BAM Construction has started work on One Strawberry Lane, the 70,000 sq ft head office for Home Group in the St James area of Newcastle City Centre.
Ask Real Estate is delivering the purpose-built HQ for the housing association having been appointed with BAM last year. The build programme is expected to support an estimated 400 construction and supply chain jobs during the project, bringing around £24m per year to the region.
Newcastle City Council has approved plans for the six storey office building which is designed by Ryder Architecture. Close to 700 of Home Group’s 2,600 strong workforce will move into the building when it opens next year.
The new head office will also act as a support hub for the city’s voluntary sector. Home Group is working with Newcastle Council for Voluntary Service to provide space and expertise, which will allow for enablement, collaboration and innovation in the voluntary sector.
The building, which will complement the continuing development in the St James area of the city, will house Home Group’s administrative and customer service centre staff in purpose built offices, as well as offer commercial space to let. Communal spaces and a café are also in the plans.
Tony Fitzgerald, construction director for BAM in the North East, said: “Building One Strawberry Lane for Home Group is the latest chapter in our long history of delivering some of the region’s finest buildings. It is great to have started on site especially under the challenging conditions we are all experiencing. We have created industry-leading safety standards for our construction teams and with the tight city centre site footprint and adjacent Nexus Metro Tunnel, we have used our digital experience and tools to safely design and plan the works.”
Home Group is one of the UK’s largest providers of housing, health and care with 2,600 colleagues supporting over 125,000 customers across 55,000 properties in England and Scotland.
Commenting on the commencement of the building programme Joe Cook, executive director of development at Home Group, said: “It has been a long-held aspiration of ours to create a superb new head office, something that will not only benefit our customers and the community but which will leave a lasting legacy for the city.
“The sustainability of the building in particular is extremely important and it will be one of the first new build commercial buildings in the area which is being designed with the ‘new normal’ return to work in mind. We want to reduce our carbon footprint as an organisation and our new head office, with its A grade Energy Performance Rating – the highest rating a building can achieve – will help us to do that. A range of energy saving and sustainable technology and materials are included in the design.”
The building is also expected to bring significant economic value to the city. Conservative analysis suggests that an additional 700 employees will boost Newcastle’s daytime and evening economies by close to £2m per year.
As well as delivering One Strawberry Lane Ask Real Estate is also behind the £260m arena-led Newcastle Gateshead Quays re-development and a 245 unit residential scheme at Tower Works in Leeds city centre.
Ask Real Estate Managing Director John Hughes said: “Breaking ground on a new site is always a landmark moment and we’re especially pleased to be underway at One Strawberry Lane which will deliver something truly special for the city of Newcastle. This building is designed with sustainability at its core and will not only provide superb office facilities for the Home Group team but will also include a wide range of community and commercial facilities for the local residents.”
The project team includes Project Manager and Quantity Surveyor Faithful + Gould and Planning Consultant, Lichfield.