CB1 – the new city quarter for Cambridge


4 November 2019

Record investment in Cambridge as knowledge sector powers city’s economy

Investment in Cambridge has reached record levels, with increasing numbers of high-profile businesses creating jobs and taking office space in the city.

The investment is centred on the ‘knowledge’ sector, a grouping which encompasses businesses from high-tech manufacturing and software development to pharma and life sciences, many of which benefit from the wealth  of expertise in artificial intelligence in Cambridge.

Cambridge’s knowledge (or ‘knowledge-intensive’) sector has seen average growth of 9.7% per year since 2013 and its output has grown to some £5bn, according to the latest report from Bidwells, property consultants based in the city.

Aviva Investors, the global asset manager, is now among those fully committed to investing in Cambridge, having identified the city as one of its “target office clusters”. Based on Cambridge’s growing reputation as a hub for talent, tech and innovation, Aviva has established a high-quality city centre portfolio totalling circa 460,000 sq ft of office space across three buildings.

The CB1 Estate, where Aviva has chosen to invest, is proud to be playing a pivotal role in attracting knowledge-sector businesses by providing new, modern, well-designed office space, as well as a range of good quality amenities, all located conveniently near Cambridge Station. Hence CB1 is now home to companies such as Samsung, Amazon and Microsoft, and the Estate has established itself as the sustainable Central Business District for Cambridge. 

The latest building constructed at CB1, the eight-storey 50/60 Station Road, has opened its doors to further prestigious names, including WeWork, the global market leader in shared workspace. Other tenants include financial consulting firm Charles River Associates, engineering consultancy Peter Brett Associates, Cambridge-born Costello Medical, genome research specialist Genomics, together with two asset management companies - Brewin Dolphin and Cantab. 

Dick Wise, Head of Business Space Agency at Bidwells, said: “The Government’s Industrial Strategy has focused on developing the UK’s knowledge-based economy and the Oxford-Cambridge Arc is right at the centre of it. Our figures show that the Oxford-Cambridge Arc region now contains more than 20% of the UK’s entire Science & Technology park floor space.”

As a result of this continued investment and growth in knowledge-based businesses: “The Cambridge office market is on track for its busiest year since 2014, during one of the most uncertain economic periods in living memory, and  now looks set to break the once unthought-of £50 per sq ft mark within five years.” 

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