Businessman Andy Preston says there is real demand for Grade A office space on Teesside – after fully letting his own.
The high-profile entrepreneur and charity leader – along with a business partner – has already let almost 30,000 sq ft of space to a range of small and large companies after investing in two large buildings in Stockton.
Almost 7,000 sq ft of space was let to IT service management firm Pulsant, and recently they have let a further 10,000 sq ft to Dutch logistics company Den Hartogh.
But Preston is most proud of the Level Q office development he and his partner Gareth Cherry have completed, with 10,000 sq ft of the high-spec offices being let to a range of around 15 SMEs.
“Level Q is now fully let – and we’ve done it with top-of-the-range prices,” says Preston, who runs several other businesses as well as the Teesside Philanthropic Foundation and CEO Sleepout charities.
“We’ve managed to do that because we’re offering a top-of-the-range product.
And I think it’s evidence that, with the right people at the wheel, demand for this type of high-spec offices on Teesside can be realised.”
Preston says the idea behind Level Q came from a concept he’d seen in major cities by We Work, a New Yorkbased company that provides shared workspaces for technology start-up subculture communities, and services for entrepreneurs and freelancers as well as large enterprises.
He explains: “I’ve seen many very impressive developments by We Work.
They’re taking over the world, creating some fantastic facilities in global cities such as New York, London, Hong Kong and Sydney.
“It’s starting to spread to some of the very big cities – like Glasgow and Manchester – but they have a pecking order of where they want to be. They might go to Newcastle, but it will take several years. But they’re never coming to Middlesbrough or anywhere on Teesside.
“So I wanted to create something of equal quality for Teesside. And I think we’ve done it. I’m confident it’s the best office building anywhere in the North-East, and I’m really proud to have done that.”
Preston now hopes Middlesbrough, regarded by some as the city centre of the Teesside region, can follow suit.
“This really shows Teesside can take on the world,” he adds.
“There’s a big change in requirements for offices right now. While demand for large spaces in big buildings is on the slide, there’s an increasing interest in smaller offices in exciting workspaces with a real buzz.
“I’m letting space to international companies in Stockton, and I want to see this happen in Middlesbrough. The opportunity to attract them to the town centre is real.
“With the opportunities that are coming up, I think we have an amazing opportunity, and I’d like to see it go to the next level in Middlesbrough, whether that was by me or someone else.”
Preston Cherry recently completed the final phase of Level Q, which offered space for 40 people in offices of varying sizes.
The latest development, on the second floor, is aquarium themed, providing contemporary and stress-busting business accommodation.
The state-of-the-art Level Q offices boast facilities including a café, a small cinema and gym. Businesses also benefit from some of the fastest broadband in the area with around 1,000 MB capacity.
Bespoke inside space with picnic benches and artificial grass adds to the ambience of the workplaces, providing a unique environment to work, socialise and keep fit.
Preston Cherry offers traditional leases together with various levels of commitment, including hot desks and short-term agreements.