Gateshead contractor Robertson Construction starts on £7m development

The first new speculative commercial development in Gateshead since pre-recession times is underway

A CGI of the Portobello Trade Park in Gateshead
A CGI of the Portobello Trade Park in Gateshead

County Durham property developers have appointed a main contractor to construct the first new speculative commercial development in Gateshead since pre-recession times.

Durham-based Ravensworth Property Developments have appointed Robertson Construction as main contractor on Portobello Trade Park, a £7m project marking an important turning point in the changing fortunes of the region’s property market.

Set on a 6.5-acre site next to the A1(M) at Birtley, the trade park will provide 15 light industrial units specifically for SMEs, ranging in size from 2,100sqft to 23,000sqft.

Ravensworth was given the go-ahead to develop the trade park by Gateshead Council in July, having designed the scheme to respond to the lack of high quality stock available for new and expanding SMEs.

The North East Local Enterprise Partnership agreed to help fund the new build project by providing a £982,000 loan from the North East Investment Fund and Ravensworth has also received £2.75m from the European Regional Development Fund.

Geoff Clark, development manager at Ravensworth said: “Portobello Trade Park will provide long-awaited new industrial space for SMEs in an area that has a significant shortage of premises of this kind.

“Securing funding for this development is a vote of confidence in the North East industrial market which will hopefully spearhead further speculative development in the region.”

Gateshead-based Robertson Construction won the contract to build the trade park following a highly competitive tender process in which fifteen construction companies submitted bids.

Robertson’s managing director, Andy McLeod, said: “Winning this contract is great news for Robertson Construction and we are particularly excited to be working with Ravensworth Property Developments on such a significant project.

“Bulk earthworks have already commenced and the first foundations will soon follow, we anticipate that this project will support in excess of 200 jobs during the construction phase.”

Mr Clark added: “Robertson has a strong track record in delivering quality projects on brownfield sites and we are looking forward to working with them and the rest of the professional team.”

Ravensworth have appointed a number of local firms to assist in delivering the scheme including In Architecture, Artis Consulting and joint letting agents Naylors Chartered Surveyors and HTA Real Estate.

The steelwork is due to commence on site in October with units ready for occupation in June next year.

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