Discovery Park, Kent
Chris and Trevor oversaw the major redevelopment of Discovery Park in Kent, in a joint venture with Palmer Capital plc. The site was acquired with vacant possession in 2012 from Pfizer, who opted to reduce production and sell the facility. While retaining a presence of site staff numbers were scaled back from 8,000 to 600.
The site comprised over 230 acres with 3 million sq. ft of buildings, warehouses, GMP, labs and office space. On acquisition, Chris led a stringent plan to diversify the offering and regenerate the site and area. Strong relations were forged with the local authorities and a highly skilled team was brought in to market, manage, demolish where necessary and develop the expansive site. Chris also worked very close with inward investment agency Locate in Kent to ‘incubate’ companies wanting to move to Discovery Park.
Educational focussed events were promoted to assist in re-training and re-skilling people who had lost their jobs and had previously worked solely for Pfizer. Students were also invited to use of state-of-the-art laboratories for projects and experiments, and the site was used for educational exhibitions, seminars and workshops. Equipment was donated to local schools and colleges, and students were given access to valuable work experience, helping to shape their careers and, ultimately, inspire more people into science.
Within three years, following substantial regeneration and investment the site became one of Europe’s leading science, business and technology parks. The portfolio was sold in a multi-million-pound deal in 2017. By the time of sale, the park had attained 80% occupancy with over 150 companies employing 3,000 people across several sectors with a substantial rental income.