The three-storey, 36,000 sq ft building is located on the banks of the River Tees next to Stockton-on-Tees town centre, constructed to a BREEAM Very Good specification is a partnership project between Muse, Stockton Council, Teesside University and the HCA. The project went ahead following £2.87 million investment from the North East European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) with HCA providing the match funding. Located centrally within the Northshore development, the building will provide flexible space for new and growing SMEs in the digital, scientific and creative sectors.
Representatives from each of the partners, as well as the company which will carry out the construction, Esh Build - part of Esh Group - met on site to celebrate the milestone with a groundbreaking ceremony.
As well as flexible office space provided in two rectangular office wings either side of a glazed central atrium, the building will feature a training suite, meeting rooms and a seminar facility designed to maximise interaction and networking between occupiers.
The Innovation Centre will be managed by Teesside University, which will offer tenants the full range of business innovation and development services, available from its Darlington and Middlesbrough campuses. Companies will have ready access to research, academic expertise, graduate resource, training and networks to support their development and growth. Many of them will also be able to take advantage of the Enterprise Zone business rate discount each year for 5 years (depending on the eligibility of the business).
Marie Kiddell, Area Manager at the HCA, said:
The start of the Innovation centre is a major milestone for Northshore and when completed it will create opportunities for local businesses to grow and develop in a state of the art building. This project along with Thirteen’s new headquarters next door is fantastic news for Northshore, breathing new life into the area and continuing the regeneration of the area.
Simon Dew, senior development surveyor at Muse Developments, said:
The Innovation Centre is another important piece in the jigsaw to create a vibrant new commercial and family housing destination in an outstanding riverside location at Northshore. The Innovation Centre will provide much needed flexible space aimed at new business start-ups and growing businesses who can take advantage of the financial incentives available within the Northshore Enterprise Zone. We are also well under way with the delivery of a new head office for housing group Thirteen and 76 contemporary family homes, as part of the second phase of the successful Vivo residential development.
Leader of Stockton Council, Councillor Bob Cook, commented:
The creation of the Innovation Centre is yet another example of how we are working with Muse, Teesside University and the Homes and Communities Agency to help Stockton thrive as a place to do business. Just last month research by RBS revealed that Stockton had the fastest growing economy in the North East and the Manpower Group found that people in Stockton earn on average more than people who live elsewhere in the region. The Innovation Centre will be another fantastic asset to our Borough.
The new facility will encourage further business growth by giving fledgling businesses in the digital, science and technology centres access to expertise and support which will help ensure they flourish whilst also creating more job opportunities for people living in and around Stockton. What better location for businesses to develop and thrive with purpose-built space and access to specialist support to keep them ahead of technological developments within a high quality waterside environment close to the newly regenerated Stockton Town Centre and major transport routes.”
Last year, Teesside University was awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for excellence in higher and further education, in recognition of its work in the field of enterprise and business engagement.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Business Engagement) Professor Cliff Hardcastle added:
At Teesside University we have a fantastic track record of working with some of the region’s most innovative businesses. With our world-renowned excellent research capability and our expertise in working with businesses we can help companies, both small and large, find new ways to succeed. The construction of the new Innovation Centre at Northshore will allow the University to build upon the considerable success it has had in promoting enterprise in the Tees Valley. It will make it even easier for businesses to access our renowned leading academics who can provide research and consultancy services to enable companies to implement the latest cutting edge technology and business practices.
In addition, we can help the companies based at the Innovation Centre find the very best job-ready graduates who can enable their businesses to grow and flourish. The Northshore Innovation Centre perfectly complements the business engagement services we offer at our campuses in Darlington and Middlesbrough and we look forward to working with the exciting companies which will be based in this fantastic new building.