R G Carter to build £10.7m extension at University of Essex office village
Work on the latest £10.7 million phase of Parkside Office Village at the University of Essex will start early in 2022 after the appointment of R G Carter as the main contractor – and a new health & wellbeing facility is set to follow.
The new four-storey landmark building will open in 2023 and will have a total floor area of 3,764 sq m of high-quality office space. It is designed to be as flexible as possible so it can accommodate a large anchor tenant or be sub-divided into smaller units depending on demand.
Parkside is located on the Knowledge Gateway research and technology park at the Colchester Campus and is a hub for small and medium-sized enterprises which value the campus location and building connections with the university.
The new building will offer more opportunities for businesses wanting to move to the university’s Colchester Campus and take advantage of links to the university’s research community, graduate and student talent pool, campus facilities and business networks.
The new Institute for Public Health and Wellbeing will also be moving onto the Knowledge Gateway when it launches in 2022, offering new opportunities for partnerships.
Registrar Bryn Morris said: “We’re thrilled to see work starting on the next phase of Parkside and delighted to be working with R G Carter, which has overseen the construction of many landmark buildings in the region.
“This new building shows the momentum which is developing on the Knowledge Gateway and indicates our determination to drive business growth in Essex and the surrounding area as our regional economy looks to bounce back following the pandemic.
“We’re proud that businesses and organisations are attracted to Parkside due to our strong reputation within the business community and the close links they can develop with the university, including our research community and students.
“Of course, they can also enjoy the benefits of access to our campus facilities including cafes, shops, theatre, art gallery and sports centre.”
James Wilson, director and general manager at R G Carter added: “We are delighted to be collaborating with the University of Essex to deliver this exciting development which will not only benefit the university campus and local businesses but will also support wider economic growth across the county.”
The university has ambitious plans for further development of Parkside and is looking at creating another similar sized building focusing on health technology and wellbeing, including ageing and assisted living, preventative health technology and data analytics for health.
The South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) awarded the university a £5m funding package from the Local Growth Fund for Phase 3 of Parkside. One of the purposes of the project is to help retain highly skilled workers within the local economy who might otherwise move away from the area.
SELEP previously provided Growing Places Fund loan funding to support the earlier phases of development at Parkside, including £3.25m to support the initial phase of the development.
SELEP also provided £2m in LGF support to the Innovation Centre, Knowledge Gateway, which opened in Spring 2019.
The Innovation Centre is a partnership with leading operator Oxford Innovation and is designed to attract and support new and growing innovative businesses. These companies can then potentially move on to the Parkside Office Village to grow further, creating a sustainable business eco-system across the university site.