A £6MILLION-plus centre to house the next generation of low-carbon businesses on Wearside is ahead of schedule.
The new Washington Business Centre is being built for Sunderland City Council and is due to open in February.
A group of council officers and members visited the 5,200sq metre site, at Barmston Developments’ Turbine Business Park, next to Nissan, yesterday to see progress for themselves.
Council deputy leader Coun Harry Trueman said: “If we want to see businesses grow, then it’s very important that there’s space and premises for them to grow into.
“This Washington Business Centre is for the next generation of our businesses.
“All businesses start somewhere and need a base for their works. We and others are always looking to the next generation of city businesses, and here’s a good reminder on how Sunderland is open for to businesses and open for business.”
The European Regional Development Fund is footing half the £6.6million bill for the new centre, which will provide start-up space for more than 30 businesses and, hopefully, create or sustain more than 200 jobs.
Turbine Business Park is being developed by Barmston Developments, a joint venture company between Wilton Developments and Clugston Estates.
Barmston Developments’ James Scott said the mild summer had allowed the team to steal a march on the planned timetable.
“Sunderland City Council’s support of Turbine Business Park shows confidence and is a clear indication of the strength of support we have in this flagship business park,” he said.
“The Enterprise Zone offers unparalleled opportunities to occupiers. We are keen to work very closely with interested parties to ensure we can meet specific requirements and encourage others to relocate into the area.
“Discussions with a number of interested parties are progressing well, and I’m confident of further announcements shortly.”
The business centre project is being funded by Sunderland City Council with part support of more than £3.3million from the European Regional Development Programme 2007-2013.
The centre will have 24 offices and 13 workshop units to support 37 businesses, and is projected to create 155 jobs and safeguard a further 62 jobs.
Coun Bernard Scaplehorn, chairman of the council’s Washington Area committee, a said: “It’s good to see the centre taking shape as part of the Turbine Park development.
“This is more evidence that our city is a good place to do business in.”