Wed 26 Feb 20
The South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) has awarded us a £5m funding package from the Local Growth Fund (LGF) for Phase 3 of the Parkside Office Village on the Knowledge Gateway research and technology park.
This latest phase will extend the highly-successful Parkside Office Village to offer more space for businesses wanting to co-locate at the University’s Colchester Campus an anchor tenant.
University of Essex Registrar Bryn Morris said: “We’re really grateful SELEP is backing our ambitious plans for the Knowledge Gateway. This will create high-quality new office space which we think will be very attractive to businesses keen to link with a top university at the forefront of key sectors including data analytics, artificial intelligence, robotics and life sciences. We are proud to continue to drive forward the knowledge-based economy in north Essex – creating new jobs and opportunities.”
One of the purposes of the project is to help retain highly skilled workers within the local economy who would otherwise move away from the area after graduation. There are currently 25 businesses located at Parkside Office Village, collectively employing 270 people, 34 of whom are graduates or students of the University of Essex.
The aim with Phase 3 is to secure an anchor tenant to occupy the entire building, which will be a four-storey structure with a total area of 4,771sq m. Thanks to its design flexibility, the building could alternatively be sub-divided into 14 smaller units suitable for smaller businesses.
SELEP Chair Christian Brodie said: "We have already seen how high the demand is for these units, with all units constructed in Phase 2 of the project pre-let before the site even opened. SELEP is confident that market interest will remain high among businesses for Phase 3, which will in turn help create and retain a culture of highly-skilled graduates finding employment within the area."
Overall, the £10.5m project is expected to deliver up to 300 jobs by 2022. SELEP previously provided Growing Places Fund (GPF) loan funding to support the earlier phases of development at Parkside, including a £3.25m GPF loan to support the initial phase of the development.
SELEP also provided £2m in LGF support to the Innovation Centre, Knowledge Gateway, which opened in Spring 2019. The Innovation Centre is a partnership with leading operator Oxford Innovation and is designed to attract and support new and growing innovative businesses. These companies can then potentially move on to the Parkside Office Village to grow further, creating a sustainable business eco-system across the University site.