Take a look around stunning business centre revamp

New images reveal how a specialist Wallsend business centre has been transformed following a stunning £1.75million revamp.

North Tyneside Council’s project has seen the vacant upper three floors of the Centre for Innovation (CFI) at Swans, which opened in July 2016, refurbished to meet demand from the offshore energy and subsea sectors.

It comes after the council announced an exciting future for the historic former Swan Hunter shipyard site as a major asset to the local and wider economy by agreeing a deal to sell it to Shepherd Offshore, who have major plans for the facility.

The new partnership is the next step in a strategy by the authority and partners over the last few years to bring it back into economic use. It is part of a wider long-term strategy to build on the success and develop the North Bank of the River Tyne with partners as a world class destination for offshore and advanced manufacturing.

The work to transform the CFI, which was carried out by contractor Surgo Construction, has provided an additional 940 square metres of refurbished office and meeting room accommodation, creating flexible space for up to 10 businesses, a new car park and reconfiguration of the reception area. A balcony space has also been created providing spectacular views across the River Tyne.

It builds on the success of the first phase of the CFI, which provides 760 square metres of office accommodation. Current tenants include Swan Hunter and Walker Subsea.

Its enviable position within the River Tyne North Bank Low Carbon Enterprise Zone on the edge of Wallsend town centre has made it an ideal base for small and medium-sized businesses specialising in the advanced engineering, sub-sea, marine, oil, gas and offshore renewable energy sectors.

North Tyneside’s Elected Mayor Norma Redfearn CBE said: “I am delighted that the refurbishment of the Centre for Innovation at Swans has been completed.

“It has certainly been a challenging time, particularly as the pandemic struck just as the work was nearing its final stages, but everyone has pulled together fantastically to get the job done.

“This is a hugely exciting time for Wallsend after we secured an ambitious new future for the Swan Hunter site, which will bring new jobs and major opportunities for local people, and I look forward to welcoming lots of brilliant businesses to the CFI too.”

Surgo Construction’s director, Martin Blight, said: “Surgo Construction is delighted to have played its part in supporting North Tyneside Council in its ambitions for the borough by delivering a successful refurbishment of the CFI. We very much look forward to building on the strong working relationship that we have with the council and its team.”

North Tyneside MP Mary Glindon said: “It's good news that the refurbishment has now been completed and even better news that the work has resulted in what must be some of the most attractive office space on the Tyne, with splendid views up and down the river, as well as across the former Swans yard reminding us of our industrial heritage and spurring on new tenants at the Centre for Innovation to achieve even greater success.”

The project received £1.45million from the Government’s Local Growth Deal through the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (NELEP). The Local Growth Deal is supporting major capital investments to promote innovation, economic and skills infrastructure and sustainable transport as part of the North East Growth Deal.

Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government, Luke Hall MP said: “I am delighted that a £1.45m Local Growth Fund Investment has helped to put the former Swan Hunter shipyard site back on the map.

“The regeneration will help meet growing demands from offshore energy and subsea sectors, strengthening North Tyneside’s reputation as a national leader in these industries.

“It has also provided 10 local businesses with the space and resources they need to thrive.”

One of the businesses based at the CFI, Walker Subsea Engineering, is expecting to create new engineering jobs after being awarded funding to develop a new subsea motor. This includes design and build of a subsea motor, as well as providing specialist engineering design, structural analysis and operations consultancy to the offshore renewable energy sector.

Another business, newly-formed Trident Dynamics, is confident that with the support of the council, the North of Tyne Combined Authority and the Local Enterprise Partnership, that relocating to the CFI will help them realise their ambition to design, manufacture, operate and service support capabilities to the offshore energy, disaster response and defence sectors.

Working with leading academia the company also strives to develop education and training packages, helping to support jobs growth for the local area in new and emerging innovative low carbon technologies.

Businesses looking to explore the viability of the North East and UK markets can benefit from a comprehensive array of help and practical assistance to aid their company’s transition into the region.

Invest North Tyneside, the inward investment arm of North Tyneside Council, has joined forces with a range of private sector service providers to offer foreign and national businesses, currently based outside the North East, with an inclusive package of support including up to six months’ rent free accommodation in the Swans Centre for Innovation.

Additional benefits include discounted professional consultancy covering legal, accountancy and recruitment services, plus reduced rates for local hotels and serviced apartments.

Contact swans@northtyneside.gov.uk if you are interested in one of the offices, they will be mostly let on easy in, easy out terms. Find out more about Swans CFI.