The charity is conducting a “feasibility study” into the future of its London Research Institute site at 44, 45 and 46 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, ahead of an expected sale of the freehold block later this year or next.
In 2016 Cancer Research will relocate the institute to the Francis Crick Institute in King’s Cross, which is due to open in 2015. The charity will plough funds raised from the Lincoln’s Inn sale into this new development. It is thought a residential scheme on the site could provide net space of at least 200,000 sq ft and enable the creation of more than 150 luxury homes. Cancer Research is already thought to have been approached by residential developers. Market sources said a sale could raise £50m to £100m, and would probably result in demolition of the existing building.
The charity has occupied 44 Lincoln’s Inn Fields since it was opened in June 1963 by Queen Elizabeth II. In 1973 it undertook a redevelopment and extension, which included 45 and 46.
Advised by Gryphon Property Partners, Cancer Research is thought to have spent more than six months considering how a scheme at Lincoln’s Inn might take shape, and how to achieve best value. Most of Lincoln’s Inn Fields — London’s largest square — is in the London Borough of Camden. However, the south side is in Westminster, where traditionally it has been easier to get consent for residential schemes. Martin Elmer, property director at Cancer Research UK, said: “We are carrying out a feasibility study into the sale of 44 Lincoln’s Inn Fields. “A timescale for the sale has yet to be determined but we do not expect to vacate the building before spring 2016. We want to ensure that we realise the best value for this building, as the sale will help to fund the creation of the Francis Crick Institute.”
During the October 2010 spending review, the government committed £220m of funding to the UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation, now known as the Francis Crick Institute. The institute is being built in partnership with the Medical Research Council, the Wellcome Trust, University College London, Imperial College London and King’s College London.
Source: Nick Johnstone, Property Week