A £250million project to establish Middlesbrough as the UK’s digital city, leading to the creation of more than 2,000 jobs, has been unveiled today.
The plans include building the highest office and residential towers for 30 miles as part of an initial £45million phase of the project that will transform Teesside’s skyline and lead to 1,000 new jobs in the digital and creative industries, rising to 2,000 jobs in future phases.
Middlesbrough mayor Andy Preston and Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen met 200 business leaders in Middlesbrough today to present the bold vision for the town which will benefit from the biggest single investment in Middlesbrough’s history.
Construction of the first phase, which will include three 20 storey-towers, will start next summer and create up to 400 construction jobs. It will see the creation of a digital campus, a 750-seat indoor amphitheatre beneath a glass atrium and a 400-seat outdoor amphitheatre to host events such as lectures, cultural events and entertainment.
Mayor Preston said: “For the next few years my obsession, my mission, my purpose on this planet is to get Middlesbrough on track as the digital city for the UK.
“This is a £45m first step of a quarter of a billion pounds scheme that will propel Middlesbrough on a journey to become the UK’s digital capital - bringing investment, jobs and prosperity to the town.
“The sky’s the limit if we think big – and that’s exactly what we’re doing with this project. All of the old perceptions of Middlesbrough are going to go out of the window.
“We want our existing digital businesses to grow, regional businesses to realise this is the place to be, and national and international businesses to be attracted here.
“We can do that by ensuring we have the best office space with the best facilities and environment, and the most positive mind set
”I don’t care what’s happened in the past with the empty promises. This isn’t another pipe dream that might happen in two, four or ten years’ time. This is happening now.
“We have the money and investors in place. Planning consent will be sought within weeks and construction will start next summer.”
Mayor Houchen said: “This is another transformational project for the Tees Valley which shows just what can happen when mayors work together. I’m delighted to support mayor Preston’s bold vision to develop Middlesbrough into the digital powerhouse of the UK – and send out a strong message that Boro’s on the up – literally!
“Our region is already home to some world-leading digital businesses and we’ll be able to offer cutting edge accommodation in the heart of the oldest part of Middlesbrough, bringing well-paid jobs to the town. This will be adjacent to two new residential towers, new shops and facilities which will make this a great place to live as well as work.”
The £30m office development is being joint funded by the Tees Valley Combined Authority and Middlesbrough Council. This includes £26.5m from the Combined Authority’s £588m Investment Plan which was agreed earlier this year and sets out a ten-year vision to transform the region. The council will contribute £3.5m, with a further £15m investment in residential accommodation by a third party consortium.
Mayor Houchen added: “This is the kind of exciting and bold project that our local authorities can deliver through the Combined Authority’s Investment Plan. Through the funding which was agreed in January, we have already bought Teesside International Airport and more than half of the developable land at the South Tees Development Corporation as we push on with transforming Tees Valley.”