22 December 2003
The Newcastle office of WYG has secured another two contracts in Newcastle’s city centre with a combined value of £30m.
Both buildings form part of the St James Gate development on the site of Newcastle’s old Cattle Market. The developer, Irish firm McAleer & Rushe from Cookstown, has already completed Jury’s Inn at St James Gate with an office development on an adjacent plot also nearing completion.
The commission comprises a £15m apartment block, 12 storeys high with retail units beneath and a second office development which is eight storeys high, providing 80,000 sq ft of top quality office space.
The Newcastle office obtained the lead from its Belfast office, which has an ongoing relationship with McAleer & Rushe in Ireland.
Work began in March on the apartments, a shell and core contract which has a build programme of 58 weeks. The office building will follow on from the apartment block and is likely to be ready for occupation in spring 2005, subject to planning consent.
The buildings incorporate practical sustainability design features for which WYG is well known in the region as a result of its innovative approach on a number of major schemes. Consideration is given to the orientation of the building, natural light, solar energy and rain water harvesting - the objective being to develop the ideal systems design, so that the building’s heating, lighting and cooling systems can be minimised without detriment to the comfort of the building users or the environment.
Two separate WYG teams of six consultants and support staff are employed on each project, led by M&E expert, associate director Paul Newby. He said: “The contract is progressing well with the accommodation element having recently been sold to Persimmon Homes who want us to undertake the fit out of the apartments for them. This is a further 20-week contract for us, which is great news.
“The office accommodation will feature solar water heating and rain water harvesting and we will be using free cooling, a process that doesn’t use refrigeration but rejects heat into the ground. The resulting benefits of the climate control system will all add considerably to the attraction of the office space for occupiers.”
Stephen Surphlis, director of McAleer & Rushe is delighted that construction work is progressing well on what he hopes will be the first of many schemes in this part of the world. He says:
“We have worked with WYG before in Ireland and we knew we could rely on them to work with us on our first scheme in the region. Their depth of resource and knowledge of leading edge, M&E systems is second to none.
“Things are going so well that we have secured one tenant and are in advanced discussions with a second who would take the remainder of the space in the first office block. We have submitted a planning application for the second for which there is already considerable interest.”
The idea is to achieve a visual link and flow through from Times Square to the development. Once complete, along with the recently opened Jury’s Inn, the massing of the new developments will dramatically alter the skyline in what was formerly, a run down area of the city.
Other members of the project team are: Urban Innovations – master planner and lead liaison for McAleer &Rushe, the Newcastle office of Dewjoc – architects with McAleer & Rushe carrying out all building work.