 2025, and beyond.

“This investment will sustain a world-class campus for Northumbria that will lead to improvements in student satisfaction and more effective ways of working, and support our evolution into a new kind of excellent university.”

Since opening City Campus East in 2007, Northumbria University has continued to invest in state-of-the-art facilities for its students. Developments have included multi-million refurbishments of its Library, Students’ Union and Coach Lane campus and the opening of the £30 million Sport Central by Great North Run founder, Brendan Foster, in 2011.

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Newcastle Airport named best in Britain

Newcastle International Airport has been named best in the country in a poll by Mirror Travel and Cheapflights.couk which ranked UK airports on their all-round travel experience. Newcastle placed first when compared to 15 airports on categories including Wi-Fi, cleanliness, toilets, check-in process, family-friendly facilities, immigration experience and airport lounge. The news comes after the airport experienced its busiest weekend of 2016, with 55,000 passengers passing through the airport, and Ryanair announcing their new summer 2017 schedule including three new routes and five additional services.

Nick Jones, Interim Chief Executive at Newcastle International Airport, said: “We pride ourselves on our attention to detail and to provide the best possible experience for our passengers.

“Our goal is to be the UK’s most welcoming airport and I am delighted our staff have been recognised for their efforts.”

Councillor Iain Malcolm, Leader of South Tyneside Council and lead of the LA7 shareholders, said: “Newcastle International Airport is hugely important to the North East, both as a gateway for the region and as a generator of jobs and millions of pounds for the local economy.

“The results of this latest poll are richly deserved and I would like to congratulate all members of staff who work tirelessly to ensure passengers have the best possible start to their journey.”

The news comes after the airport experienced its busiest weekend of 2016 with thousands of holidaymakers taking to the skies to begin their summer holidays.

More than 55,000 passengers passed through the terminal last weekend as the school holidays prepared to get underway, with people from across the North East heading for sunnier climes.

Holidaymakers are spoilt for choice this summer with over 80 year round direct destinations on offer, including United Airlines scheduled service to New York/Newark and over 300 onward connections across the Americas including Los Angeles, Las Vegas and San Francisco.

Other popular destinations again include Spain, the Canaries, Balearics, Turkey, Dubai and the Greek Islands. Passengers can travel on the Thomson Dreamliner to Florida and Cancun, while Spain’s leading low-cost airline Vueling are operating their first summer service to Barcelona.

More than three million passengers will travel through the airport between May and October this year, with over 900,000 travelling during the seven week summer period.

Those still looking for some holiday inspiration can visit the airport’s ‘Discover the World’ website,, a one-stop shop showcasing the full range of destinations accessible from Newcastle International. The new website includes destination guides, a search page and an improved destination map.

Nick Jones said: “This summer is set to be our busiest in years and we are delighted to be able to offer so many exciting routes direct from Newcastle.

“Our passenger’s journey begins as soon as they enter the airport and with our transformation of the departure lounge fully complete, the new development allows for a more informed choice on where to shop, eat, drink or simply relax before catching a flight.”

Councillor Iain Malcolm said: “With outstanding facilities and an ever-expanding selection of available routes, including the United Airlines service to New York, there is plenty on offer for all travellers.”

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