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AHMM submits major lab scheme next to Royal London Hospital



The scheme is proposed for 100-136 Cavell Street, a long thin site bounded by Cavell Street, Raven Row and Stepney Way in Whitechapel.

The 10,200m² life sciences building would replace an early 20th-century former clothes factory that is 120m long, linear in form, and occupied by a number of small businesses, including a solicitors and a t-shirt printers.

The new building would range from five to nine storeys plus a basement and would support ‘up to 605 jobs’, according to the clients – US-based HIG Realty (the real estate branch of HIG Capital) and life sciences-specialist developer Lateral, featured in the AJ in March.

It would include lab space, incubators with shared specialist equipment, a knowledge centre for community outreach, and roof terraces.

A planning application for the scheme was submitted to Tower Hamlets Council in February.

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HIG Realty says the project is the first life sciences development within the Whitechapel life science cluster to be put forward for a private investor.

The growing Whitechapel cluster centres around the HOK International-designed Royal London Hospital, Barts Health NHS Trust – the largest NHS Trust in the UK – and Queen Mary University London.

It includes an earlier masterplan submitted by Allies and Morrison and Gibson Thornley in February 2022, for a major medical research campus on five ‘underused and vacant plots of land’ between Whitechapel Road, New Road and Newark Street. A number of plans were submitted for those elements earlier this month, although no decision has yet been made on planning permission.

In a design and access statement, AHMM said its ‘environmentally responsive’ building design would include windows set in deep reveals and sized and oriented to limit heat gains, as well as additional solar shading devices.

The building features a material palette that ‘reflects the local character’, according to the architect, combining brickwork and reconstituted stone to evoke the many industrial warehouse façades in the area.

AHMM wrote: ‘The site offers a unique opportunity to deliver an exemplar cutting-edge science facility to act as catalyst to accelerate the evolution of Whitechapel’s life science ecosystem.’

Realty and Lateral say the scheme will target a BREEAM Excellent sustainability rating. The project team also includes CMA Planning, Buro Happold, Evolve and 3PM in planning, engineering and project management roles respectively.

HIG Capital managing director Jérôme Fouillé described the site within the Whitechapel life sciences cluster as ‘one of the most promising across London to develop a state-of-the-art life sciences building’, adding that the project would fuel ‘innovation and research growth’ in the area. 

Lateral co-founder Rob Beacroft added that the scheme would deliver ‘long-term high-quality jobs’ in the area, and ‘accelerate life-changing health outcomes’. 

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