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Race starts for prestigious design centre space

Posted: Thursday 8th September 2011

North East creative businesses are expected to be vying for a place in a £9.9m Tyneside design centre after Gateshead Council started accepting applications for studios.

The brand new Northern Design Centre, under construction in Baltic Business Quarter at Gateshead Quays, is hotly tipped to be the location of choice for creative businesses in the region. The four-storey centre is expected to create almost 150 jobs.

Gateshead Council have agreed how businesses could apply for space in the Northern Design Centre, at a Council meeting. The fully serviced studios, ranging in size from 170 sq ft to 5000 sq ft, come complete with free access to Gti - one of the fastest broadband internet services in Britain.

Applications for the Northern Design Centre are open to new and established creative businesses such as advertising and marketing agencies, photographers, designers, product developers, service designers, software and web developers. Attractive incentives for three-year leases will be offered.

In addition to these leases, there will also be a range of incubation studios allowing new-start businesses to occupy space on flexible terms and a full range of conference, meeting and exhibition suites.

Leader of Gateshead Council, Mick Henry, said: “We recognised some time ago that there is significant pent-up demand for high quality space specifically tailored to the area’s blossoming creative industries. The Northern Design Centre is intended to go some way to plugging that gap and is a hugely significant investment in Gateshead.

“We know that interest in this project has been very high from the outset and we are expecting to hear from lots of businesses who want to work in this fantastic new environment. I think that, within a very short space of time, the Northern Design Centre is going to become a real hotbed of creativity that can make a big contribution to the region’s economy.”

The Northern Design Centre is already lined up to become the new home of Design Network North, an innovative project to improve the contribution of design to the regions economy, which has already provided a £7m boost since its 2009 launch. Design Network North is run by RTC North, an independent company specialising in innovation.

Gordon Ollivere, CEO of RTC North, said: “Design Network North has grown to almost 500 members in the two years since it launched, which shows there is a real hunger for support, networking and knowledge sharing. We’re really excited to be a part of the Northern Design Centre, and are looking forward to seeing DNN grow even more as members make use of the facilities and opportunities for collaboration.”

The project has been awarded £4.95 million from the European Union's European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) Competitiveness Programme 2007-13. The ERDF programme is bringing over £300 million into the North East to support innovation, enterprise and business support across the region. This business premises facility is being commissioned as part of the Solutions for Business portfolio.

The Northern Design Centre will also boast charging points for electric vehicles as part of the network of charging points being created across the borough by Gateshead Council. Gateshead Council, in partnership with One North East, is heavily involved in the ‘Plugged in Places’ initiative to provide the infrastructure needed for privately owned electric vehicles.

Businesses interested in taking studio space at the Northern Design Centre can contact Gateshead Council 0191 433 2815 or by emailing|

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