Oxford: Development partner sought for major £500m business community

Thomas White Oxford has commenced its preliminary search through Savills, the global real estate consultancy, for both a commercial and residential joint venture development partner to work with to deliver phase 1a commercial and phase 1 Canalside residential for Oxford North, the new £500 million sustainable innovation district for Oxford.

Oxford North will be a new business community for Oxford, providing: circa 4,500 new jobs, 480 new homes for circa 1,500 people, shops, bars and restaurants, a hotel, circa 23 acres of open spaces including three new parks, and significant investment into the walking, cycling, bus and highway networks. Oxford North will contribute circa £150m per year in GVA to the economy.

The commercial JV partner will deliver part of phase 1a of the project in the central area between the A40 and A44, which will include three new office buildings totalling 136,551 sq ft, the central public square, temporary car and cycle parking and installation of the energy sharing loop.

Oxford North

The three office buildings will be: The Red Hall, a 25,586 sq ft hybrid, adaptable hub and incubator building for start-ups, freelancers and entrepreneurs, to be a shared amenity allowing up to 300 people to work collaboratively, and Building 1 & 2, a 110,965 sq ft workspace, which will be capable of being split into two independent buildings, or floor by floor, which will appeal to established office and laboratory companies.

The residential JV partner will assist in the delivery of phase 1 Canalside to the south of the A40, which will include more than 200 homes, both market and affordable, in line with the indicative masterplan, together with related infrastructure.

TWO has been seeking to realise the vision defined for the site in Oxford City Council’s Area Action Plan of July 2015. On the 16 December 2019, TWO’s planning application was resolved to be approved by Oxford City Council. TWO is currently in discussions with Oxford City Council to progress the relevant legal agreements and planning conditions. Subject to these matters being concluded, outline consent for the overall masterplan and detailed consent for phase 1a of development will be granted.

William Donger, director, Thomas White Oxford, said: “Oxford North will be a place that attracts talented people and organisations across technology, media, life sciences, pharmaceutical, biomedical and engineering. We continue to be in positive discussions with Oxford City Council to agree the necessary legal agreements and planning conditions that will allow the formal grant of planning permission. TWO is seeking expressions of interest to find two joint venture partners which share our values and have exceptional commercial and residential development experience, to assist us in the exciting delivery of phase 1. We are ever mindful of the UK government’s advice around COVID-19. We are commencing the preliminary JV search process now so that our plans for the future can still move ahead.”

Jemma Aitken-Quack, director, Savills, who is leading the development partner process, said: “Oxford North will become an extension to one of the world’s greatest cities and be the most substantial and significant infrastructure project that Oxford has seen for nearly 100 years. This is an exceptional opportunity for developers and investors which share Thomas White Oxford’s strong social investment values to work together to deliver Oxford City Council’s vision for the area and unlock its potential for future generations.”

Further information about the project can be found by visiting www.oxfordnorth.com.