Pictured (l to r): Ros Stacey, Connect Derby operations manager; Alan Smith, head of economic growth at Derby City Council and Ann Bhatti, head of Connect Derby.
Pictured (l to r): Ros Stacey, Connect Derby operations manager; Alan Smith, head of economic growth at Derby City Council and Ann Bhatti, head of Connect Derby.

Member Article

Flagship IHub Innovation Centre Passes 94% Occupancy

Just months after celebrating its second anniversary, occupancy levels at the £12m iHub innovation centre on Infinity Park have passed the 94% mark.

Since it was launched in Autumn 2016, the 45,000 ft2 facility has gone from strength to strength, attracting some of the biggest names in the region’s automotive, rail and aerospace supply chain industries.

Occupancy levels at the iHub have exceeded all expectations, with regional, national and global businesses taking advantage of the building’s strategic location on Infinity Park, the 100-acre manufacturing focused commercial and technology site.

Tenants now include global aerospace giant Airbus; Altran, a world leader in engineering and R&D services; Composite Braiding, which specialises in thermoplastic composite braiding and VRCO, an advanced aviation company, which is hitting the headlines across the globe with the development of the world’s first British-made flying cars.

In February, the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centres (AMRC), one of the world’s leading manufacturing research institutions, is to set up home at the iHub while a new multi-million pound 50,000 ft2 innovation facility is being developed on Infinity Park.

iHub, which has Enterprise Zone status, is the centre piece of Infinity Park, the new 100-acre manufacturing focused commercial and technology site, between Sinfin and Chellaston, to the south of the city.

It is strategically located close to the world headquarters of Rolls-Royce Civil Aerospace and within 15 minutes of OEMs including Bombardier, Toyota and JCB, with direct links to the A50 and M1. The iHub provides high quality, flexible workspace for start-ups, early stage businesses and high growth SME’s looking to expand their role within the transport engineering and hi-tech sectors.

One of the unique facilities available at the iHub is the innovative ‘iLab’, which promotes invention by enabling the rapid prototyping of a range of products and services. It also boasts high end virtual reality, 3D printing and surface microscope equipment.

The iHub also offers a multi-purpose ‘heart space’ area, which is establishing itself as a popular venue for conferences and events, along with meeting and seminar rooms.

Speaking about the success of the iHub since its launch two years ago, Councillor Matthew Holmes, deputy leader of Derby City Council and cabinet member for planning, environment and regeneration, said:

“The iHub is continuing to build on Derby’s reputation for developing and creating cutting-edge technologies, particularly in the aerospace, automotive and transport industries. It reinforces Derby’s reputation as the UK ’capital for innovation.

“To achieve 94% occupancy in the current economic climate is a fantastic achievement and reflects the high-quality accommodation and range of support services that is available at the iHub.”

Alan Smith, head of economic growth at Derby City Council, added:

“This demonstrates to the Council that there is strong demand for the quality of workspace and facilities and partnerships available at the iHub.

Our original business plan forecast for this building has been validated. We hope that the way this building has let will give confidence to others and that the iHub becomes the centre-piece to a successful Infinity Park for years to come.“

Ann Bhatti, head of Connect Derby, said:

“We’re absolutely delighted with the positive reaction that the iHub has received since it joined the Connect Derby portfolio of buildings in 2017.

“Much of the credit for the iHub’s success must go to Alan Smith; he took a lead role in developing the funding bid for the building, project managed the design and build team and worked collaboratively with Connect Derby in developing and supporting the operational processes. His advice has been instrumental in supporting the on-going development of the iHub.”

The iHub builds on the success of the hugely popular Connect Derby scheme, which has created a strong market for mixed use and sector specific serviced offices across the city at its six other buildings – Friar Gate Studios, Marble Hall, Riverside Chambers, Sadler Bridge Studios, Kings Chambers and Shot Tower.

The iHub has received funding from the Regional Growth Fund and European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), as well as Derby City Council and the University of Derby.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Donna Hill .

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