Translating research into world-class businesses

THE concept of a Science City followed the announcement by Gordon Brown, when he was Chancellor, that six locations would benefit from Science City status.

Demolition work on the former Scottish & Newcastle Brewery in the centre of Newcastle is proceeding at a rate of knots, with the next phase expected to start within weeks. Gordon Hewling, of GVA Lamb & Edge, is part of the team leading the process.

THE hub of Newcastle Science City is being created at a landmark site in the heart of the city, the former Scottish and Newcastle Brewery.

The Newcastle Science City Partnership of Newcastle City Council, regional development agency One NorthEast and Newcastle University are working closely to transform the area into a new flagship for the city on its largest development site of this century.

The project to demolish the brewery is being carried out in three phases, project managed by our building and project management consultancy (BPMC).

Phase one, which includes work across most of the 19-acre site, is well under way. The major buildings have now been demolished, and extensive re-grading works are being carried out, to be completed in early December.

Phases two and three, for the areas fronting St James’ Boulevard, will begin in the next few weeks and run through to Spring 2008.

The project for Newcastle Science City has involved representatives of our development, consultancy and valuation teams separately advising the city council throughout its initial lengthy negotiations with S&N.

Those negotiations concluded successfully, the property management team then advised on the next phase until tenants could be relocated and physical works begin.

The project management team also includes HBS Business Services Group Ltd (quantity surveying), Mott McDonald (structural/technical advisor) and Newcastle City Council Engineering and Design Services (procurement). The project has kept to its timetable and budget since the beginning of March this year.

The scale of demolition works is vast and needs to be completed in less than 12 months, with the site prepared for immediate development.

John Hellens (Contracts) Ltd has been responsible for the phase one works. This scheme is recycling much of the material it is demolishing, with rubble being used as hardcore for the new development.

Property at the edge of the brewery has been bought to help consolidate the site and maximise development opportunities.

Newcastle Science City aims to strengthen the long-term economic development of the city and the preparation of the brewery site for construction is key to its success. Managing time and maintaining quality during this important demolition phase of the works are essential.

:: Gordon Hewling is head of the building and project management consultancy team at GVA Lamb and Edge.

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Keeping up with future needs

THE on-going redevelopment and regeneration of Newcastle’s Discovery Quarter, which includes Science City, is a major opportunity for the continuing evolution of the city.

Discovery Quarter represents a great chance to make significant progress as Newcastle continues to put forward its case as a major UK location to rival cities across Europe.

Development so far in the 95 hectare quarter has been infrastructure-led, with the new St James’ Boulevard acting as an extension of the inner City West route.

This has opened up several development opportunities which have seen the creation of offices, hotels, leisure facilities and some residential development.

This is the beginning of the transformation of a large, vacant and underused, brownfield site – but to make the most of the opportunity, two key issues need to be addressed:

What is the type of development most applicable for the long-term which will sustain employment?

How does the Discovery Quarter relate to the policy of integrating development across the key sectors of housing, commercial development and leisure?

These are important questions because the city’s history shows that, in the past, building and development addressed a fairly certain future of maybe 100 years.

Today, the horizon is very much closer and the trends and issues are changing much more rapidly. Therefore, solutions need to be found that are flexible and address future as well as current needs. Future development must address the critical issues of the day such as land use, access, car parking and even possible road charging.

By bringing both public and private sectors together, we can energise the debate about the long-term considerations.

Science City is an exciting concept. There is intriguing thinking taking place about long-term considerations, and the change we have seen is very much the beginning of the Discovery Quarter.

It is a huge area, with potential to yield up to 15,000 jobs. As a result, it is a key component of the Regional Economic Strategy.

:: Gavin Black is a partner at Gavin Black & Partners, sits on the board of the City Centre Partnership and is a member of the City Centre Working Group.

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Translating research into world-class businesses

THE concept of a Science City followed the announcement by Gordon Brown, when he was Chancellor, that six locations would benefit from Science City status.

The aim of the initiative is to help translate Britain’s world class research into jobs and businesses. The initiative is designed to bring together universities, regional development agencies and other partners to facilitate the translation of research into new businesses.

My firm has been working with master planners EDAW to work up development proposals for the former Scottish and Newcastle Brewery site, which is set to become a core location in the development of Newcastle Science Central.

We believe that the North-East can attract world class facilities and businesses, driven by the excellent reputations of the universities in the region.

We have been working with Newcastle City Council, Newcastle University and One NorthEast, and their analysis shows that demand for accommodation will come from a range of sources which could include existing businesses expanding, new inward investors and indeed new start-up businesses which "spin-out" of the university.

The research undertaken indicates strength in sectors such as life sciences, nano and micro, environmental technologies, energy and digital technologies.

The brewery site offers Newcastle a unique opportunity to develop a high quality scheme, which will help to further drive the local and regional economy through the provision of a well-located site. The proximity to the city centre, university and the Centre for Life make this an exciting project.

The development is likely to include a vibrant mix of uses including science and technology buildings, offices and residential with supporting leisure and retail.

King Sturge believes the site has the potential to provide more than three million sq ft of development.

:: Atam Verdi is a partner in regeneration consultancy at King Sturge.

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