February 26, 2020 @ 17:18 by Richard Dawson
Plans have been revealed for a new £250 million living and working tech campus in Middlesbrough, combining a thriving digital hub with high-end residential flats.
Independent Middlesbrough Mayor and entrepreneur Andy Preston outlined the details of his plans for three skyscrapers in Teesside, as well as an amphitheatre, rooftop terrace, helipad, cinema, 200-seat lecture theatre and eco-friendly working farm.
The new development will provide a variety of different units for tech businesses, ranging from three-person small business hubs to offices for up to 200 employees.
The digital industry contributes an estimated £700 million to the Tees Valley economy, and Mr Preston believes that a new digital tech hub could be the catalyst for this to increase tenfold — a move that is part of the Mayor’s wider plan to regenerate Middlesbrough as the next ‘Digital City’.
When completed, it’s hoped that the new offices will lead to the creation of thousands of new jobs in the digital sector.
Mayor Preston said: “There’s a lot of excitement, a lot of ambition and a lot of passion. I am resolute that we can do this.
“We’re creating somewhere of exceptional ambition, exceptional quality and exceptional power.”
Mr Preston is keen to ensure that sustainability is at the heart of the development, with a focus on making the finished development a pleasant and environmentally friendly place to live and work.
He said: “Lifestyle means everything to this project. We’re going to have a gym, secure cycle storage and residential properties next door.
“We have plans for a healthy green space and community farm amid these skyscrapers. There will be chickens, bees and vegetables, and volunteers will be getting involved with looking after it.”
The development is being jointly funded by the Tees Valley Combined Authority and Middlesbrough Council, who will provide the first £45 million in what will eventually be a £250 million scheme. Mr Preston has also opened the development up for private funding opportunities.
Office space is currently on the market for £18 per square metre. Work on the first stage of the development is due to start in August, with completion slated for 2022.