The projects falls within Leeds' innovation arc. Credit: SGI

Scarborough Group chosen for medtech hub

Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust has selected the firm as preferred developer to transform the grade two*-listed Old Medical School, as the first phase of a 2.2m sq ft Innovation Village.

The proposed agreement to acquire and refurbish the building into a health-tech innovation hub represents the first phase in the delivery of the Innovation Village, a world-class cluster for science, innovation and technology surrounding the new hospital development at Leeds General Infirmary.

Fox Lloyd Jones advised the trust. Health sector-focused architect Gilling Dod is working on the design side. The building is around 45,000 sq ft.

Leeds’ Innovation Village is billed as a transformational project encompassing more than 2.2m sq ft of development which will create up to 4,000 new jobs, more than 500 new homes and an economic boost of £13bn for West Yorkshire.

As part of its proposal, SGI has set out ambitious plans to create a “health-tech ecosystem” at the Old Medical School to encourage collaboration between clinicians, academics, researchers and entrepreneurs, supporting start-ups and scale-ups to grow and help transform the future of healthcare.

It will build on the success of the trust’s Innovation Pop-Up, founded in 2021 to provide a front door for new and established businesses to partner with one of the UK’s largest teaching hospitals.

SGI’s vision includes preserving the Old Medical School’s historic Tudor Gothic style while implementing contemporary enhancements to offer a dynamic and functional workspace. These includes laboratories, co-working spaces, offices and communal areas, along with a new atrium over the inner courtyard.

Completed in 1894, the original red-brick building was designed by Leeds architect WH Thorp as the home to one of the first provincial medical schools in England. The building currently houses the trust’s pathology department, which is relocating to the Centre for Laboratory Medicine at St James’s University Hospital.

West Yorkshire Combined Authority has provisionally identified the Old Medical School as a major project set to benefit from the £160m West Yorkshire Investment Zone. The project is expected to create 237 jobs.

The site is within the Innovation Arc, a series of connected neighbourhoods formed around Leeds General Infirmary, University of Leeds, Leeds Beckett University, Leeds Arts University and the city’s West End.

The proposed use for the Old Medical School is in line with the council’s strategy to create a world-class district for research and innovation west of the city centre, as set out in its Innovation Arc supplementary planning document. Leeds has one of the highest concentrations of health-tech employees in the UK.

Dame Linda Pollard, chair of Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “We are delighted to announce Scarborough Group International as preferred developer and partner for the Old Medical School.

“Together we will create a health tech innovation hub that helps clinicians, researchers and entrepreneurs turn the latest scientific advances into successful new products and services that can improve health outcomes and drive economic growth.

“The Old Medical School has a proud history as a place of learning for past generations of surgeons and doctors and an exciting future as a hub for future generations of health tech innovators.”

Mark Jackson, group development director at SGI, commented: “On behalf of SGI, we are immensely proud to have been selected as Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust’s preferred developer and partner for the transformation of the Old Medical School into a cutting-edge, health-tech innovation hub.

“By creating a dynamic environment where clinicians, academics, researchers and entrepreneurs can collaborate, innovate and grow, we want to help drive forward the development of ground-breaking technologies and solutions, and support their swift integration into the broader healthcare landscape, benefiting patients and advancing the forefront of medical innovation.

“With our existing role as Sheffield City Council’s development partner at Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park, the health, wellbeing and sport-focused innovation park in the Lower Don Valley, we have an extraordinary opportunity to promote collaboration across the wider Yorkshire region.”

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