The development of one of the North East’s largest industrial estates has taken a significant step forward after securing a multi-million pound infrastructure grant.
Highbridge Properties, the owners of Cobalt Park, the UK’s largest office park, last year announced a collaboration with North Tyneside Council to create Indigo Park, a new industrial site with the capacity to generate more than 1,000 jobs.
The 82-acre site on Sandy Lane, close to the A1 at Gosforth Park, is capable of accommodating in excess of 1.5m square feet of new manufacturing and distribution space, offering firms the potential to create sizeable operations in space that has been unavailable elsewhere in the North East.
Conservative estimates for the fully let park have been placed at £100m.
Since the announcement, computer generated images have been produced revealing how the finished park would look, while the scheme is also being heavily marketed to potential tenants through agents ES Group and Knight Frank, who are currently in talks with interested parties.
Meanwhile, North Tyneside Council has secured £4.32m in funding to build a second entrance, as well as create other road solutions and improvements.
The funding, to be spent over two years, will cover a new access road to the site, a new light control system to Sandy Lane, widening the existing road leading to the park, and making additional improvements along Sandy Lane.
Adrian Hill, director of Highbridge Properties, said: “This is a joint venture with North Tyneside Council and they have secured grant funding to build one new road and widen the other entrance, and that’s going to be done later this year.
“And creating that second site entrance is really important.
“Both roads will have improved junctions to Sandy Lane and it’s a really significant step forward.”
An indicative plan shows the potential for 10 large units, ranging from 41,900sqft to 509,900sqft, but there is potential to build bespoke units up to 1.5msqft, paving the way for a major investor to take on the entire site.
Developer Highbridge is offering land for sale or to let, and bespoke design and build opportunities.
Mr Hill said: “It’s going to be led by demand. We are talking to three parties and who knows if they will go ahead, but if they do they will take up a significant chunk.
“We’re delighted that the scheme is moving forward. Existing stock and existing buildings of this scale are disappearing and we are hopeful that we will be building to exact requirements – and we would love to bring new jobs to the region.
“One of the great things about Indigo is that it’s ready to go. We can build straight away, and quicker than anyone else.”
Neil Osborne, director of the Newcastle office of ES Group, one of the two agents marketing Indigo Park, said: “It’s full steam ahead. We’ve got an 82-acre site, we’re actively trying to get pre-lets and we are already talking to a few interested parties who are looking to locate in the area.
“We are generating calls. It’s fair to say we’ve had enquiries from manufacturing companies, distributions companies, and others across a whole range of businesses who have been struggling to find accommodation because there is a dearth of large sheds in the area and.”
Established in 1988, London-headquartered Highbridge has completed a raft of schemes including Newcastle Business Park and industrial projects at Peterlee and Sunderland, but in the region the firm is best known for Cobalt which has more than 12,000 employees.