The next stage of the transformation of the Centre for Innovation (CFI) at Swans, Wallsend, has taken a major step forward.

North Tyneside Council has chosen Surgo Construction as the contractor for phase two of the £1.5million project, which will see the vacant upper three floors of the building transformed to meet demand from the offshore energy and subsea sectors.

The work will provide an additional 940 square metres of refurbished office and meeting room accommodation, creating flexible space for up to 10 businesses, a new car park and reconfiguration of the reception area.

It builds on the success of the first phase of the CFI, which opened in 2016 and provides 760 square metres of office accommodation. Current tenants include Rever Offshore, Swan Hunter NE Ltd and ALE Heavylift.

Its enviable position within the River Tyne North Bank Low Carbon Enterprise Zone has made it an ideal base for small and medium-sized businesses specialising in the advanced engineering, sub-sea, marine, oil, gas and offshore renewable energy sectors.

North Tyneside’s Elected Mayor Norma Redfearn CBE said: “I am delighted that a high-quality contractor has been chosen to carry out this important second stage at the Centre for Innovation at Swans, and we are delivering on our ambitions for North Tyneside.

“The facility has proven extremely popular with the offshore energy and subsea sector since it opened and the next phase will only strengthen the borough’s position as a first-class location for oil, gas, renewable and maritime industries from all over the world.

“Along with our thriving office parks and brilliant local businesses, North Tyneside is the place to be for businesses to grow and thrive.”

The project has received £1.39million from the Government’s Local Growth Deal through the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (NELEP). The Local Growth Deal is supporting major capital investments to promote innovation, economic and skills infrastructure and sustainable transport as part of the North East Growth Deal.

Andrew Clark, Energy Lead at the North East LEP, said: “This news comes hot on the heels of the Offshore Wind Sector Deal which was laid out by government earlier this month, and which will help drive the creation of more and better jobs in this important area of opportunity for the North East.

“Having first-class facilities such as the Centre for Innovation ready for potential investors is vital, and will provide an excellent addition to the already strong offer our regional cluster presents to the offshore sector.”

Surgo Construction’s director, Jeff Alexander added: “We are delighted to be working on behalf of North Tyneside Council, as it continues with its ambitious plans to support and attract businesses operating in engineering, marine and oil and gas industries to the borough.

“We will apply our extensive experience of projects of this type to deliver the project to create further modern office accommodation within the enterprise zone specifically for small and medium enterprises.”

North Tyneside MP Mary Glindon said: “It’s great that work on the second phase of development at Swans Centre for Innovation is getting underway and I would like to congratulate Surgo Construction for winning such a prestigious contract in the heart of River Tyne North Bank Low Carbon Enterprise Zone.

“I hope that phase two of this modern office accommodation proves to be as popular with the offshore energy industry, as phase one has been. The development shows just how hard North Tyneside is working to provide the best facilities possible to attract businesses to our borough.”

The second phase at the CFI Swans is due for completion in autumn 2019 – contact swans@northtyneside.gov.uk if you are interested in one of the offices, they will be mostly let on easy in, easy out terms.

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