St Pancras has been a magnet for bioscience and technology in recent years, becoming a cluster that innovative businesses and researchers want to be a part of.
Two decades in the making, the transformation of King’s Cross from a neglected part of London to one of the best locations in the world for science and innovation has been remarkable. King’s Cross has been a magnet for bioscience and technology in recent years, becoming a cluster that innovative businesses and researchers want to be a part of.
But its success hasn’t been down to just the agglomeration of household names, old and new – from Google and Facebook to the University College London and the British Museum. Its success lies in how King’s Cross has become, first and foremost, a place where people want to be.
Open spaces, new homes, new walkable streets, shops, bars and restaurants have all been key parts of King’s Cross’s development, giving people a reason to be there every day of the week, from morning till evening. That now continues at pace with the emergence of Tribeca, the latest chapter of the King’s Cross story.
Tribeca is a vibrant development on what is currently the ‘Ugly Brown Building’ on Regent’s Canal between King’s Cross and Camden Town. An imposing brown block that was once a Royal Mail sorting office, the site has been crying out for redevelopment – one that respects the Regent’s Canal Conservation Area, opens up the area to growing communities and also slots into the wider framework of King’s Cross.
In fact, look at the defining features of Tribeca and you will find the same characteristics that have made King’s Cross a successful human-focused innovation district.
An Olympic-sized talent pool
King’s Cross is the UK’s Knowledge Quarter. The reason it continues to grow and sustain the confidence of businesses and academia is because it’s created a compelling professional ecosystem. Within a few minutes, you can walk from the offices of Facebook to Google, to Deepmind, to the London Bioscience Innovation Centre. At its heart you will find cutting-edge research at the Francis Crick Institute, the Wellcome Trust and UCL – institutions that acted as anchors for the Knowledge Quarter and became the reason others soon followed.
An open, collaborative research space that embodies much of what King’s Cross stands for, it’s the biggest biomedical research centre in Europe.
The Francis Crick Institute
One of the major calling cards for the Knowledge Quarter, the Francis Crick Institute opened in 2016 to well-deserved fanfare. An open, collaborative research space that embodies much of what King’s Cross stands for, it’s the biggest biomedical research centre in Europe. The Institute is home to more than 1,500 scientists and is a leading body in developing our understanding of neuroscience; health, growth and development; and cancer and infectious diseases. Recently, that has meant helping lead the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.
Two decades in the making, the transformation of King’s Cross from a neglected part of London to one of the best locations in the world for science and innovation.
The Wellcome Trust
Supporting science to solve urgent health challenges is the Wellcome Trust’s mission, and it’s hard to overstate how much of an impact the charity has. With a near £30bn investment portfolio, the Wellcome Trust works through grant funding, campaigns and partnerships to help those tackling serious crises in more than 70 countries. It comes as little surprise that it’s one of the six partners behind the Francis Crick Institute and funds research at nearby UCL.
UCL is the UK’s largest university – and one of its oldest and most highly respected. Its reputation in scientific research is unquestionable, including affiliations with 34 Nobel Prize winners and the discovery of DNA (through none other than co-discoverer Francis Crick). Its affiliations also extend to University College Hospital and the world’s largest academic health science centre, UCL Partners. Its close links with the Wellcome Trust (which recently funded a first of its kind PhD programme at UCL on mental health science) and the Francis Crick Institute (where it’s a founding partner) underpin the rigorous, boundary-pushing research that characterises King’s Cross.
Fitting into such a highly respected, interlinked ecosystem requires specialised space. Tribeca will split the existing industrial juggernaut into five buildings with 600,000 sq ft of state of the art laboratories and offices that sit alongside a new HQ for Ted Baker.
Like the wider King’s Cross area, it will be an ideal home for both leaders in tech and scientific research, tapping into the wider ecosystem. But with flexible workspaces and floorplates built into its design, Tribeca will also become home to the next generation of innovators. Start-ups and entrepreneurs will find themselves an ideal location to tap into expertise and talent as they continue to push the boundaries of science and tech.
Large, prestigious institutions are a fundamental part of King’s Cross, but even among such internationally respected organisations, the British Library stands out. With more than 170 million items spanning every age of western civilisation, the UK’s national library is the largest in the world. It holds every book published in the UK and Ireland, and its extensive collection of manuscripts, patents, sound recordings, prints and much more is invaluable to experts from any field. The British Library’s contribution to local, national and international academic and research communities is truly unparalleled – right at the heart of King’s Cross.