Sci-Tech Daresbury’s global standing cemented as international innovators sign up to Violet
Two leading international firms have become the first companies to take residence within Sci-Tech Daresbury’s Violet development, representing a significant coup for the Liverpool City Region campus.
Australian firm Blackmagic Design and China’s Geek+ have chosen the new £17.8m development for their respective UK headquarters, with both companies attracted to the unique environment for innovation and business growth within both Sci-Tech Daresbury and the wider Liverpool City Region. For Blackmagic Design, the location will also be its base of operations for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA).
Blackmagic Design has grown rapidly to become one of the world’s leading innovators and manufacturers of creative video technology and has created some of the most talked about products in the creative industries.
Blackmagic Design’s DeckLink capture cards launched a revolution in quality and affordability in post-production. At the same time, its Emmy™ award-winning DaVinci colour correction products have dominated the television and film industry since 1984. Blackmagic Design continues ground breaking innovations, including 6G-SDI and 12G-SDI products and stereoscopic 3D and Ultra HD workflows.
The company has taken the entirety of the 19,000 sq ft V1 building within the Violet development.
Stuart Ashton, Director, Blackmagic Design, said:
“We are delighted to be joining Sci-Tech Daresbury. It’s a vibrant community with outstanding facilities that will bring a lot of energy to our business. The North West is a thriving hub for innovation with access to many leading technical colleges and universities that will be important to our future growth and success.”
Geek+ is a Beijing headquartered global technology company that specialises in smart logistics, boasting a significant market share in global AMR (autonomous mobile robots) markets and leading the global smart logistics revolution.
The company has chosen Violet as its UK headquarters and will employ at least 30 staff at the campus. The move to set up a UK base has been driven by the growing number of businesses that are turning to automation and AMRs to boost their competitiveness.
The UK office will therefore enable Geek + to provide a full range of Al driven robotics solutions to customers across the country. The company’s systems are very adaptable, allowing them to be used in a variety of industries, including fashion, eCommerce, retail and third-party logistics.
Geek+ will occupy 4,300 sq ft of office space across two floors, in addition to a 2,050 sq ft Experience Centre which will enable the showcasing of the company’s technologies. The company already has a connection to Sci-Tech Daresbury, with UK and Ireland partner Breathe Technologies using Techspace Two as base to deliver warehouse automation systems, software and services to customers such as GXO, Pets At Home and QVC.
Simon Houghton, Geek+’s Head of Sales for UK & Ireland said: “We are really impressed by what Sci-Tech Daresbury and Violet have to offer. From the high-quality offices, lab space and workshops to the R&D, leisure and catering facilities – everything is all in one location, and it provides the perfect base from which to grow our business in the UK.
“We are looking for local talent to join the Geek+ team and help develop our brand in UK, enabling us to provide the best services to our end customers. With our brilliant new base at Sci-Tech Daresbury, we believe we can nurture a powerful team and support our expansion in UK.”
Claire Umney, Managing Director of warehouse automation specialists Breathe Technologies, said: “Sci-Tech Daresbury is a hotbed of innovative, high-growth businesses which creates huge opportunities for knowledge exchange, collaboration and value creation. We’re particularly happy to welcome our Partners Geek+ to the campus and look forward to working even closer with them to help design, implement, optimise and service their AMR and AI logistics solutions in the UK and Ireland.
Violet was officially handed over by contractors Willmott Dixon in February. The £17.8m development comprises 43,000 sq ft of speculative Grade A office and innovation space, coupled with the highest energy efficiency standards, for dynamic, forward-thinking science and technology focused businesses.
Violet is expected to create or support 332 full-time equivalent jobs and has received £8.4m cornerstone funding from the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, consisting of a £2.5m loan from the Urban Development Fund, together with £5.9m from the Combined Authority’s Chrysalis Fund, both funds being managed or advised by igloo Investment Management.
Violet encompasses two buildings (V2 and V3) providing 12,000 sq ft each and one building (V1) of 19,000 sq ft. Each building entails floor plates of around 4,300 to 6,300 sq ft.
John Downes, Chief Executive Officer of Langtree and Chairman of Sci-Tech Daresbury, said: “We are very excited to welcome Blackmagic Design and Geek+ to the Sci-Tech Daresbury family. These international companies prove that Violet has made the campus an extremely desirable location for cutting edge and scaling businesses from across the world and this expansion of our community is yet more evidence that the North West and specifically the Liverpool City Region is taking great strides in supporting the UK’s progress in being a technological superpower.”
Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region said: “I want to make the Liverpool City Region the most digitally connected region in the UK so that we can tackle digital exclusion, attract new businesses and entrepreneurs, and create well-paid, secure jobs for local people.
“We’ve been investing in the infrastructure to realise those ambitions. From the 212km digital network we’re laying across the region, our burgeoning position as the UK’s Renewable Energy Coast, investments in outstanding facilities like Sci-Tech Daresbury or our commitment to ethical business, we’re putting ourselves in the best place possible to attract ambitious businesses.
“It’s an approach that we’re seeing bear fruit, as this news shows. We want forward-thinking, innovative international businesses to call our region home – we’ll welcome you with open arms!”
In December, planning approval was granted by Halton Borough Council for Ultraviolet, which is located next to Violet and forms the next phase of development within Sci-Tech Daresbury.
Ultraviolet will comprise a further 180,000 sq ft of Grade A office and laboratory space. The decision to pursue the further expansion of the world-class science facilities available at Sci-Tech Daresbury at this early stage reflects heightened demand from cutting-edge businesses requiring high-quality office and laboratory space in a collaborative community of 150 science and technology companies. These include the likes of IBM and Hitachi, co-located with the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s (STFC) Daresbury Laboratory, part of UK Research and Innovation. This is also demonstrated by the interest created by Violet and the continued desirability of the campus, with over 30 new tenants joining during 2021.
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