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The Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and UCL have selected Derwent London as their preferred bidder for the acquisition of the freehold of City Road Island, 162 City Road and 11-43 Bath Street EC1. Following a detailed selection process, heads of terms have been agreed for this c.400,000 sq ft estate forming an important strategic 2.5 acre site located in the heart of the Tech Belt. Derwent London intends to submit a planning application in 2022 for its redevelopment, with the acquisition expected to complete in the second half of 2026 upon the delivery of the ‘Oriel’ joint initiative for a new eye care, research and education centre in Camden.

Paul Williams, Chief Executive of Derwent London, said:

“We are delighted to be acquiring this well located major regeneration opportunity close to our existing holdings in Islington. We are pleased to be part of the process whereby the Oriel partners can fulfil their ambition to build a new eye care, research and education centre.”

Martin Kuper, Chief Executive of Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust said:

“The sale of City Road Island is an essential part of our funding strategy for Oriel. All proceeds will be reinvested in the new centre to secure the long-term future of world-leading eye care, research and education in a way that represents value for money. Arrangements will be put in place for a smooth transition from the existing sites to the new one, with minimal disruption to the delivery of ongoing patient care.

“We know that staff and patients have formed a strong attachment to Moorfields at City Road over the years and will work with them to make sure that we do justice to honouring its legacy when we move to St Pancras. We will also maintain our strong links with Islington Council as plans for City Road Island progress.”

Professor Alan Thompson, Dean of the UCL Faculty of Brain Sciences, said:

“Our current facilities have served us very well for decades, but we will be better placed to realise our future ambitions with a modern, purpose-built centre. Oriel is enabling us to make the improvements that will support our work in the long-term by moving to a new building that supports collaboration and maximises opportunities to strengthen our partnership with Moorfields and delivers real benefits for our patients.

“We are excited to be opening a new chapter in the Institute’s evolution and welcome the prospect of continuing our proud history of pioneering research in a building that matches the scale of our ambition.”