A £1.75m project to breathe new life into offices at a historic North Tyneside shipyard has been completed.
New images show how the upper floors of the Centre for Innovation (CFI) in Wallsend has been transformed following a significant revamp.
North Tyneside Council’s project has seen the vacant upper three floors of the Centre for Innovation (CFI) at Swans, which opened in July 2016, refurbished to meet demand from the offshore energy and subsea sectors.
Part of the top floor was the penthouse suite where the Kroese family lived – the former owners of the Swan Hunter shipyard – and it was also home to the director’s boardroom, while the other floors were offices used by shipbuilder Swan Hunter.
Now the building is home to eight companies working in the offshore energy sector, including the likes of Swan Hunter NE, Rever Offshore and Walker Subsea Engineering, following a project to renovate the lower floors.
The second phase of the transformation provides a further 10,000sqft of space and meeting rooms, ready for another 10 more businesses.
The project’s completion comes after the council announced it had agreed to sell the former Swan Hunter shipyard site to Walker based Shepherd Offshore, which has major plans for the facility.
The new partnership is the next step in a strategy by the authority and partners over the last few years to bring it back into economic use, forming part of a long-term strategy to develop the North Bank of the River Tyne with partners as a world class destination for offshore and advanced manufacturing.
The work to transform the CFI, which was carried out by Newcastle building contractor Surgo Construction, has provided an additional 940 sqm (10,118sqft) of refurbished office and meeting room accommodation, creating flexible space for up to 10 businesses, a new car park and reconfiguration of the reception area.
A balcony space has also been created with spectacular views across the River Tyne.
North Tyneside mayor Norma Redfearn said: “I am delighted that the refurbishment of the Centre for Innovation at Swans has been completed.
“It has certainly been a challenging time, particularly as the pandemic struck just as the work was nearing its final stages, but everyone has pulled together fantastically to get the job done.
“This is a hugely exciting time for Wallsend after we secured an ambitious new future for the Swan Hunter site, which will bring new jobs and major opportunities for local people, and I look forward to welcoming lots of brilliant businesses to the CFI too.”
Surgo Construction’s director Martin Blight said: “Surgo Construction is delighted to have played its part in supporting North Tyneside Council in its ambitions for the borough by delivering a successful refurbishment of the CFI. We very much look forward to building on the strong working relationship that we have with the council and its team.”
The project received £1.45m from the Government’s Local Growth Deal through the North East Local Enterprise Partnership.
Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government, Luke Hall said: “I am delighted that a £1.45m Local Growth Fund Investment has helped to put the former Swan Hunter shipyard site back on the map.
“The regeneration will help meet growing demands from offshore energy and subsea sectors, strengthening North Tyneside’s reputation as a national leader in these industries.”