Authoritires in the coastal city of Plymouth (UK) have announced plans to develop a 35ha site within an Enterprise Zone. The first phase buildings will focus on offices and workshop spaces, but under Phases 2 and 3 there are dry docks and slipways that could be activated if a client wanted to. There is deep water available in the docks. David Robinson reports.

Photo credit: Trevor Burrows ABIPP

Photo credit: Trevor Burrows ABIPP

A marine cluster is in the making in the UK. The 35ha South Yard of the Devonport Royal Naval dockyard in Plymouth (now renamed Oceansgate) is to be developed over the coming years into a major hub of marine industry and advanced technology employment.

Of the 35ha site, which is the oldest part of the naval dockyard, Princes Yachts International has already acquired a 7.5ha portion. The UK boatbuilder is currently using this area for building its ‘M’ Class superyachts up to 40m (131ft).

Enterprise Zone

As part of this initiative, the whole site was last year designated as an Enterprise Zone and this brings with it a range of financial benefits for companies that establish themselves within the Zone.

The Council has appointed international property consultants Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) to oversee the marketing of the site and find businesses to take space in the site.

Of the remaining 27.5ha, 7.5ha is currently being transferred from the MoD to Plymouth City Council in three phases of development which will create up to 1,200 jobs and 25,000m2 floorspace.

This will include valuable waterside access containing docks, jetties and deep water mooring. The MoD will retain 20ha of the site but will work with the Council to promote this area for marine enterprise.

The marketing has started for Phase 1 with Plymouth City Council and JLL jointly holding an information event in July attended by some 70 people from 40 local and national companies.

Phase 1

Midas Construction, a regional contractor headquartered in Bristol, won a tender to build a range of buildings providing office and workshop space under a £7.8m contract.

Commenting on the project, Tim Western, JLL’s lead director for the project, says: “To date we have had about 150 expressions of interest from UK and international companies interested in taking space in Oceansgate. The first phase buildings will focus on office and workshop spaces, but under Phases 2 and 3 there are dry docks and slipways that could be activated if a client wanted to. There is deep water available in the docks.”

The Phase 2 land will be transferred to the ownership of the Council next year followed by the third and final tranche in 2018.

“We have had a market research study for Oceansgate and we are looking to attract companies across the marine industry such as yachts and commercial and advanced technology companies,” Western concludes.