Trio of developments open in Sunderland

Hot on the heels of this month’s completion of the £6million Washington Business Centre at Turbine Business Park in Sunderland, two further developments are set to open their doors.

Adjacent to Washington Business Park, Gateshead College’s new Future Technology Centre is nearing completion. This multi-million pound research and development centre is owned and managed by a partnership of Gateshead College and Zero Carbon Futures and is supported by the Government’s Regional Growth Fund.

The centre is set to become a major development for the UK’s Low Carbon Vehicle sector, enabling the UK to fortify its position as a European leader in the development and implementation of these technologies.

“The Future Technology Centre is the first of its kind in Europe and will become a real demonstrator of e-mobility technologies, bringing together a research and development centre, workshop space, proximity to the UK’s only EV performance test track and office space to develop a low carbon community that promotes knowledge transfer and project collaboration.” says Dr. Colin Herron, Zero Carbon Futures managing director.

The Centre, which will be open for business this spring, is located in the heart of the North East’s automotive district. It will be home to academic research, automotive supply chain operations, skills and training provision to act as a springboard to real-world adoption of new and emerging technologies.

Adjacent business, Nissan, has also invested heavily in ultra-low carbon vehicle technology with the Nissan Leaf, the world’s first affordable, mass-market, pure-electric car which is produced at the Sunderland Plant. The company has also worked with Gateshead College to develop the UK’s first Skills Academy for ‘Sustainable Manufacturing and Innovation’ which is based close to its plant, and leases its on-site test track to the College for use as the Performance Track for the low carbon vehicle industry.

This development complements the new Washington Business Centre which was delivered by Barmston Developments, a joint venture between Wilton Developments and Clugston Estates on behalf of Sunderland City Council.

Offering 56,000 sq ft of offices, hybrid units and workshops over three floors, the Business Centre will provide incubator start up and expansion space to create or sustain more than 200 jobs. It has already attracted strong interest from potential tenants including enterprises in the training, consultancy, warehousing and ICT networking sectors.

It sits at the entrance to the £70million Turbine Business Park, with easy access to the A19 and A1231, and also offers electric vehicle charging points, showers and cycle storage so tenants can advantage of the good cycle route connections to the centre.

Built by GMI Construction and completed this month, the Centre was delivered with support from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). It is part of the North East Enterprise Zone which offers capital allowance benefits for occupiers, in addition to the easy in, easy out leases and competitive rents.

Councillor Harry Trueman, deputy leader of Sunderland City Council and chairman of the Washington Area Committee, received the keys to the centre from the developers.

He said: “The Washington Business Centre is fantastic new facility to develop Sunderland’s economy and grow jobs, not just in the new and expanding low carbon industry, but across a range of sectors.

“We are delighted with Barmston’s work in creating this stunning new building, and are confident it will quickly attract new and growing businesses creating new jobs and prosperity for Sunderland.”

Marking the hat trick of new developments on site, Greene King’s Farm House Inns branded pub restaurant opens next month, helping to ensure Turbine Business Park remains an attractive proposition for employees. It will provide a family leisure destination at the entrance to the site, and adjacent there is a further opportunity for the development of an additional 929 sq m of ancillary retail space.

James Scott from Barmston Developments: “With more than 9,000 employees in the vicinity the mixed-use entrance zone is an important element of the Turbine Business Park offer.

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