The new owners of Discovery Park – the former Pfizer base on the outskirts of Sandwich – have announced a £5m programme of works at the site.
The site was bought by Discovery Park Estates Ltd last November when previous shareholders, Trevor Cartner, Chris Musgrave and Palmer Capital sold up – with Mr Cartner and Mr Musgrave saying they intended to concentrate on the Stone Hill Park project at the Manston airport site.
The trio do, however, remain as the owners of the residential land.
Since taking over Discovery Park, the new owners – comprised of directors Bernard Spitz and Simcha Green – have carried out a full operational and strategic review. While honouring the master plan, agreed by Dover District Council in October 2014, the company has also invested an initial £5m for improving science facilities, with 50,000 sq ft of new laboratory space being created and plans in place for a 60,000 sq ft expansion of office space.
They have also carried out a major revamp of the site’s catering and conferencing areas, with plans to rebrand and refocus the on-site cafes and restaurants. There is also a new auditorium providing tenants and education providers, such as Canterbury Christ Church University with space for up to 250 people.
Toby Hunter, Chief Executive for Discovery Park Ltd, said:“As new owners, we felt it was essential to take time to reflect on what has been achieved at this wonderful site and how best to ensure its future success given all the challenges and opportunities ahead.
“Our desire is to ensure that the world-wide reputation Sandwich has enjoyed for decades – from the 50 plus years under Pfizer to the five years as a flagship multi-business campus for science and enterprise – continues long into the future.”
“With 150+ companies, employing some 3,000 staff, Discovery Park is in great shape. Our plan, using our expertise as a commercial property management company, is to take the site to the next level – maximising its potential as one of the UK’s leading science business parks.”
Mr Cartner, Mr Musgrave and Palmer Capital invested in Discovery Park Ltd on 31 July 2012 after pharmaceutical giant, Pfizer, scaled back their operation.
They started with five companies on site and 15% occupancy and claimed to have 65% occupancy and 150 companies employing more than 2,400 people by the time of the sale last year.