The Innovation Cube would be the first building seen by rail travellers to the town through the new Northampton Castle Railway Station. Plans for the £7.5m scheme, developed in partnership with the West Northamptonshire Development Corporation (WNDC) were approved in January.
The University involvement was passed in principle, subject to satisfactory contracts being finalised, at a meeting of the Governing Council of The University of Northampton (on Wednesday 11 July). The Cube will provide office accommodation and support services for up to 55 small businesses over six floors.
Vice Chancellor of The University of Northampton, Professor Nick Petford said:
“This potential long term investment underlines our commitment to Northampton and to being part of what is a wholesale regeneration of the town. It is also marks the start of a very exciting development period for the University too. The Cube development will have a similar timeline to our new St John’s accommodation project for students and we are also still exploring the potential for our new Waterside campus.”
“We have extensive experience of similar partnership developments. The iCon at Daventry is more than meeting projected targets in terms of usage with 26 companies occupying more than 50% of the space since it opened last year. Meanwhile our Portfolio Innovation Centre on our Avenue Campus is at the heart of our commitment to be number one university for social enterprise by 2015. It is currently home to 47 new creative businesses that provide a great learning experience for our students and also provide great services and products for the wider community.”
Chris Garden, WNDC’s Director of Regeneration said:
The University of Northampton is one of the town’s great success stories and we’re delighted that they are supporting this development. The Innovation Cube will be a modern, flexible and stylish office building in the heart of the town. By the time it opens for business, the new £20m Northampton Train Station will also be close to completion. Together, they will symbolise the economic resurgence of the town, attracting new jobs and investment into the Enterprise Zone.
Chris Garden, WNDC’s Director of Regeneration
The University would invest £5.5m in the Innovation Cube and operate the facility once it is open. WNDC owns the development site and will invest almost £2m in the project.
It is the third innovation centre that the University of Northampton and WNDC have collaborated on, following the expansion of the University’s Portfolio Innovation Centre in 2009 and the completion of Daventry’s award-winningiCon Innovation Centre last year.
The Innovation Cube would be built on the site of the former United Social Club which was demolished in 2010. Construction of the Cube could start in Spring 2013 with completion in 2014.