Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Neglected Road Being Revamped at Long Last; NOW WE SPEAK TO THE PEOPLE BEHIND THE TRANSFORMATION

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Neglected Road Being Revamped at Long Last; NOW WE SPEAK TO THE PEOPLE BEHIND THE TRANSFORMATION

Article excerpt

Byline: MIKE BROWN mike.brown@trinitymirror.com @MIKEBROWNGAZ

IT'S one of the main routes in and out of Middlesbrough town centre.

But it's no secret that Albert Road has been neglected for years.

Middlesbrough Council is keen for the street - which links shopping centres, the town hall, and hotels with Middlesbrough railway station - to be cleaned up and form part of its regeneration strategy to boost business and leisure.

New restaurants, a boutique bowling alley and refurbishment of the town hall have already revitalised one part of the road, but the council has introduced an business enterprise zone along the street - and has plans for the section between Wilson Street and Corporation Road.

However, to achieve that, a lot of private property needs to be brought back into use.

Some of that work has already started, with property firm Jomast currently renovating formerly empty buildings from 15 to 25 Albert Road.

Mark Hill, Jomast's commercial property director, addressed the council's economic regeneration and transport scrutiny committee.

Here's what was said: A lot of work has already been done Mr Hill said that Jomast had already completed renovations at Wilson's Courtyard and the former Sun Alliance office buildings on the opposite side of the road, before it turned its attention to 15-25 Albert Road.

This row of historic Middlesbrough buildings has been neglected for decades, but scaffolding is now up and Jomast is working on repairing and refurbishing the outside of the building.

A row of asbestos-lined garages have been knocked down behind the buildings, which face on to Dundas Mews, and Jomast workers will start working on the interior when that's completed.

Scaffolding should come down around March.

What's happening in the buildings? Jomast is remodelling the downstairs of each property for business use - and while Mr Hill has not ruled out leisure uses for them such as restaurants and cafes, it's likely that it will be used for office space.

Sam Gilmore, Middlesbrough Council's head of economic growth, said that businesses from the BOHO zone in Middlesbrough are often unable to find new accommodation to move out - so new office space will provide the necessary churn to allow new start-ups to set up at BOHO.

Mr Hill said the office space is likely to be a "brand new shop front with a serviced white box" - which can be changed depending on the type of business that moves in.

Upstairs there will be nine apartments, serviced by parking at the rear where garages have been demolished.

But Mr Hill said that these would not be fitted out and marketed until ground floor businesses were established.

Why has it taken so long? Chair of the panel Cllr Matt Storey asked Mr Hill why Jomast has taken so long to start work on a street that is so strategically important to Middlesbrough's future. …

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