The Reece Group has started to move the first of its engineering companies to Armstrong Works, after acquiring the iconic Scotswood Road site from BAE Systems in 2012.
Responsive Engineering – formed by a merger of Pearson Engineering Services and Responsive Engineering Group - has relocated its machining operations from the Team Valley to the new site on the banks of the River Tyne, along with its 80-strong workforce.
Over the next two years, the £200m turnover Reece Group will be investing £10m into the redevelopment of the site, transforming it into a state-of-the-art engineering facility with a production area alone occupying 7,000sqm and including the most technically advanced machinery available.
The new development, which the group believes will allow it to expand the range of work it can offer, also includes a modular office for more than 80 people and purpose-built facilities such as toilet and shower blocks, canteen areas and lockers.
The move comes as demand grows from the specialist services offered by Responsive Engineering, which provides sub-contract manufacturing for the oil and gas, subsea, power generation and defence industries.
Managing director Roger Anderton said: “The logistics of getting the site ready and the machinery moved has been an enormous challenge but one which has been both exciting and invigorating for everyone involved.
“There has been a tremendous effort from all those involved to achieve what has been a seamless transition of operations on to site and we definitely see this move as an excellent opportunity to further build upon our success.”
Since the purchase, Reece Group has created an experienced project management team to oversee the transition.
Previous owner, BAE Systems is releasing space in a phased exit and the Reece Group now occupies more than 65% of the site, which has a total footprint of 32,000sq m.
Around 95% of the upgrading work has been sourced from North East companies, with more than 228 contractors inducted on site during the last six months.
Chairman of the Reece Group, John Reece, said: “Armstrong Works is a location synonymous with engineering innovation and the arrival of the first Reece Group Company on site marks a major milestone in our ambition to create the most capable Tier 1 engineering supplier site in Europe.
“The huge expanse of available space provides the opportunity not only to unite our portfolio of innovative and award winning engineering companies but also to give them the capacity and scope for future growth in a climate conducive to innovation and creativity.
“Our substantial investment is testament to our commitment to securing the future of engineering in the North East and it is a privilege to be able to continue the engineering and manufacturing legacy created by Lord Armstrong more than 167 years ago.”