Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen has announced funding to kick-start the next phase of Middlesbrough’s Boho Zone, the town’s flagship development for digital and creative businesses, which could enable companies to create more than 800 jobs.
Boho Next Generation will provide another 10,000 square metres (107,639 sq ft), which is enough space to accommodate 830 new jobs.
The bold proposal put forward by Middlesbrough Council will create a direct response to the needs of growing companies in Tees Valley, especially in the existing Boho developments, which are seeking additional space in which to grow.
To meet the projected demand for space in the area, Mr Houchen has announced £100,000 of Combined Authority funding to develop plans for Boho Next Generation, which will have the added bonus of freeing up existing spaces for new and smaller businesses, as companies move to larger ones.
This investment will be used to fund feasibility work, concept drawings and site surveys.
Mr Houchen said: “The digital sector is a key business area for Middlesbrough, and our existing cluster of high-tech companies have already established a fantastic reputation, as well as a pipeline of skills in partnership with Teesside University and local colleges.
“There is not enough space in this quarter to accommodate demand, and this is leading to a bottle-neck, which means that affordable space for younger businesses is unavailable.”
“Digital businesses have told us that they are keen to explore the opportunity for long-term ownership of new premises. This would let them put down stronger roots in the area.
“This means a new model is required that will attract businesses, deliver new jobs with a long-term accommodation solution, financed through a combination of lease income and eventual sales, possibly on a lease-to-buy model.
“Teesside needs high-tech, highly skilled jobs and this development will create a range of work spaces in our thriving digital cluster, which supports the strategic investment and future ambitions of Digital City.”
The Mayor visited the Boho One building to make the announcement and took the opportunity to tour the offices of Animmersion, Ithica Films and Tech Track 100 listed firm Double Eleven, a leading games developer with an impressive client which includes Sony Interactive.
Dominic Lusardi, managing director at Animmersion said: “This is a welcome announcement and clearly demonstrates the Combined Authority is taking the digital sector very seriously.
“It is vital our area retain the very successful growing cluster of indigenous companies whilst supporting business start-ups.
“Animmersion and the digital sector are absolutely behind this proposal and I look forward to working closely with the council and combined authority to develop the detail.”