A topping-out celebration has marked the latest milestone in the construction of the landmark £10.7m Parkside office development on the Knowledge Gateway research and technology park on the University of Essex’s Colchester Campus.
The Grade A, 41,571 sq. ft. office is the largest headquarters style office currently under construction in the eastern region and will be ready for occupation later in 2023.
Representatives from Colchester City Council, Tendring District Council, South East Local Enterprise Partnership and Essex County Council joined the University’s registrar Bryn Morris and the project team including contractor R G Carter to mark the completion of the core structure.
Once completed the ground floor will be home to the University’s world-leading Institute of Public Health and Wellbeing with the rest of the building aimed at commercial tenants and designed to be as flexible as possible so it can accommodate a large anchor company or be sub-divided into smaller units.
Mr Morris said: “We’re seeing increasing demand for office space at our Knowledge Gateway research and technology park with a string of new tenants moving into our existing Parkside offices since the beginning of the year and the business community at the Innovation Centre continuing to expand.
“I am delighted to celebrate the progress we are making on this landmark building which will allow us to accommodate growing demand for office space on the Knowledge Gateway.
“We are looking to forge strong links with companies joining our Parkside community. They benefit from being able to connect with our research community, student and graduate talent, wider business network, business support programmes and of course quick access to our on-campus facilities including our award-wining parkland.
”I’m really pleased our partners joined this topping-out celebration as our University is committed to working with them to drive economic growth in the region.”
John Turpin, Project Manager at R G Carter, said: “We are delighted to have reached this important milestone in the construction of this innovative office development at the University of Essex.
“We very much enjoy a traditional style R G Carter topping out; it’s a great way to celebrate and thank everyone that has been involved with the build so far. We look forward to seeing the positive impact the project will have in supporting future local businesses and wider economic growth on completion.”
In 2020, the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) awarded the University a £5m funding package from the Local Growth Fund (LGF) for this latest phase of Parkside.
Agents for the University are speaking to a number of interested parties about potentially moving into the building.
Ewan Dodds, Chief Executive Officer at Whybrow, said: “Having been appointed by the University of Essex since the first days of the inception of the 45-acre Knowledge Gateway, we are so excited to see this new 41,000sq.ft Grade A office building, the third phase of office development to date on the scheme coming to fruition and with completion due in Q3, we are already seeing exciting occupier interest being generated.
“This landmark building occupies a commanding position at the main entrance off Clingoe Hill and potential occupiers will have the added draw of developing close working relationships with the departments and educational excellence the University provides which will be hugely beneficial to their businesses.”
Ben Le Coq, Associate Partner, Commercial, Carter Jonas, said: “This versatile and exciting space is attracting interest from occupiers keen to base themselves in an established and vibrant business hub, with modern accommodation that appeals to employees looking for buildings with green credentials – a key component to attract and retain staff. With just a few floors remaining, we expect to announce a full line up of occupiers over the coming months.”
Sarah Dance, SELEP Chair said: “It is fantastic to see this building nearing completion at Parkside, the whole Knowledge Gateway area of the University has a great energy and buzz and this new building will provide larger spaces for growing and more established companies, complementing the eco system of small and new start-up companies and the expertise of the University. The University of Essex has great connections with the business community and this is being strengthened through developments like this at Parkside and especially the new Public Health and Wellbeing hub and the tenants which will locate here.”