World Heritage Site goes digital

Some of the world’s oldest industrial buildings have been chosen by a leading UK information technology company as the new location for their Midlands operations.

The relocation of GCI, which employees over 200 staff across the UK, marks a major milestone in establishing a ‘Creative Village’ at Darley Abbey Mills, a UNESCO World Heritage Site which features buildings dating from the dawn of the industrial age over 200 years ago.

GCI’s commitment marks a substantial success for owners Pattern Properties, who having rescued the buildings from the English Heritage ‘At Risk’ register are orchestrating a £1.2 million investment to create a new corporate quality office hub at the Grade 1 Listed historic mills.

In a deal brokered by Derby based agents Salloway Property Consultants, GCI have leased over 5,000 sq ft of highly individual offices located within a World Heritage setting.

Chris Taylor, Director at Salloway who represented owners Pattern Properties in the negotiations outlined:

“This is a landmark deal for Derby’s office market. The decision of a prominent and well respected company such as GCI to chose to relocate to the Mills is a real triumph of the quality of product that is now being offered at the location. The Mills are now a genuine alternative to the traditional office locations in Derby”.

In reviewing GCI’s decision to move to Darley Abbey Mills, Managing Director of Midlands Operations Paul Hayes commented:

“We were very impressed with the Landlord’s (Pattern Properties) commitment to invest in the project. We became convinced early that the offices proposed within the Mills would be outstanding, the provision of connectivity to the site was also a real necessarily for our business.”

The move comes after planning consent for use of the Mills as B1(a) Offices was granted in July 2014 by Derby City Council. Director of Pattern Properties, Andrew Rose is excited by what the deal could mean for the future of the Mills. He explained:

“The decision of Derby City Council in 2014 to allow us to renovate and convert the Long Mill for office use has enabled us to commence on the road to building a vibrant and sustainable future for these wonderful buildings. The council have been very supportive in providing heritage advice during the conversion works.

We have taken great care to restore the Long Mill as creative offices, removing inappropriate alterations from the 70’s and 80’s and retained all of the listed features that make the building so unique. We have two further floors to restore which will be available to lease in December 2015. Access to superfast broadband and the availability of quality bespoke fitout within a heritage building is really appealing to corporate organisations such as GCI”.

GCI’s relocation comes closely after advanced technology firm Brewer Science, design and marketing agency Fluid Ideas chose to base their operations at the Mills, leading Chris Taylor to conclude:

“This is a unique location offering corporate quality offices which is attracting creative businesses and firms in technology, media and telecommunications. We are hoping to announce the letting of further space very shortly”.