Exciting plans for one of the region’s foremost office developments are set to take a major step forward later this month.
Centre Square is key to an ambitious and wide-ranging regeneration programme which is cementing Middlesbrough’s role as the city heart of the Tees Valley.
Under proposals to be considered by Middlesbrough Council’s Executive, work on the first of a series of Grade A office buildings could start on site this summer, with the second due for completion in the autumn of 2019.
Middlesbrough Council would move its base from the existing Civic Centre to the first of the new buildings, with the second being let to generate a commercial return for the authority.
As part of this, the Civic Centre would be demolished, creating potential for further development on the strategically important site.
A further three buildings outlined for other elements of the eastern end of Centre Square will bring additional major investment to the town centre, with the creation of up to 2,000 jobs and, when fully developed, will generate an estimated £1 million additional annual boost to Town Hall coffers through new business rates.
The scheme has been drawn up in partnership with developers Ashall Projects who had already delivered the highly successful Holiday Inn Express on the western end of Centre Square.
Delivered in phases, the flagship development will deliver around 200,000 sq ft of the sort of state-of-the-art office space sought by high-end employers.
At its meeting on Tuesday, February 20, the Council’s Executive will consider committing to a 35-year lease on the first two buildings, which research has shown will generate a long-term saving compared with retaining and maintaining the existing Civic Centre.
Councillor Charlie Rooney, Middlesbrough Deputy Mayor and Executive Member for City Centre Strategy, said: “Central Middlesbrough is the beating heart of the Tees Valley economy and that’s why it’s vital that we rebalance our commercial and retail offers.
“To achieve that it is essential that we have the accommodation and infrastructure that modern knowledge-intensive businesses tell us they need – and that’s exactly what these proposals will deliver.
“By bringing them to the heart of Middlesbrough, we will ensure not only our continued growth and prosperity, but that of the wider Tees Valley area.
“As part of the development, we will also secure a new administrative base for the Council, replacing a building that is no longer fit for purpose and achieving a long-term saving for local residents.
“We value our staff and want to set Middlesbrough Council apart as an employer of choice.
“A positive working environment can yield significant productivity benefits, as well as retaining highly-skilled staff in our crucial services.
“Even at this early stage we are already receiving considerable interest from potential occupiers, which is a clear indication that demand is there.
“This is yet another project led by Middlesbrough Council that is helping to transform the face of our town, and secure our economic future for generations to come.”
Councillor Nicky Walker, Middlesbrough Council’s Executive Member for Finance and Governance, said: “The Civic Centre is now over 50 years old and is no longer fit for purpose for more modern and cost-effective working practices.
“The building will require investment of more than £6 million over the next five years, and over the next 35 years that figure will rise to £20 million.
“By comparison, the proposed relocation – which offers the best value for money of the available options – will result in considerable savings to the Council.”
Over 35 years it is estimated running costs will reduce by a minimum of 20% – saving a total of £2.2m compared with a refurbished Civic Centre.
The new accommodation will be built to a BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) ‘excellent’ standard, which can also reduce utility costs by up to 50%.