£5m expansion set to create 130 jobs
MORE than 130 jobs will be created at a major new office development.
The £5 million Innovation Centre 5 at Keele University Science and Business Park (KUSBP) is expected to entice international companies to North Staffordshire once it is up and running next year.
Design plans for the three-storey building, which will provide 30,129 sq ft of office and workshop accommodation, have now been unveiled by KUSBP and Staffordshire County Council.
The centre has been designed for high-tech research and development companies, with tenants benefiting from access to the university's academic facilities.
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Caroline Mairs, head of KUSBP said: "Over recent years we have seen a steady demand for office space here at Keele and every one of our existing properties has been in great demand since its opening, so it's the right time to be entering our next phase of growth.
"We're pleased to be working in partnership with the county council in developing the site, which will attract investment in the region by creating a convenient and thriving location for growing businesses."
Newcastle Borough Council granted planning permission for IC5, and construction is expected to be completed by summer 2014. Once negotiations to secure an anchor tenant for the building have been concluded, the rest of the office and workshop space will be leased out.
Around 650 people are currently employed by businesses in the park's four existing innovation centres and the Nova Centre enterprise hub.
The park's 42 tenants include Siemens, Koko Digital, Internet Central, Inspired Film & Video and NanoTherics.
Philip Atkins, leader of the county council, said: "At the council we're committed to ensuring North Staffordshire has a bright and secure economic future and this new development is essential to the continued regeneration of the area.
"The business park has established itself as a centre of excellence in a number of knowledge led-sectors in the region, making it the ideal location for this new development."
IC5 marks the start of the third phase of expansion for KUSBP, which will see a further 70 acres of land developed.
Wenslie Naylon, chairman of Keele Parish Council, said: "We may have had some concerns with the design of IC5 in the past, but we are in favour of the expansion of the science park. The borough needs the high-quality jobs this development will create, and we're hoping the new building will get tenants."