Wilton Centre's multi million pound process industries development to be first in UK
A leading north east science and business park is making a significant investment in a new development to nurture new business opportunities within the process industries that is the first of its kind in the UK.
Construction work is about to start at The Wilton Centre, located outside Middlesbrough, on the Wilton Centre Innovation Accelerator Incubator, a 10,000 sq ft fully integrated facility incorporating specialist laboratories and office space. The high specification development has been designed to meet BREEAM standards to ensure a high level of energy efficiency. The project is forecast to create 100 jobs and safeguard 75 in the region.
The new facility will house ten specialist laboratory/pilot plant units, with associated equipped communal laboratories and meeting rooms, as well as providing office space for SMEs working on new business opportunities.
It will also be the base for the Centre for Process Innovation's (CPI) Innovation Accelerator team of market sector specialists which will provide in-depth support in areas including market intelligence studies, negotiating the complicated area of intellectual property research, investment planning, networking opportunities, business planning and sources of funding.
The area will be ready for use before the end of the year, but the Innovation Accelerator team is already at work supporting process industry SMEs and the Wilton Centre Facilities Management (WCFM) team is providing short-term accommodation until the new facility is completed and operational.
The development, in a recently vacated area of the centre's Technical Development Area (TDA), is being funded by The Wilton Centre's owner with a contribution from the European Regional Development Fund via One North East as part of the Innovation Connectors initiative.
Chris Mitchell, Associate Director at LaSalle Investment Management, Managing Agent for the property, said: "The owner of The Wilton Centre welcomes the opportunity to invest in this unique incubator facility and service that will assist new process industry businesses to successfully develop their ideas and products.
"The development will add to the varied range of facilities already available here and the incubator residents will also benefit from The Wilton Centre's comprehensive service package. In the future we look forward to the prospect of successful incubator residents utilising the grow-on space available at The Wilton Centre."
Dr Mike Anderson who manages the Innovation Accelerator team says that the new facility is a very welcome development.
He said: "Our team has already supported over 25 process industry SMEs and we are really excited about this first custom built incubator for process industry SMEs in the UK.
"New companies developing their products and processes will save a lot of time and money by avoiding set up costs and being able to focus on their technology development in an environment with a huge amount of specialist support."
The area has now been cleared in readiness for the construction of a mezzanine floor, after which the main contractors will take over the site to complete the complex of facilities and services. A new entrance will be created on the south side of the building giving direct access from the roads and car parks at the rear of the Wilton Centre.
Building works are being managed by Dr Richard Short, WCFM's engineering manager, who commented: "We are delighted to be going ahead with this development. Our integrated Architectural and Engineering design team, led by TJ Hazell – Engineering Consultants, is looking forward to working with Hall Construction Services Limited and Mansell Construction Services Limited to complete this high specification, energy efficient project."
Further details of to the Innovation Accelerator are available at: www.innovation-accelerator.co.uk