Millions of pounds are flooding into North East businesses as work gathers pace on the next phase of Middlesbrough’s prestigious Centre Square development.
Contracts worth more than £4.8m have been awarded to a dozen companies located within 50 miles of the construction site where Six Centre Square is beginning to take shape.
When it is finished next year the four-storey 40,000 sq ft Grade A office building will accommodate 450 staff employed by AXA UK. Around 1,000 people are already working for the international and national businesses who have moved into the first two Centre Square buildings and outline planning permission is in place to build a further three.
Mark Ashall of Ashall Projects, the developer of the Centre Square scheme, said it is having a major impact on the local economy: “We are seeing new jobs created and people whose jobs have been secured because businesses no longer need to move out of the Tees Valley to find the quality office space they require.
“Town centre shops, restaurants and bars will continue to benefit from the influx of all of these office workers and – with the use of local contractors – similar benefits are rolling out across communities in the Tees Valley and North East.”
Bowmer+Kirkland – which has a North East base on Wearside – has been chosen as the main contractor for Six Centre Square. It was the also the main contractor on the earlier stages of the development.
Its North East and Scotland Regional Director Ed Besford said: “We are delighted to again be working with Ashall Projects on such a high-quality scheme which is transforming the centre of Middlesbrough and generating so much benefit for the local economy.” One of the biggest sub-contracts has gone to the Topside Group in Billingham. It worked on the first two buildings, providing the glazing and features such as the distinctive fins on Two Centre Square which appear to change colour when viewed from different angles.
“We’re really proud to be part of this project,” said Craig Curry, who owns Topside with fellow director Stephen Prior. “You could take this development and put it in any city centre and it would look fabulous. Centre Square is already a real success story. The new buildings are bringing in some great businesses and that will have a knock-on effect attracting more businesses and generating real growth.”
The Centre Square contract, alongside other prestigious projects, means Topside is constantly recruiting. It already employs more than 50 people and is currently looking for a quantity surveyor, operators and back-office staff. “Centre Square is not only helping to maintain our level of work it’s also allowed us to take on extra people.”
Topside helped create the eye-catching look of the recently opened Northern School of Art in Middlesbrough; the award-winning Curve building at Teesside University and Thirteen Housing Group’s riverside head office. Further afield it is working with Bowmer+Kirkland on two landmark buildings in Newcastle – the 14-storey Bank House office development and the Stephenson Building at Newcastle University – and has completed projects at two of rugby unions top clubs: Leicester Tigers and Saracens.
Topside is due to be working on the Six Centre site in May. The building is being funded and bought by the Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority. Middlesbrough Council is also contributing a £2m grant from its Towns Fund allocation which was provided by the government as part of the levelling up programme.