UK Land Estates has started the next phase of its multi-million pound refurbishment programme at Tyne Tunnel Estate.
The firm is continuing the trading estate’s revamp with the redevelopment of a 46,000 sq ft unit for rapidly-growing Chirton Engineering. The firm has pre-let the unit for an engineering and educational facility as part of its expansion plans.
Chirton Engineering began 10 years ago with four employees and now has 69 staff making equipment for the oil and gas and renewable energy sectors, with a global customer base including IHC Merwede, Oceaneering, and Proserv Offshore.
It has recently expanded into component manufacturing for manufacturers including McLaren, as part of innovation strategy with its core customer base.
The educational section of the building will provide training for apprentices with education support coming from North Tyneside Council, Tyne Metropolitan College, Tyne North Training and the UK Commission for Employment and Skills.
The facility will form part of the North East Advanced Manufacturing Academy (NEAMA), a ground breaking training facility which has cost around £2m so far, with money coming from Chirton’s Employer Ownership Fund, as well as significant support from key industry partners.
Chirton has also been successful in securing £200,000 in funding through the Journal-led Let’s Grow programme, to help in the purchase of new machines.
The firm previously raised RGF Round 1 funding and delivered all milestones in record time, including the creation of 19 jobs. This new grant and new premises will create a further 16 jobs.
The new unit will be stripped back to the original steel frame and built back up in modern materials that will surpass current building regulations.
Part of the scheme will include the installation of a biomass fuelled heating system to reduce Chirton’s carbon footprint.
Adrian Bartle, director of UK Land Estates, said: “We have worked extensively with Chirton Engineering over the last 12 months to fully understand their business and ensure they have the ideal premises to keep the company on course to double their turnover within the next three years.”
So far UK Land Estates has invested more than £2.4m into extensively refurbishing 12 of the smaller units on Tyne Tunnel, including new roof, external cladding, internal redecoration with new office area and doors. Work has also been completed on the former Marks & Spencer depot, which now offers a 103,311 sq ft manufacturing and distribution space with 6,568 sq ft of office.
Mark Proudlock, logistics and industrial associate at Knight Frank, added: “The refurbishment programme undertaken by UK Land Estates has generated a great deal of interest with a number of letting already completed including Office Team, Nitelites and Fox Head who took 5,750 sq ft each and Office Team taking 11,500 sq ft. The headline rent was £4.25 per sq ft.
“This level of interest, despite a challenging market, suggests that there is definite demand for the right product. The Tyne Tunnel Trading Estate is a great location being so close to the now dualled Tyne Tunnel and the Coast Road.
“The Tyne Tunnel Estate has always been a popular location being close to the A19 and the Coast Road but clearly the opening of the dualled Tyne Tunnel has transformed connectivity north/south of the river creating even stronger appeal for this location.”