Business & Invest | Published on: 3rd January 2023
In 2022, the region’s Year of Construction, many vital projects were completed spanning the length and breadth of the Tees Valley – with many more kicking off. Here are some of the biggest schemes that have been driven forward this year – representing hundreds of millions of pounds of investment – to help create good-quality jobs for local people, support businesses and industry and make our area an even better place to live.
The Teesside Freeport, the UK’s largest and first operational Freeport, was officially opened for business. Covering 4,500 acres at sites across every part of the region, the zones give business incentives to supercharge the region, create thousands of jobs and drive billions of pounds into the economy. It is already attracting companies, with Korean firm SeAH Wind Ltd beginning construction on its £450million offshore wind monopile factory at Teesworks’ freeport zone.
Construction crews are well under way on the new link road to boost connectivity to Teesside Airport’s new £200million business park. The business park will be located on 270 acres of land at the south side of the airport and made up of 1.9million sq ft of logistics, distribution and industrial buildings. It is expected to create up to 4,400 jobs when fully operational.
All of the region’s biggest stations are seeing huge improvements to futureproof our transport network. New platforms, an entrance, multi-storey car park and much more will be created as part of Darlington’s £140million-plus transformation with demolition work taking place now. In Middlesbrough, construction is continuing to bring back the dilapidated undercroft into use with a modern new entrance and revamped ticket hall building. A new second platform is being installed at Hartlepool to target capacity constraints, a new car park and footbridge will provide access to Eaglescliffe station from the west while step-free access is being created at Billingham for wheelchair users and those with mobility issues.
This £8million facility is the latest to be based at Central Park in Darlington, already home to CPI’s National Biologics Manufacturing Centre and Teesside University’s National Horizons Centre. The facility features 45 Grade A offices and five labs, all designed to help businesses grow, with operator North East BIC making the space a collaborative hub to complement its neighbours’ offering.
It’s lights, camera…action on the three-screen Regent Cinema in Redcar. A 21-strong team of local people are working to drive forward the £9.6million attraction, which is showing all of the most recent blockbusters. The cinema threw open its doors in October, with the Art Deco inspired venue replacing the building that had been there since the 1920s, launching as The Pavilion Theatre.
This four-storey 40,000sq ft Grade A office building is being developed on a formerly vacant site at Centre Square near Melrose Street. It has already attracted tenants ahead of its completion next year, with insurance company AXA UK set to move more than 450 staff into the development to help it grow further. The building will help boost town centre regeneration, with the whole Centre Square project estimated to boost the local economy by more than £120million.
The Tees Valley helped build the world with its iron and steel, but its rail innovation made it more connected than ever. To recognise the impact of the Stockton and Darlington Railway, Darlington’s Head of Steam museum will be transformed into a Railway Heritage Quarter with refurbished buildings, a live engineering shed, an immersive experience including holograms and static displays to make it a world-class visitor attraction. The work is due be complete in 2024, in time for the railway’s bicentenary celebrations in 2025.
A new food grade manufacturing facility is now being developed by research and product development organisation CPI. The facility will work to create alternative proteins and nutrients as part of the drive for new ingredients, supporting the UK National Food Strategy. It’s expected to boost the economy by £12million, supporting and creating 50 jobs and apprenticeships.
Teesside University, the Materials Processing Institute and Tees Valley Combined Authority have partnered to create a new innovative research and development facility at TeesAMP, Middlesbrough. Next year will see the opening of the facility, supporting the development of an internationally recognised Net Zero Technology Cluster, with SME incubator, labs and campus to support the ambitions of the sector.
Work to demolish the old Swallow Hotel and Castlegate Shopping Centre began this year, as part of an ambitious plan to redevelop Stockton’s High Street, tying it closer to the river. The waterfront development programme is due to be complete in 2025, creating a leisure space that everyone can enjoy, giving people reasons to visit the town for more than shopping.
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