Esh Construction delivers £1.7m historic refurb to fuel Teesside start up growth

A Grade II listed building has been converted on behalf of Teesside University.

Refurbishment of a 129-year-old building, which will support Teesside University students, graduates and staff to start and grow new businesses, has been completed by Esh Construction.

The £1.7 million renovation of the Victoria Building saw major internal refurbishment and external repair works undertaken to transform the space into an enhanced business hub at the heart of Teesside University’s enterprise zone.

The Victoria Building is central to the University’s mission to create opportunities for its students and graduates, and to support the continued economic growth of the region.

Formerly used as a school when constructed in 1892, the project was commissioned to restore the buildings heritage features and create an industrial-looking and open-plan space. Removal of the suspended ceilings has revealed the impressive scale of the original windows, while externally, a specialist steeplejack restored the roof and chimney in line with the building’s Grade II listed status.

To create the industrial look, low hung lighting and exposed pipework is a key feature throughout while careful use of fabrics and colour have been chosen to complement the space and light in the building. On the upper floor, the original parquet flooring and wall tiling has been revived, bringing the Victorian-style features into the 21st century business space.

Gary Dobson, Divisional Director at Esh Construction, said: “We are pleased to handover the newly refurbished Victoria Building to Teesside University. It has been great to see the team re-invigorate the buildings key heritage features and provide a new bright and vibrant business space in Middlesbrough.”

Mayor of Middlesbrough, Andy Preston, said: “Middlesbrough wants to see even more exciting new jobs and life changing career opportunities. For this to happen on a massive scale we need inspiring institutions and great places to work from – Teesside Uni and The Victoria Building do this for us.

“They’ve played a direct role in the creation of almost countless jobs and businesses. Thank you, Teesside Uni, and also thank you to Esh Construction for the phenomenal improvements to The Victoria Building you have brought about.”

Responsible for the management of the new business space is Teesside University’s Head of Enterprise, Steve Dougan. He said: “This building has always been about more than just space. It is a hub around which an entrepreneurial community spins. This refurbishment has created a truly unique and innovative base camp for a new generation of entrepreneurs to set out on their journey. In delivering this project Esh have consistently gone above and beyond, in challenging circumstances, and the results speak for themselves.”

The revamped hub provides a 32-seat commercial co-working space, an incubation space with 12 starter offices and a dedicated video games studio accelerator with space for six start-up studios. A new micro-manufacturing wing will provide five workshop spaces, one of which will become home to a refugee community bakery project.

More than 400 start-ups have been created in the Victoria Building over the last 20 years, many of these businesses have gone on to grow and create hundreds of high-quality jobs in the region. 

Middlesbrough wants to see even more exciting new jobs and life changing career opportunities. For this to happen on a massive scale we need inspiring institutions and great places to work from – Teesside Uni and The Victoria Building do this for us.”

Mayor of Middlesbrough, Andy Preston
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