Construction is nearing completion on a new structural showpiece for Hull’s thriving tech community.
The three-storey sister building for the Centre for Digital Innovation (C4DI) offers space for specialist businesses to grow and traditional companies to innovate.
The £3.75 million investment is the latest major addition to Wykeland’s @TheDock tech campus in the Fruit Market creative quarter, with the unveiling coming after Tech Week Humber placed the spotlight on the city’s credentials.
David Donkin, property director at the Hull-based firm, said: “This new tech hub sends out a very strong signal of confidence in the city’s economy, and post-Covid recovery.
“It will provide a platform for innovative digital businesses to start up, scale up and collaborate with established companies to seize the many growth opportunities technology offers.
“During the pandemic digital technology has been a key enabler of business continuity. Now, following the disruption caused by Covid-19, the tech sector will be to the fore in driving the region’s economic revival.”
It is envisaged it will allow for the creation of around 160 new highly-skilled and highly-paid tech jobs, with the first suites available from next month.
Wykeland asset manager John Gouldthorp added: “This new building will provide the capacity, facilities, shared spaces and world-class connectivity that will enable the tech community to continue to flourish and support digital transformation and growth.
“We’re in discussions with potential occupiers and look forward to welcoming new businesses to the collaborative C4DI community.”
The new 20,000 sq ft building has ground-floor parking for 25 cars, including two electric car ports, and a secure cycle unit, with two floors of offices above. Suites range from 200 sq ft to 17,500 sq ft.
The building is of striking design, featuring glazed brickwork, light bronze cladding and glazed stairwells. It is described as enhancing the quality of office buildings in the city, and it also has strong environmental credentials, with a BREEAM sustainability rating of very good.
Wykeland, also behind a similar concept scheme in Northallerton, has worked closely with Hull-based principal contractor Hobson & Porter to ensure construction has continued with minimal disruption, following the introduction of Covid-secure working arrangements.
John Connolly, managing director of C4DI, said: “The tech sector is vital to enabling the growth of traditional businesses and helping ensure their resilience.
“The digital community in Hull has continued to grow during and since lockdown, with a number of businesses taking further investment rounds, many more continuing to hire and all of them recognising there is a world of opportunity in a time of uncertainty, which is when tech entrepreneurs work best.
“The new building provides space for this growing sector and also a vital collaboration space where traditional companies can come together to learn about the technology, tools and processes that will help their businesses to grow.”
The project has been supported with almost £1.3 million from the Government’s Local Growth Fund, secured by the Humber Local Enterprise Partnership, as part of the Northern Powerhouse commitment.
Stephen Parnaby OBE, Chair of the Humber LEP, said: “We are delighted work is nearing completion on C4DI’s new technology hub.
“The new hub will enable more digital and technology start-up firms to begin operating in the Humber, while offering even more space for established SMEs to expand and grow.
“The digital and technology sector is a hugely important part of the business landscape both in Hull and across the wider Humber region, which will continue to drive the region’s growth as we recover from the economic impact of Covid-19.”
It is the latest phase in a transformation of a previously derelict area, with the wider Fruit Market area now a vibrant urban village and magnet for investment.
Regional Growth and Local Government Minister, Luke Hall MP, said: “I am pleased that we have been able to support the expansion of C4DI. This development is an important addition to the Fruit Market – which has seen the area transformed into a creative hub in recent years and a place local people can be proud of.
“With the creation of up to 160 new highly-skilled jobs, this will help to boost the local area and attract even more inward investment.”
Alongside, the £13 million showpiece head office for Arco, the UK’s leading safety business, is due to complete next year, with a 350-space multi-storey car park to be ready by the end of this year.