Two big builds worth £24m set to start

Artist's impression of Phase Two of the Digital Campus
Artist's impression of Phase Two of the Digital Campus
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A £20m development on a prime site in Sheffield has been approved on the day another speculative build - on the Advanced Manufacturing Park - was announced.

Councillors on the planning committee approved plans for ‘Digital Campus Phase Two’ - two new blocks next to the Electric Works in the city centre.

They could house up to 1,300 workers in the creative and digital sector.

Plans were submitted by Scarborough Group, owned by Sheffield United owner Kevin McCabe.

Construction is set to start in autumn, with the first building ready in 2017 and the second a year after.

Mark Jackson of the Scarborough Group said they planned to build speculatively - start construction without a tenant signed up.

He added: “It’s a very strong location with excellent transport links. We believe in the location, the building and Sheffield.

“We would like to see pre-lets but want to get on with it. We think Sheffield is coming out of recession. It’s been a bit bumpy but it’s on a generally upward track.

“We completed the speculative build of Phase One - the Electric Works and Ventana House - at the height of the recession during 2010 and they were let within normal time scales with some quality tenants. It worked spectacularly.”

Electric Works is owned by Sheffield City Council and is home to nearly 50 creative and digital businesses.

Meanwhile, building and civil engineering contractor Britcon announced it had won a contract for the speculative build of a £4.2m technical centre on the Advanced Manufacturing Park in Rotherham.

Landowner the Homes and Communities Agency put the work out to tender.

Amanda Keeton at the HCA said: “The contract for this important building was let on a competitive basis and it is great that a local firm has won the work. The technical centre has become necessary because of the success of the AMP and the need to provide more space for high technology start-up businesses.”

Interest in the park is running high following a recent visit by American business guru Bruce Katz and plans to create the first advance manufacturing innovation district in the UK.

Working alongside AHR Architects and WYG Engineers, Britcon will deliver a building with five split-level workshops with shared office space. It will be marketed as an incubator for high-tech firms

Ian Chapman, regional manager at Britcon, said: “Our combined design and build capabilities and sector track record has qualified us, through a very strict tender process, to deliver a one-stop solution for the HCA.”

The firm expects to start construction of the new facility in March with completion in September.

The 100-acre AMP is home to the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, Rolls-Royce and Castings Technology International.