Regeneration leader Wykeland Group has sold a range of business parks in Scotland and the North East to focus on growth in its “sphere of influence” in Yorkshire and the Humber.
Hull-based Wykeland, one of the region’s foremost commercial developers, plans to concentrate on its high-profile projects around the Humber and on opportunities across the wider Yorkshire area.
Wykeland has divested three business parks in Glasgow and a further three in the North East, totalling 180,000 sq ft of premises, as part of a focus on development of existing assets in Yorkshire and the Humber and to exploit further opportunities.
Current Wykeland projects include the fast-growing Bridgehead business park situated on the northern approaches to the Humber Bridge; the flagship @TheDock development in Hull’s Fruit Market; the Meltonwest business park, west of Hull; and the recently-opened £120m Flemingate mixed-use regeneration scheme in Beverley, which encompasses retail, housing, a hotel, cinema, restaurants, offices and a new, 65,000 sq ft campus for East Riding College.
Managing Director Dominic Gibbons said: “Our strategy is to focus our investments and resources on development opportunities in what we see as our sphere of influence, which is up to an hour and a half from our headquarters in Hull.
“We have therefore decided to divest those assets outside that radius. This frees up funds and internal resource and gives us a clear focus on maximising the many excellent projects and prospects we have closer to home.
“Yorkshire and the Humber has a critical role to play in building the Northern Powerhouse and is rich in opportunity. We are committed to continuing to create superb environments to enable businesses within the region to thrive and grow and which support entrepreneurship and enterprise.”
In the last three months of 2015 Wykeland completed £80m of developments, commenced a further £5m, gained detailed planning approval for another £20m and, in a joint venture with Beal Homes, signed a £50m partnership deal with Hull City Council to regenerate the Fruit Market area in Hull.
Wykeland’s latest investments include completion of a new-build, 16,000 sq ft office building at Bridgehead which will be the showpiece European headquarters for SGS International, a global leader in design-to-print graphic services to the consumer products packaging industry.
After completion of fit-out, SGS will relocate 120 people to Bridgehead, ensuring the fast-growing company can stay within the Hull area, having outgrown its existing premises in the city at Citadel Way and The Maltings, which are both being retained.
European Finance Director Richard Jones said: “Moving to Bridgehead gives us the space we need in a much better location. We have clients from all over the world and Bridgehead is so much easier to reach when flying into Humberside Airport or travelling by road from the south or west.
“It also promotes the right image for our business. Members of our executive leadership team from North America visited after completion of construction and said it matched their aspirations for our European headquarters. It’s an impressive, light, bright and ultra-modern building which will be inspiring for the people who work within it.”
SGS will bring the total employed at Bridgehead up to more than 500. Beal Homes, bathroom retailer Victoria Plum, the John Good Group of companies, and laser firm Rofin-Sinar are among other companies who have already moved to one of the UK’s greenest business parks.
Wykeland is also making rapid progress on two speculative office buildings at the £14m @TheDock development, which has the stunning Centre for Digital Innovation (C4DI) tech hub as its centrepiece. Having opened only weeks ago, C4DI has become recognised as a beacon and catalyst for the region’s rapidly-growing digital and technology sector.
The latest buildings are due to be complete in June, with one already under offer, and will form part of the regeneration of the Fruit Market as Hull’s cultural and creative quarter. Wykeland is also working with Beal Homes, as Wykeland Beal, to transform the Fruit Market, in partnership with Hull City Council, through the creation of new homes, art spaces, shops, bars and restaurants.
Mr Gibbons added: “Over recent months we have seen major projects such as @TheDock and Flemingate come to fruition after many years in planning and development, confirming our long-term view and commitment to delivering substantial, large-scale regeneration schemes.
“We have also delivered C4DI as a place where tech start-ups and established digital businesses can flourish and enable non-digital companies to find technological solutions to their business challenges.
“We’re excited about the opportunities we have, currently and in the future, to breathe new life into spaces and places, creating a legacy of renewal, jobs and prosperity.”
Wykeland Group Managing Director Dominic Gibbons, right, with SGS International European Finance Director Richard Jones at Wykeland’s Bridgehead business park close to the Humber Bridge