Plans submitted for @TheDock investment to drive tech cluster growth

Wykeland Group has submitted plans to complete its @TheDock tech campus in Hull’s Fruit Market creative quarter to accelerate the growth of one of the UK’s leading digital clusters.

The Hull-based regeneration company is proposing to develop two further buildings totalling 31,000 sq ft of offices, co-working and meeting space at the @TheDock development.

The multi-million pound investment is aimed at reinforcing Hull’s status as a centre of digital excellence and providing the space and facilities for tech companies to continue to collaborate and grow.

The highly-successful @TheDock scheme, which has the C4DI (Centre for Digital Innovation) tech hub as its centrepiece, is currently fully occupied, with many tech companies growing fast and in need of more space, and others keen to benefit from the unique collaborative community.

Around 200 start-up or scale-up tech firms are based at C4DI, or closely linked to it. @TheDock is also home to digital innovation teams from prestige businesses such as Arco, the UK’s leading safety company, and global defence and security leader Saab.

The proposed expansion would provide space for many of these businesses to grow and create more highly-skilled digital jobs.

A planning application submitted to Hull City Council proposes the new buildings sited to the north and the west of C4DI, on what is now a car park.

Facilities would include high-quality 'Grade A' offices, co-working spaces for digital freelancers and specialists, meeting rooms and conference space, all with ultrafast gigabit internet connections.

The additional space would enable C4DI to host more events and education programmes for small and medium-enterprises (SMEs) and expand its support services and incubator programme to develop tech start-ups and scale-ups.

More room would also be dedicated to cutting-edge work being undertaken on key technologies such as the Internet of Things – interconnected networks of devices, vehicles and home appliances.

David Donkin, property director of Wykeland Group, said: “@TheDock has proven to be hugely successful, transforming a derelict dry dock site into a thriving community of tech-based innovation and enterprise. It has provided a focal point for the tech sector in the city, with C4DI recognised as one of the UK’s leading digital hubs.

“However, C4DI and @TheDock have been fully occupied for some time and there is now substantial pent-up demand from new start-ups to established tech businesses that need space to grow.

“This further investment will add to the hundreds of highly-skilled and well-paid jobs already created on site, while also making a major contribution to the exciting regeneration of the Fruit Market quarter and wider city centre economy.”

John Connolly, managing director of C4DI, said: “The additional space will enable C4DI to expand its mentoring and support services significantly and continue to develop our successful model of bringing together fast-tech start-ups with traditional businesses that need access to advanced digital skills and expertise.”

The new buildings would have ground-floor parking for 43 cars, electric car ports and cycle storage, and two floors of offices above. The ground floor of the western block would also house a small retail unit on the corner of Queen Street and Humber Street.

Together with C4DI, the new buildings would surround a central plaza. A new entrance, via Humber Street, would be built on the alignment of historic Queen’s Alley, a former Old Town thoroughfare.

If approved, construction would start next summer, with completion estimated in spring 2020.

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