More than 600 new jobs could be heading for South Staffordshire, it has been revealed by inward investment chiefs.
Tony Joynson, Project Manager at InStaffs, predicted a boom time for the area after visiting the £4.5 million Dunston Business Village, perceived by many to be the most technologically advanced accommodation in the West Midlands.
The state-of-the-art scheme, which is being developed by Adrian MacLaughlin, is set in the grounds of a disused farmstead on the A449 and will eventually provide over 64,000 sq ft of ‘Grade A’ office space.
Disused for a number of years, the site was originally going to be developed as seven luxury houses until the Penkridge entrepreneur stepped in and convinced South Staffordshire District Council to turn it into employment land.
“It was a wise decision and one that we believe could add an extra £50 million to the local economy when full,” said Mr Joynson.
“This is not like any other development we’ve seen in the county for some years and this is being reflected in the level of interest from potential occupiers.”
He added: “The first phase, which is roughly 12,000 sq ft, is completely let and features companies, such as Manvik (waste management), Corrosion Control and recruitment specialists PSR.”
Dunston Business Village also welcomed its newest tenant last week when EG Solutions moved into an 8,000 sq ft purpose-specified office.
This will become the software specialists new head quarters and will provide a home for over 40 employees.
Adrian, who also runs AJ Business Solutions and AJ Contract Services, said: “When I looked around the farmstead I quickly saw the potential to create something completely different in the marketplace – it would have been a dreadful waste of resources to have turned this site into seven houses and to have demolished the vast majority of the farm buildings.
“We created a company – Concordia Property Developments – to purchase the land and set about designing high quality office space that combined the rustic charm of the barns and agricultural buildings of the farmstead with the latest technology.”
He added: “This is what we have achieved with the first phase. Companies moving in have access to tranquil courtyards, stunning views of open countryside and office buildings that still exude the character of the original buildings – many dating back to the 1800s.
“Importantly, they also have access to state-of-the-art technology and communications, including a 100Mb leased line for the ultimate in high speed Internet access and a top of the range telephone system.
“Extensive CAT 5 cabling throughout ensures even the most IT resource hungry companies are fully satisfied and with an innovative day and night circuit to minimise energy usage, the site is more than proving its green credentials. We even operate an entry card system that texts you to tell you that you’ve left the door open.”
In addition to state-of-the-art facilities, Dunston Business Village also provides serviced office support, assistance with ‘greening’ your company and a groundbreaking Intranet.
The latter gives occupiers the chance to monitor CCTV images of their premises from home, inter-trade with other tenants and even report site issues and place orders with staff working on the scheme.
“We wanted this site to be completely different and this is reflected in the attention to detail, from the high quality tiles and bird boxes to the plans we have in place to landscape the surrounding area with a forest and lakes,” said Adrian.
“The interest in the site has been immense and we are currently in negotiations with a number of domestic and international clients to pre-let some of the future offices being built.”
Mr Joynson said: “Dunston Business Village, which starts at £12.50 per sq ft, will put South Staffordshire on the map. In addition to being a ‘Grade A’ office destination, it is also using local construction workers and making sure that a large slice of the £4.5 million investment is spent within a twenty mile radius.”
The project will be completed by May 2009 and also offers entrepreneurs the chance to own virtual offices and use meeting rooms onsite.