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Build & Sustainability

First occupiers revealed following multi-million-pound office refurbishment

The first two lettings have been finalised at one of Newcastle’s most modern workspaces following the completion of a 12-month renovation.

Once the home of Newcastle Building Society, Portland House, which launched late last year in the city centre, has welcomed two businesses that together will occupy more than 20 per cent of the building.

Specialist maritime and international trade solicitors, Mills & Co, which has taken a ten-year lease, is relocating from its current base at Milburn House to a 5,574sq ft suite.

A five-year lease has been agreed with Begbies Traynor Group, which is also moving from Dean Street and is taking up a new suite of 3,025sq ft.

The professional services business incorporates Begbies Traynor Insolvency and Restructuring, BTG Financial Advisory and Eddisons Property Services

The lettings have been secured as more and more businesses are investing in better quality amenities and accommodation for their staff in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

James Keegan, one of the developers behind the transformation, said: “We warmly welcome Mills & Co and Begbies Traynor Group to Portland House and look forward to them taking advantage of the many features and amenities we’ve invested in to provide occupiers with an exceptional workplace experience.

“Following the lockdowns and slow return to the office, it has never been more important to work in an environment that inspires people and helps attract as well as retain talent.”

The redevelopment focussed on adding green and wellness features including biophilic installations, carbon neutral flooring, basement parking with electric car charging stations, e-bike chargers and a bike repair unit to help with safer commutes.

For cyclists the building also offers a drying room, storage lockers as well as hotel-standard showers with hairdryers and vanity stations.

The team behind the transformation of Portland House has also developed a bespoke building app for access control which also enables food deliveries from local vendors, bookable workplace services including dry cleaning, and visitor management using unique QR codes to ensure site security at all times.

Gillian Sayburn, partner at Begbies Traynor Group, said: “We are excited about the move to Portland House as we continue to grow our business in Newcastle and across the North East.

“Over the last 24 months we have seen an increase in clients seeking advice across the range of services Begbies Traynor offer from insolvency and restructuring, financial advisory and the property-related services that Eddisons offer, including building consultancy, valuation and agency “

Lawyers for Portland House are currently working on more leases with occupiers who will fill the majority of the property in the coming months. Other enquiries are being dealt with regarding the remaining workspaces.