The transformation of Albert Road into Albert North is proving to be a regeneration success story with more than 40,000 sq ft let within 15 months.
The multi-million-pound project, which has breathed new life into Middlesbrough’s historic quarter, has welcomed a string of ambitious, growing companies and created a vibrant, collaborative business community.
Home to some of the town’s most iconic buildings, the area has benefitted from a joint approach to investment between Middlesbrough Council and local property and regeneration specialist Jomast.
Public relations firm Publicity Seekers relocated to Albert North six months ago and managing director Samantha Lee said: “Without a doubt, it’s the best decision we’ve made.”
Previously operating from a business park in Hartlepool, Samantha decided to make the move because she felt the town was going places, regeneration and investment were happening, and there was a definite buzz about the business community, especially its growing digital sector.
She was immediately attracted to 16/26 as it was precisely the bright and airy space Sam wanted.
“There are five of us in the team, but we are looking to grow so, with 1,000 sq ft, it gives us plenty of space to be able to do that,” she added.
“Since moving here, we have made many great connections, there are so many businesses based here and they all interact and collaborate. The impact on the business has been tremendous, it has opened more doors for us, we’ve won more work, and as a result, I will be employing more people.”
It’s this vibrant community and collaborative approach to working that inspired Samantha to launch Digital Teesside.
Born out of conversations with other digital businesses, it aims to bring the community together to raise awareness of what companies do and encourage collaboration.
“I would never have launched Digital Teesside if we hadn’t relocated to Albert North. The best thing about moving here is the community, it’s so nice to be amongst like-minded people. We felt out on a limb before, but we are now surrounded by businesses who are ambitious and motivated, which is positively infectious,” said Samantha.
Another business that is experiencing significant growth since opening a showroom at 21 Albert Road is interior design business Cocoon & Bauer.
The company, which provides high-end interior design services for commercial, residential and hospitality sectors, wanted a high street presence as the domestic side of the business was really taking off.
Managing director Peter Turner said: “I quickly identified Albert North was the best place to open our first showroom, the area was starting to have a real buzz about it and I could see it was an attractive place for business.
“Jomast were incredibly supportive of our ideas through the entire process and the end result is a luxurious showroom that feels like an apartment.
“The space has also allowed us to create various zones, including a kitchen, office and living spaces as well as themes that showcase our services and the quality of our work.”
Peter is especially delighted with the positive reactions received from customers about the showroom and highlighted the fact that the location has resulted in much higher brand awareness.
“We’ve won a string of new clients locally and much further afield off the back of the relocation. Recent commissions include work for high profile clients Michael Poole Estate Agents, Visualsoft, Carbon, Publicity Seekers and Mabo and we’ve also seen a surge in the number of residential projects for show homes and large private houses.
“Our work has also seen us expand into Leeds and Newcastle and we are also currently working with The Truffled Hog, a brand new deli and kitchen opening in Stokesley, and Goon Docks, a bar and tapas restaurant in Saltburn.
“What’s especially nice is we have worked with our landlord Jomast to design the interior of some of the new office space in 16/26 and their apartments and commercial units at the New Exchange Buildings in the Boho Zone.”
To meet the increased demand, the company is expanding the team and has recently recruited a CAD designer and administrative assistant.
It has also launched a Friday drinks club, which takes place at The Zetland in Middlesbrough on the first Friday of the month.
The purpose of the event is to bring people from right across all sectors of the business community together socially to chat and get to know each other better.
“The Tees Valley is a hotbed of growth at the moment, with such vibrancy, ambition and positivity and it’s fantastic to be able to contribute towards this and be part of it,” added Peter.
Mark Hill, commercial property director at Jomast, said: “Albert North is becoming a vibrant business community, and we are delighted to see so many of the businesses collaborating and supporting each other.
“All the space on the upper floors at 16/26 is either let or under offer and our focus is now firmly on filling the remaining ground floor units.
“There are five units available, all with newly installed shop fronts, suitable for a variety of uses such as a cafe, deli, restaurant, micro bar, retail outlet or offices. They vary in size from 750 sq ft to 3,500 sq ft and can be fitted out to individual specifications.
“Jomast’s vision for Albert North was to bring together a variety of businesses that complement each other to create a city vibe feel and we are really starting to see that come to life.
“We already have Pie Jackers and Alkaline Kitchen who are doing superbly well providing a food and beverage offer and Ananda Wellbeing, Middlesbrough’s first dedicated yoga and wellbeing studio, is also located here. As we expand on this the area will become a lively community that will be a fantastic addition to the centre of town,” added Mark.
A number of other relocations are also in the pipeline with recruitment agency Human Group returning to its roots in the coming weeks and there are other high-profile announcements in the pipeline.
Public realm work along Albert Road, which includes the replacement of all the street lighting and the installation of new trees and paving improvements, will be complete by spring and this will complement the whole area.
Tenants based at Albert North receive many perks including high-speed broadband, rent and rate incentives, free public health initiatives for staff and a city centre loyalty card offering discounts in local shops, bars and restaurants.
Businesses interested in locating to Albert North can contact Mark Hill, commercial property director at Jomast, on 01642 666942 for further information or to arrange a viewing or visit albertnorth.co.uk for more details.