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5 December 2023

End in sight for external works on £8.7m The Pattern Shop redevelopment in Tyneside

Significant progress has been made by Robertson Construction which has successfully kick-started work on the iconic Pattern Shop redevelopment in the heart of Newcastle.

Work on the £8.7m office scheme stalled earlier this year after the collapse of the previous contractors Tolent. However, work resumed on the Forth Street site earlier this autumn with the scheme now on track to complete early 2024.

Joinery, mechanical and electrical works are in the final stages and groundworks including drainage and building services installation have paved the way for surfacing works to complete in the next few weeks. The remaining external curtain walling sections are being installed with the internal fit out set to take place early next year, ready for its first occupants once tenancies are agreed.

Although the building will contain new facilities, its character will remain intact thanks to some of the building’s original windows and floorboards being preserved as visible nods to the building’s heritage. Preserving key features of the structure has also ensured that 98% of waste has been diverted from landfill. 

The Pattern Shop scheme marks the fruition of the first phase of development delivered through the partnership of igloo Regeneration with Thriving Investments (part of the Places for People group) and Newcastle City Council.

As The Pattern Shop reaches its final construction stages, igloo is also confident that 2024 will herald the start of its neighbouring scheme The Pioneer which is a major feature of Phase 2 of the developer’s masterplan. The 100,000 sq. ft office development has been designed by RIBA Stirling Prize-winning architectural practice, Allford Hall Monaghan Morris.

Also adjacent to Newcastle Central Station, The Pioneer is a bold BREEAM ‘Excellent’ design scheme, technologically advanced and, like the Pattern Shop, is on a site that is also steeped in industrial heritage.

Agents Knight Frank have been appointed to secure a pre-let partner for The Pioneer which is located on the site of George and Robert Stephenson’s first purpose-built locomotive factory. Its prominent position at the gateway of Newcastle’s historic city centre site is ideal as a flagship office that offers flexible floor plates for its occupants. Tenants will also benefit from a range of features including a double height reception space, outdoor terraces on every floor and a spectacular rooftop terrace with 360-degree panoramic views of the city and the River Tyne.

Newcastle City Council cabinet member for a Thriving City, Cllr Alex Hay, said: “This area of the city, adjacent to Newcastle Central Station is a strategically important regeneration site that is central to the council’s plans to create employment opportunities for the residents of Newcastle.

“That’s why I am delighted that this building is nearing completion as it will be home to small and medium sized businesses creating in the region of 200 jobs.

“The Pattern Shop played a key role in the industrial revolution in the same way it will play a key role in the next revolution with clean, green, companies creating good quality jobs of the future.”

Pippa Heron, development manager at igloo, said: “We are delighted to see the progress that has been made by Robertson on The Pattern Shop and how it’s transforming a forgotten site into a truly iconic building for the city. We are now back on track, with many eye-catching features such as the mezzanine structure complete. This will be a signature feature of the scheme and signals our intent to make The Pattern Shop a key anchor in the continued renaissance of this district.

She added: “Visible progress of The Pattern Shop is also boosting overall confidence in the wider development and once complete, all eyes will turn to The Pioneer, another exemplary scheme ready to make its mark on the city.”

Patrick Matheson, Partner from Knight Frank, agents for both The Pattern Shop and The Pioneer, said: “The vast majority of occupiers are now focusing their property requirements on highly sustainable, inspiring office spaces. We are seeing occupiers using their offices as a strategic business tool to significantly enhance their staff’s experience, collaboration and wellbeing.

“As we move towards 2024, we expect this trend to continue and The Pattern Shop, with its incredible history, character and very strong environmental credentials, will be well placed to deliver a superb workspace in the very heart of Newcastle city centre. We hope its success will then ignite further interest in The Pioneer and this thriving heritage business quarter.”

Garry Hope, managing director, Robertson Construction North East, added: “The transformation of The Pattern Shop is well underway. Alongside the delivery of a Grade A work environment for the city, we are delivering real social value that will benefit the surrounding community now and in the future.  

“The Pattern Shop played a pivotal role in the history of the North East, and will once again host innovators and creatives, sparking change and supporting the drive of local and regional economic growth. Next stop – early 2024, when this iconic building will be full steam ahead and back in business.”

Office and workspace already in the district include Central Square, with its neighbouring hospitality businesses, including the Crowne Plaza hotel and Spa, Gin Bar, The Boiler Shop music and events venue, 5 Quarter Café & Bar and The Arches Beer Street MicroPub and Bottle Shop.

A programme of community wealth building activities is also being delivered through the project, bringing further benefits to the area socially, economically and environmentally long after the redevelopment is complete. 

Through the delivery of health & safety workshops as part of the Prince’s Trust programme and strong engagement with local schools including site visits and skills development training, Robertson has been supporting young people with meaningful career development opportunities. In the past six months, across projects within the city and at The Pattern Shop, Robertson has hosted 20 apprenticeship weeks of work on site.