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New city centre workspace to disrupt traditional thinking

Home Group

4 min read Partner content

The doors to the North-East’s most technologically advanced and thought provoking workspace were opened this week in Newcastle city centre.

One Strawberry Lane is expected to disrupt traditional thinking on office design, working and culture.

It’s the first workspace in the UK to be specifically designed for the new post-Covid hybrid way of working.

It’s also one of only 80 buildings in the world to receive Smartscore certification – the highest possible global accreditation for modern buildings.

The 70,000sq ft space is far removed from the traditional one-dimensional office design. It’s filled with spaces and furniture that support people to work and think differently.

Stitched into the fabric of its city and communities

Described as the city’s first ‘plug and play office’, all the technology in the building is designed to make life as easy as possible for users to allow more time for improved creativity and productivity.

The majority of the five-storey building in the St James’ area of the city is the new head office for Home Group, one of the UK’s largest housing associations.  But two of the five floors are being let to external organisations.

Unlike most offices in Newcastle, One Strawberry Lane’s ethos is for it to be stitched into the fabric of its city and communities.   

As well as boosting the city’s daytime and evening economies by around £2.5m per year with the migration of 700 of its 3,500 staff into the city centre, One Strawberry Lane aims to be an inclusive space which will bring organisations and city stakeholders together.

“Building like no other presently in the city”

The building will act as a central hub in support of the city’s voluntary, community and social enterprise sector (VCSE). And Connected Voice, which supports the Newcastle and Gateshead VCSE sector, will be  central to the hub when they move in this week.

Its 750 members will reap a range of benefits, including use of space to start-up or grow;  business development support; training and development, as well as funding advice and assistance.

Sharing best practice and collaboration will also be the focus for the like-minded businesses One Strawberry Lane is attracting to its commercial space.

One of the first tenants to benefit will be law firm Armstrong Watson, when they move in the spring. 

Mark Henderson, Chief Executive of Home Group, said: “This is a building like no other presently in the city. We are proud to be leading the way for things like SmartScore certification and to deliver the first purpose-built workspace for hybrid working.

“But, for me, what sets One Strawberry Lane apart above all else is the fact it will be integrated into its environment, working to support and interact with the city’s organisations, businesses and communities.

Real change for the local community

“Home Group has been rooted in the North-East for close to 90 years. We know this region, we know this city and we know its communities. One Strawberry Lane represents Home Group’s absolute determination to be ever closer linked into our communities. 

“And I hope our office is the beginning of a trend for city centre offices to be more open and welcoming to their fellow citizens and be a part of a vibrant city culture.

John Hughes, managing director of Ask Real Estate said: “We were determined to support Home Group’s aspiration to deliver a building which would be inclusive and reflective of its brand and values and which would deliver real change for the local community from the very outset.  It is great to now hand over this superb Grade A BREEAM Excellent office building knowing that even before the doors opened its delivery helped to support so many local community groups.  It really has set the benchmark for future projects of this kind.”

John Phillips, Regional Director for BAM Construction in the North East, said: “Creating these new facilities in the heart of the city has been a huge construction achievement.

“Putting the building design to one side, the technical and logistical challenges in the ground and around this plot were significant on their own.

“I’m delighted by the first-class attitude of a talented and creative team which not only mastered a complex construction challenge but also went the extra mile to generate so much money to people and charities around us. The kind-hearted team got involved with the community and at the same time, we’ve generated orders for many local businesses, created local jobs, and trained young people for future careers in an industry that truly needs them.

“I wish Home Group the happiest of experiences in these new facilities and I know many of the local community will be able to share this with them. BAM’s legacy from our partnership with Home Group is a highly sustainable new space in the city that will serve the needs of a great many people for a long time to come.”

One Strawberry Lane was designed by Ryder Architecture and DLA Architecture, developed by Ask Real Estate and built by BAM Construction.

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