All aboard for £20m Digital Campus ‘Two’

An artist's impression of the two new buildings on the right
An artist's impression of the two new buildings on the right
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Kevin McCabe’s company is behind plans for a £20m development on a prime site in Sheffield - in a strong sign of a resurgent local economy.

Scarborough Group, the Sheffield United owner’s property company, has submitted plans for two blocks which could house up to 1,300 workers in the creative and digital sector.

Dubbed ‘Phase Two’ of the Digital Campus, next to Sheffield bus station, work could start in May next year with the first building ready in 2017 and the second a year after.

Mark Jackson of the Scarborough Group said there was a “strong desire” to build speculatively - start construction without a tenant signed up - but they would make a final decision early next year.

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.”

The Electric Works, owned by Sheffield City Council, has covenants restricting occupiers to the creative and digital industries. Due to the recession they were not applied to Ventana House. It is occupied by a law firm, a call centre and a pension trust among others.

Mr Jackson said Phase Two would start out targeting the digital industries.

He added: “There’s a broad range of potential users and they will be good quality buildings in a quality location.

“There hasn’t been a lot of building in Sheffield and supply is tight and there’s some pent up demand.

“People get sick of doing nothing and want to get on with doing something. In my view, that’s a lot of what the recovery is about.

“Economies are ultimately all about confidence - and that’s coming back.”