The Oxford Trust sells Macclesfield House to reinvest in science innovation and STEM education

May 15, 2024

The Oxford Trust, an independent charitable trust established in 1985 by entrepreneurs the late Sir Martin and Lady Audrey Wood co-founders of Oxford Instruments, has completed the freehold sale, and 12-month leaseback, of Macclesfield House, which currently operates as the Trust’s Oxford Centre for Innovation, to Oxford Business College.

Recognising the need to upgrade Macclesfield House, which would have required significant capital expenditure, The Oxford Trust’s Board carefully reviewed several options. This resulted in an agreement to sell the freehold and reinvest to support the Trust’s charitable objectives to fulfil its mission ‘to encourage the pursuit of science’ in both tech innovation facilities, which includes its Headington site, and renowned STEM education and engagement programmes under Science Oxford.

In 1985, The Oxford Trust set up the Oxford Centre for Innovation in Osney Mead, which subsequently moved to a building in Mill Street. In 2010, the Trust purchased Macclesfield House from Oxfordshire County Council and shortly after relocated the Oxford Centre for Innovation.

To ensure a smooth transition period for businesses in the Centre, the Trust has negotiated a 12-month leaseback with Oxford Business College. For the coming year, Oxford Innovation Space, a company originally spun out from The Oxford Trust, will continue to manage the Oxford Centre for Innovation on the Trust’s behalf.

Steve Burgess, chief executive officer, The Oxford Trust said: “This is a significant milestone in the Trust’s history. The sale of Macclesfield House, home of the Oxford Centre for Innovation, has enabled us to focus and release funds to meet our charitable objectives to encourage the pursuit of science. We continue to support the city and county’s thriving innovation ecosystem and our all-important future scientists and entrepreneurs through our STEM education and engagement programmes.

“We are pleased to have secured a 12-month leaseback and, together with Oxford Innovation Space, will support all our clients in the transition to new accommodation. The brand name Oxford Centre for Innovation remains the exclusive IP of the Trust and will be utilised in future endeavours.”

CBRE and Freeths LLP acted on behalf of The Oxford Trust. The sale has been completed for an undisclosed sum.

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