The developers behind a prominent new workspace, currently being refurbished in central Newcastle, are investing in a series of green initiatives after securing £750,000 of grant funding.
Portland House, located opposite the Laing Gallery, will launch this summer with 60,000 sq. ft of Grade A office space, complete with a range of measures designed to promote sustainable modes of transport. The building will feature cycle racks, bike repair stations and charging points for electric cars and bikes. Internally, occupiers will benefit from biophilic installations and anti-viral and air purifying paint which will improve air quality.
The grant for the former headquarters of Newcastle Building Society, has been funded through the government’s Getting Building Fund, established to kick-start the economy, create jobs and help areas facing the biggest economic challenges as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
James Keegan and Oliver Holland identified Portland House as a prime opportunity to reposition the city centre office building to better suit modern day occupiers whose requirements have evolved in recent years. The duo purchased the building in 2021 and set about an extensive redesign with national office fit out specialists Ultimate Commercial Interiors who commenced a multi-million package of works in November.
Developer James Keegan said: “The way we work has changed in recent years and the pandemic has been a catalyst for many businesses to re-evaluate what their staff really need. Our vision for Portland House has always been underpinned by a desire to create an inspirational place to work. The grant will enable us to invest in a range of eco-friendly features such as carbon neutral flooring and LED lighting with motion sensors to create a more sustainable building and healthier working environment.”
The North East Local Enterprise Partnership is managing £47m awarded through the Getting Building Fund to support capital investment across the North East. Portland House is aiming to create 65 construction jobs as a result of the refurbishment programme, and it is estimated that 495 jobs will be accommodated within the building after launching in the summer.
Andrew Moffat CBE, Chair of the North East LEP Investment Board, said: “As we start to build back from the coronavirus pandemic, it’s essential that infrastructure projects support the UK’s drive to net zero, and provide opportunities for people to adopt more sustainable and environmentally-friendly working practices.
“The redevelopment of Portland House demonstrates how targeted investment from government’s Getting Building Fund is helping the North East bounce back and ensure the region is at the forefront of the UK’s green industrial revolution.”
The developers recently announced that they are partnering with technology provider Office App to provide occupiers of Portland House with touchless building access, removing the need for access cards. The app will also allow occupiers to book desks and meeting rooms in the communal space for themselves and their guests.