SGI appointed to transform the Old Medical School in Leeds into a health-tech innovation hub

May 22, 2024

Following a successful tender process, we’re proud to announce that Scarborough Group has been selected by Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust as the preferred developer to transform the historic Old Medical School into a globally recognised health-tech innovation hub.

The proposed agreement to acquire and refurbish the grade II*-listed building 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.

The Innovation Village is 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 our proposals, we have set out our 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.

Our 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 state-of-the-art 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 £160 million 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 and has the most high-growth health tech firms securing investment; the most health and care patents, strong demand for research and innovation skills and the highest proportion of bioscience undergraduates.

Leeds Teaching Hospitals has a long track record of medical breakthroughs including the world’s first double hand transplant and the world’s first procedure using non-invasive sonic beam therapy to target and destroy cancer tumours. Its fully-funded new hospital development at Leeds General Infirmary will include a new adults’ hospital, a new home for Leeds Children’s Hospital, and the UK’s largest single-site maternity and neonatal centre.

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.”


The Minister for Investment, Lord Dominic Johnson, said: “The UK continues to solidify its position on the world stage as a leader in science and technology.


“I’m delighted to see Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust leverage private sector investment to help create a globally recognised health tech innovation hub at its historic Old Medical School site. This exciting project taps into the UK’s strengths in the life sciences sector, fostering economic growth and innovative healthcare as part of the West Yorkshire Investment Zone.”


Tracy Brabin, mayor of West Yorkshire, said: “Our multi-million pound investment zone will help us transform the Old Medical School into a global centre of innovation, as we bring together our universities, businesses and hospitals to drive the development of life-changing technologies, deliver thousands of skilled jobs, and transform the lives of patients worldwide.


“Through our investment zone, we’re changing our region for the long-term, working with partners like Leeds City Council and Leeds Teaching Hospitals to build a stronger, brighter West Yorkshire.”


Tom Riordan, chief executive of Leeds City Council, said: “It’s fantastic news that Scarborough Group International has been appointed as the developer for the Old Medical School.


“The new hospital will be a beacon of innovation, accelerating the work done to date delivering our vision to stimulate innovation that delivers measurable impact towards a healthier, greener and inclusive future for all, and forming a key part of our £1.5 billion Innovation Arc.


“This project further strengthens Leeds’s position as a leading health tech hub and is a fantastic example of where Leeds consistently achieves and continues to deliver on large scale projects through public/private sector partnerships. It’s a real win for the city, patients and a testament to the power of our collaborative efforts.”

Property advisor Fox Lloyd Jones advised Leeds Teaching Hospitals during the marketing process for the Old Medical School.

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