It’s almost three years since UK homebuilder, Bellway plc, chose AirView Park as the location for its new national headquarters. The multi-million pound organisation was to become the site’s first anchor tenant, kick-starting Phase One of the 175,000 sq ft commercial office development next to Newcastle International Airport.
Construction on Woolsington House, a large, modern 22,500 gross sq ft, two storey head office building, soon got underway and in little under 12 months, the first of 80 staff were relocating from the company’s former offices at Seaton Burn to a new, semi-rural location on the outskirts of the city.
It’s a move that has certainly paid dividends since in terms of facilitating growth, jobs creation and operational efficiency. However, with several other North East development sites also in the running at the start of the planning process, what was it about AirView Park that stood out from the rest?
Paul Lawler, Group Head of Communications at Bellway, explains,
We knew that at the same time as supporting the company’s future growth plans, we were also creating the next phase of Bellway’s legacy and history, and after 30 years of being at Seaton Burn House, we needed a much larger, more modern office space that reflected the good aspects of our previous home but was better suited and very much reflective of a successful FTSE250 organisation.
“The previous head office was an old manor house which had several converted outbuildings within the grounds. Whilst impressive with historic features, it also meant from an operational aspect that staff were split across different areas due to the layout, and this created problems.
“We needed a new, forward-looking, state-of-the-art building that was fit-for-purpose and which fully supported collaborative working amongst our teams in a modern, open plan environment.
“Several commercial sites across the region were looked at but we came back time and time again to AirView Park, in part, because of the excellent transport links quite literally on the doorstep. The direct connectivity and ease of access to major road, rail, air and public transport routes including the A1 north and south, the Tyne and Wear Metro system, and Newcastle International Airport were a significant pull and a major factor that has now become integral and vitally important to the business.
“The level of accessibility and connectivity allows those travelling to and from head office, or to and from the company’s 22 regional divisions located the length and breadth of the UK, to do so with great ease and in much reduced time. Our national training academy is based onsite here too and this is widely used to educate and develop staff from all parts of the business so we need to be accessible to all.
“So, many take advantage of the domestic business routes that fly direct to London, Bristol, Cardiff and other parts of the country from Newcastle airport only a five minute drive away, and staff living locally commute back and forth using the Metro via Callerton Parkway station situated close by. They can be in the centre of Newcastle within 15 minutes’ travel time.
“Similarly, the A1 is a major route in and out of the North East and only a five minute drive away. It offers great links for both staff and visitors alike, and in addition, we have one main road coming in and out of the city centre, again an approximate 15 minutes’ drive.
“Other important factors were the semi-rural location with its parkland setting, open spaces and abundance of wildlife. It has a ‘park’ rather than a ‘business park’ feeling, and absolutely ticked all the boxes in relation to creating an attractive place to work in a strategic yet alternative location. Staff clearly benefit from the natural environment that surrounds us for wellbeing purposes and with the travel connectivity mentioned previously, we get the best of both worlds.
“Also, it was the development land itself and the potential for Bellway to grow further at AirView Park, meaning that the vision we have long-term can very much be delivered and realised with our heart still firmly rooted in Newcastle and the North East of England.
Woolsington House was completed in 2020, but due to continued success, sales and growth, the company is currently extending the building by adding a further 3,000 sq ft of extra floor space to support increasing staff numbers and growing operational teams.
As anchor tenant, Bellway is also due to welcome the first of many new neighbours to AirView Park as Phase Two (buildings a and b), the latest stage of the development, completes.
For more details regarding office space available (Phase Two) please contact:
Jess Ross at Naylors Gavin Black on t: 0191 232 7030, e: JessicaRoss@naylorsgavinblack.co.uk,
or to discuss bespoke build potential and future phases, please contact Tynexe Commercial Ltd’s Development Director, Mike Clark, via Mike Clark | LinkedIn