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St. Modwen, the UK’s leading regeneration specialist, has bucked the current economic trend by securing full occupancy of its 44,000 sq ft Innovation Centre in Blackburn, just nine months after officially launching the scheme to the marketplace.

Aimed at growing enterprises in the medical and technology sectors, the centre is the first phase of the £25 million Evolution Park scheme, which will include 223,000 sq ft of office and employment space.

The centre, located next to the Royal Blackburn Hospital, has been designed to accommodate start-up and established businesses and offers fully-fitted suites upwards from 90 sq ft.

In addition to Blackburn with Darwen PCT, which has 9,748 sq ft of space on a five year lease at the site, and Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, smaller suites have been taken up by companies including management consultancy Alchemy Business Acceleration; Blue Door Solutions and Circino Flight Systems.

Richard Bakes, development manager, St. Modwen says: “To secure full occupancy of a scheme of this size in such a short space of time in a good market is great, but to deliver these results in the current economy is incredible. It really is a testament to the exceptional quality of accommodation we have provided at the centre.

“Because of the waiting list of interested companies wanting these facilities, we are progressing proposals to extend into the adjacent Fusion House. There is also an additional 8 acres available where buildings can be provided tailored to occupiers needs, and we are already discussing proposals with a number of companies on this basis.

“In addition to the strong take up of space, we are also experiencing high levels of demand, from organisations across the area, for the meeting and conference rooms which are available to hire.”

Carl Allen, managing director of Alchemy Business Acceleration, said: “The centre provides an extremely cost effective solution for start-up businesses. It provides friendly admin support, meeting facilities and serviced offices all built into the cost. I have already seen a saving of around £10,000 a year, which has made an impact on my profits.”

Stephen Sloss, director of adult social services for Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, said: “We are pleased to be in modern high quality surroundings where we will be in a great position to work with our partners in the NHS.

“The facilities also ensure that we will gain significant levels of workforce mobility and deliver a better service to people across the borough.”

Clare Todd, chief operating officer of Provider Services Unit, NHS Blackburn with Darwen, said: “The centre provides ultra-professional, friendly and supportive staff and the facilities provided are exceptional. Being in a position to offer such excellent working conditions is a testimony to how much we value our employees.

“The fact the council is moving in with us will pave the way for a more joined up approach to come and we look forward to a long and happy relationship.”

Notes to Editors:

Innovation Centres

Targeted at small to medium-sized businesses, Innovation Centres provide space where these companies can share their expertise with one another and in turn, receive support to encourage their ongoing business development. St. Modwen is rolling out a series of these Centres as part of ournational regeneration programme and have already opened three – at Cranfield, Longbridge and most recently in Blackburn.

Developed in partnership with Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, the Blackburn Innovation Centre provides over 44,000 sq ft of office accommodation and offers a dynamic and new business environment to serve Blackburn and the surrounding area.

It provides start-up and growing enterprises with a range of tailored office space solutions that range in size from 90 sq ft up to 2,000 sq ft. The Centre also provides a high quality, modern conference and meeting venue, complete with the latest contemporary facilities and level of service to match.

Next to the Centre, St. Modwen has also developed a “grow on facility” of 22,500 sq ft. This has been built so that, over time, businesses within the Innovation Centre as well as third parties can expand into these larger facilities without having to sacrifice the convenience of the location or the pro-active working environment that St. Modwen will have created.

St. Modwen Properties plc

St. Modwen is the UK’s leading regeneration specialist, operating across the full spectrum of the property industry through a network of seven regional offices and a Birmingham based head office. The company is wholly focussed upon regeneration with expertise in town centre regeneration, partnering with industry, brownfield land renewal and heritage restoration.