Discovery Park, the successful science and technology park in Sandwich, has been bought by investment company Discovery Park Estates Ltd.
The deal signifies an immediate change of shareholders in the commercial and industrial facilities. The original shareholders, Trevor Cartner, Chris Musgrave and Palmer Capital, will continue as the owners of the company that manages Discovery Park on a day-to-day basis, Parkserve Ltd, and as owners of the residential land.
The original shareholders invested in Discovery Park Ltd on 31 July 2012 after pharmaceutical giant, Pfizer, announced they were dramatically scaling back their operations at the site.
Since that point, when there were only five companies on site and 15% occupancy, they have developed Discovery Park into one of Europe’s leading science, business and technology parks.
The site now has 65% occupancy and is home to 150 companies across a range of sectors employing more than 2,400 people. Their target is to reach 3,000 jobs and 70% occupancy by the end of 2017.
The existing management team, including Managing Director Paul Barber, Finance Director Kevin Howes and Leasing Director Anna Stone, will remain in place to support the new owners.
Mr Barber, said: “When the previous investors acquired the site in 2012 it was always the intention that once the business park had moved onto a sound footing they would move on to new ventures.
“The success of the site has been such that we have reached this stage perhaps a year ahead of schedule.
“The future is bright with the new shareholders determined to continue the growth at Discovery Park. Currently 65% of the site is occupied and with the level of interest we have, I would envisage the site being at full occupancy within a few years.
“We have really ambitious plans to make Discovery Park an even more exciting place and we are thrilled that the new owners fully support our ideas.”
Bernard Spitz, spokesman for Discovery Park Estates said: “We are delighted to have acquired Discovery Park. The site is recognised globally as a cutting-edge hub of science, business and technology and that is something we intend to develop even further in the future. We also fully intend to implement the previous owners’ plans to develop other facilities on the site as soon as possible.”
The development plans for the site include the ongoing refurbishment of key buildings such as the iconic Building 500; completion of construction work on nearly 70,000 sq ft of manufacturing space; and the £160million investment in a new biomass renewable energy plant.
Other elements of the master plan will continue as planned, including St George’s Park, the first phase of the site’s residential scheme.
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