The project will include R&D, offices and living space. Credit: GSSArchitecture

Ground broken at £500m Health Innovation Neighbourhood

Work has started on the Newcastle development, where Genr8 Kajima and Newcastle University will deliver 1m sq ft of research and commercial space and 1,000 homes.

The partnership will transform the former 29-acre General Hospital site in Newcastle’s West End into a “world-class centre for research and innovation focused on ageing and living well”.

Newcastle University will leverage its previous successes, including the Helix and the National Innovation Centre for Ageing, alongside the regeneration expertise of GKRL to deliver a world-leading example of intergenerational living, co-locating education, health and a spectrum of residential developments and workspace.

The development will cement the region’s status in leading ageing research, with the construction of new academic hubs, NHS and other health-related facilities, residential, business, community, and leisure spaces.

MGL Demolition is currently engaged in site preparation.

Professor Jane Robinson, pro-vice-chancellor of engagement and place at Newcastle University, said: “This is a major milestone for the development of our Health Innovation Neighbourhood (HIN).

“This site builds on Newcastle University’s world-leading expertise in healthy ageing and will be the first of its kind in the UK, tackling major health and social challenges with the aim of identifying solutions that will benefit people here in the North East and worldwide.

Improving healthy life expectancy is vital to creating a more inclusive economy and we are delighted to have the support of regional leaders in achieving this ambition.”

The masterplan at present accounts for 350,000 sq ft of research and innovation facilities, a further 350,000 sq ft of business, employment and education space, 100,000 sq ft of NHS and other health-related facilities, and 1,250 new homes, up to 15% of which will be affordable.

The mixed tenure residential space will comprise inter-generational living, later living and supported living homes. It will also include specialist housing for those living with dementia, drawing on best practice across the globe.

Kim McGuinness, North East Mayor, said: “More green affordable homes. That’s what will bring back to life the Newcastle General Hospital site that so many people will recognise.

“I’m delighted to support this world-class centre, developing cutting edge research and housing to help people live and age better.

“Everyone in our great North East should have access to a good home. I’m committed to making sure they do and to creating green jobs and opportunity as we build.”

HIN aims to combine health, research, and community amenities, and support local economic and infrastructure development.

Leader of Newcastle Cllr Nick Kemp, new North East Mayor Kim McGuinness and university boss Jane Robinson. Credit: via ING

Planned developments include a hub which would support local community needs through digitally enhanced services, including community-accessible facilities, a café, digital learning spaces, and areas for innovation, research, training, and office use. It would be designed to establish a new southern entry point and frontage on Newcastle’s Westgate Road.

The approved redevelopment plan also includes two sustainable transport hubs to support the site’s new uses, and new public areas and spaces allocated for retail and leisure. Additionally, the masterplan incorporates green corridors and envisions a series of development plots centred around a large open space, enhancing connectivity with new east-west links across the site.

The Genr8 Kajima Regeneration Ltd partnership is a 50/50 joint venture between Kajima, the pan-European real estate developer and investor and leading regeneration developer, Genr8 Developments. The partnership will create a place that positively contributes to the local community while supporting the research and innovation ambitions of the site.

Richard Ingham, director of Genr8 Kajima Regeneration, said: “The Health Innovation Neighbourhood will be a genuinely transformational project for Newcastle, creating a dynamic and multi-generational environment that enables people to live longer, healthier lives.

“The commencement of the demolition works is a significant step on the journey and following on from the recently granted outline planning permission, reinforces the momentum which the project now has.”

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