Second SuperLab set for Oxford city centre

Created: Monday, 20 Feb 2023

More dedicated lab space for growing science companies is coming to Oxford. Planning permission has been granted for a second Swailes SuperLab in the city’s Hollybush Row, hot on the heels of the successful launch of the groundbreaking project in nearby Osney Mead.

The development will again be designed and built by Robin Swailes Design and Development and will be aimed at second stage companies looking for a base from which to expand.

Robin said:"From the interest we have had in the first SuperLab, we know there is a huge demand for buildings like this."

"This one will again be very different from a normal laboratory, combining bespoke facilities with close proximity to the city centre with easy access to the train and bus stations and local shops and restaurants."

The first SuperLab, launched last December, set a new standard for lab facilities with its cool design combined with quality finishings and funky features such as a networking area created in the style of a London tube station and an al fresco meeting space on the roof.

The new building, constructed to the latest eco standards, will convert existing premises formerly occupied by artificial intelligence firm Latent Logic which was taken over by Waymo, Google’s self-driving car company.

It will cover 6,700 sq ft, offering space for up to three laboratories and 82 workers. Building work is due to start in the next 12 months.

Like the first SuperLab, it will be part of the redevelopment of the city’s west end as planners look to accommodate huge growth in the number of spinouts from Oxford University and spiralling demand for lab space with availability at a record low.

Many spinouts want to be in or as near as possible to the city centre to maintain contact with their academic sponsors.

Meanwhile, a planning application has been lodged to create a third SuperLab in nearby St Thomas’ Street.

Robin added: "These are fantastic, bespoke buildings for growing businesses looking to create their own identity and grow in a city centre location."