Ambitious Rokeby plans business park and hotel

A NEW £50m business park for the North-East is set to be developed on land in Stockton bought from excavator maker Caterpillar.

A NEW £50m business park for the North-East is set to be developed on land in Stockton bought from excavator maker Caterpillar.

Ambitious Rokeby Developments has bought the land on Queen Elizabeth Way from Caterpillar for an undisclosed sum.

The site, formerly a depot, has planning for business and general uses, but now the County Durham developer aims to develop a 200,000sq business park – which will be only a few minutes down the road from its existing Surtees Business Park at Bowesfield Lane in Stockton.

The scheme will involved 200,000sq ft of high- specification office space, as well as an independent day nursery and a pub hotel.

All in all, it will be the biggest project undertaken by Rokeby on Teesside. The first of the three or four-stage development will be released early next year.

Rokeby director Nick Fordy admitted that the company was being a little bold in bringing forward a new business park development at a time when the outlook for the property market is a little uncertain.

He said: “The market is all over the place. People are very nervous. Certain sectors are still OK, others are very worried. What do you do? All go and hide?”

He added: “The Stockton commercial property market still has good potential, so we are very pleased to have acquired this site in an established location where we have already completed a smaller business park development in 2005.

“There continues to be steady demand from corporate occupiers in Tees Valley given its excellent transport connections with access to the A19, A66 and A1 close to hand, as well as rail and airport links.

“In the next couple of months we hope to submit plans for a £50m office/business park which will also probably include some food outlets and a nursery.”

Sanderson Weatherall advised Caterpillar on the sale of the site and has been retained by Rokeby Developments as commercial agent for the new scheme.

Rokeby has enjoyed success with the Surtees Business Park scheme – attracting high-quality occupiers such as multinational engineering company Aker Kvaerner and fast-growing beer measurement business Brulines.

Rokeby Developments, based in Barnard Castle, has recently announced plans to take its retail-led business nationwide.

The firm, led by managing director Adrian Goodall, has been growing at an impressive rate in recent months – primarily in its North-East heartland – but is now expanding farther afield.

Mr Goodall’s fellow director Tom Naylor, based in London, is leading the drive to acquire schemes in the South of England and is bidding on a number of potential projects.

In the North-East, Rokeby has a 4.25-acre site next to Hexham station in Northumberland, and a scheme anchored by Morrisons supermarkets in West Denton, Newcastle.

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