A quarter-billion pound investment announced by Middlesbrough’s Mayor Andy Preston promises to bring up to 2,000 jobs to the local area

Artists impression of the planned £250 million 'Digital City' development announced by Middlesbrough Mayor, Andy Preston, yesterday.
Artists impression of the planned £250 million ‘Digital City’ development announced by Middlesbrough Mayor, Andy Preston, yesterday.

A £250 million development of three new 20-story tower blocks in central Middlesbrough was announced by  Mayor Andy Preston who set out plans on how he is hoping to make the town “the digital city for the UK.”

The announcement, made in front of 200 invited guests including a host of local business leaders at Middlesbrough Football Club’s Riverside Stadium and streamed on Facebook Live, revealed plans to build three new skyscrapers containing a mixture of commercial office space and residential accommodation.

Construction on the £45 million, first phase of the project, is set to begin next summer subject to planning consent.

Whilst discussing the plans, Preston claimed that the proposed structures would be the tallest structures “for 30 miles” and would “transform Middlesbrough’s skyline.”

In a joint statement with Tees Valley Mayor, Ben Houchen posted on the council’s website, Preston was also keen to stress that the ambitious scheme “is happening now” whilst hailing it’s prospects of propelling Middlesbrough “to become the UK’s digital capital.”

The mayor’s statement continued:

“The sky’s the limit if we think big – and that’s exactly what we’re doing with this project. All of the old perceptions of Middlesbrough are going to go out of the window.

“We want our existing digital businesses to grow, regional businesses to realise this is the place to be, and national and international businesses to be attracted here.

“We can do that by ensuring we have the best office space with the best facilities and environment, and the most positive mind set.”

Mayor Houchen – Middlesbrough to become “the digital powerhouse of the UK”

Funding for the first phase of the project, which will see the creation of ‘a digital campus’ alongside indoor and outdoor amphitheatres on a brown-field site close to Middlesbrough College, is set to come from a mixture of public and private funds.

Middlesbrough Council has committed £3.5 million to the project, with a further £26.5 million coming from the Tees Combined Authorities £588 million Regional Investment Plan, whilst a private third party consortium will contribute £15 million.

Speaking alongside mayor Preston at the event, Tees Valley Mayor, Ben Houchen, confirmed his delight in supporting his counterparts “bold vision” to make Middlesbrough “the digital powerhouse of the UK.”

“This is another transformational project for the Tees Valley which shows just what can happen when mayors work together” commented the Conservative mayor, who was elected in 2017 following a campaign centred around bringing Tees Valley Airport back into local authority ownership.

Stating that the development would send out a strong message that “Boro’s on the up” Houchen added;

“Our region is already home to some world-leading digital businesses and we’ll be able to offer cutting edge accommodation in the heart of the oldest part of Middlesbrough, bringing well-paid jobs to the town. This will be adjacent to two new residential towers, new shops and facilities which will make this a great place to live as well as work.”

What do you think of the proposed 250m Digital City development? Is this an area of the UK economy that the Teesside region should by looking to invest in? Do these types of local infrastructure projects represent the best use of public money for the area?

Whatever your viewpoint, join the debate by tweeting us @TU_Xtra with the #DigtalCityDebate

Artists impression of the indoor amphitheatre, part of the proposed £250 million 'Digital City' development announced by Middlesbrough Mayor, Andy Preston, yesterday
Artists impression of the indoor amphitheatre, part of the proposed £250 million ‘Digital City’ development announced by Middlesbrough Mayor, Andy Preston, yesterday

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