June 22, 2020 @ 9:24 by Richard Dawson
A £1.5 million transformation of a Newcastle city centre stables into a hi-tech business centre is nearing completion.
HyHubs, the business centre chain that includes Hoults Yard in Byker and Hypoint in Gateshead, has been working on the redevelopment of the former St Thomas Street stables since 2019.
The revamped office space, Haylofts, should be ready for move-ins from next month (July).
Haylofts has 22 offices, seven meeting rooms and a tiered, bleacher-seating lecture space for 50.
The site benefits from ‘stable’ broadband speeds of up to 100gbps, reportedly a first for business centres in Newcastle.
Charlie Hoult, HyHubs managing director, said: “Our mission is to create ‘property with personality’ for customers – with a future-facing combination of tech and configuration.
“You can see that across Haylofts: we’ve retained great heritage features and built a super-modern pod in the glazed courtyard.
“We’ve had a slight delay with lockdown, but our development team has been fantastic and is now ‘galloping on’ with builders STP, architects Xsite, project managers Silverstone, furnishings from Thomas N. Millers and Albany, tech from Aspire and Redwood.
“It’s a special place; a hidden gem and people will fall in love with the place when they come through our doors.
“We’ve spent the last couple of weeks sorting our COVID-19-secure protocols for Haylofts and we’ll be open for business early next month.
“The courtyard acts as circulation space – we’ve joked ‘it’s a great place to get spaced out’.
“Our other sites were open throughout the crisis and are fully adapted for social distancing.”
Horse-theme branding for Haylofts is underway from renowned North-East street artist Pete Manning, aka Prefab77, who is making exclusive equine wall art for the centre.
“Along with Hush, Burgerman, Pixel Pancho and Roa, Pete helped give Hoults Yard its unique character,” said Charlie.
“Pete has an amazing creative talent which keys right into the rich Geordie links with Newcastle Brown Ale, fairground carousel horses, famous horses in history and more. It’s exciting to see how this can link heritage to today,” he continued.
The stables were built in St Thomas Street for the delivery horses of Robert Deuchar Breweries in an era when the horse was ubiquitous for local transport. Deucher’s was acquired by Newcastle Breweries in 1954.
The site was then converted to 8,000sq ft of workshops and office space in 1986, but has been empty since 2016.
Charlie added: “Haylofts couldn’t be more central – adjacent to the Haymarket transport interchange and next to Newcastle University’s main campus.
“It’s perfect for full-time employees or for a shared office environment for co-working. Despite the lockdown, we’ve had huge interest with six viewings in the past week.
“Being a city centre location, the tech capability of the space was high on our agenda and service providers Aspire offered us their Ultrafast Dedicated Connectivity (UDC) product – a clincher for some tenants.
“We can’t wait to complete the works, open the doors and welcome workers on the COVID-19 rebound run.”