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Toffee Factory scoops top building prize

May 1, 2012

Newcastle’s Toffee Factory scoops prizes including Project of the Year at North East RICS Renaissance Awards 2012.

Newcastle’s newest creative hub, Toffee Factory scooped a series of awards including the highly acclaimed Project of the Year title at the North East RICS Renaissance Awards 2012. Toffee Factory won the Regeneration award as well as being Highly Commended by judges in both the Design & Innovation and Commercial Property categories in a year with a record number of entries and what the judges described as the toughest competition to date. Toffee Factory will now compete against other leading projects from across the UK later this year in the National RICS Awards.

The RICS Renaissance Awards run by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors are known as the region’s property ‘Oscars’. The prestigious contest celebrates inspirational initiatives in the land, property and construction sectors. 55 of the North East’s most impressive property schemes battled it out at Newcastle’s Civic Centre on Friday 27April for top honours. This year the awards attracted a record 97 entries from across the North East, including Northumberland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Durham and
Teesside.

The Toffee Factory received excellent reviews and scored exceptionally highly in all of the categories in which it was entered. The judges were not only impressed with its sustainable credentials, but also its striking design and commercial proposition.

Lisa Tolan, Toffee Factory Centre Manager said:

“We are delighted to see our much loved building recognised in this way. Huge congratulations and thanks must go to everyone involved in the scheme, which has transformed the formerly derelict Maynards factory into a thriving hub for the creative industries. In the four months since opening we have let 80% of the offices, confirming just how successful the project is. ”

Chairman of the RICS North East judging panel, chartered surveyor and Director at BNP Paribas Real Estate in Newcastle, David Furniss said:

“The Toffee Factory is an outstanding example of regeneration which illustrates the talent and skills of our region’s property professionals. It epitomises everything that a modern building should be – not only is it attractive and innovative in its design, but it is also highly sustainable, making it extremely deserving of its Project of the Year honour.”

Through a comprehensive refurbishment, with care taken to maintain key aspects to the character of the original building, the restoration of the Toffee Factory has brought new life and purpose to a derelict warehouse, enabling it to become an exciting hub for the city’s digital and creative businesses.

Toffee Factory was awarded the prestigious Project of the Year, in which the winners of each of the eight categories are also assessed across all categories to determine one overall winner. Toffee Factory triumphed over what the panel of judges described as some of the toughest competition they have seen since the Awards were first established nine years ago.

Toffee Factory provides creative and digital studio space for growing businesses. Its contemporary office spaces opened in December 2011 in the refurbished Maynards Toffee Factory located at the mouth of the Ouseburn Valley. The development cost £6m financed by the European Union’s ERDF Competitiveness Programme 2007-13, regional development agency One North East through Single Programme and Newcastle City Council. Toffee Factory is owned by Newcastle City Council and operated by multi-award winning company Creative Space Management.

A City Council spokesperson said:

“The successful redevelopment of the Toffee Factory has enhanced the city’s growing international reputation as a centre for cultural and creative industries, helping to grow the knowledge economy and create much need employment opportunities. It is another important step in the wider regeneration of the Ouseburn Valley which will support small businesses and put us at the forefront of innovation in the design and digital sectors.”

The refurbishment of the old Victorian factory was led by xsite architecture, an Ouseburn-based practice. It has produced a blend of bold design and exposed brickwork.

Tim Bailey of xsite architecture said:

This was an exciting project from the off as we are based in the Ouseburn ourselves and ‘local’ is such a big issue now. A big team of people contributed to an enjoyable and now rewarded experience, we are elated.

Judge David Furniss added:

“Despite continued uncertainty within the sector, the standard of entries this year has been phenomenal, with nominations ranging from innovative small-scale schemes, through to multi-million pound sustainable developments.”

As winner of the Regeneration category Toffee Factory will automatically be entered into the national RICS Awards, along with the regional winners of the Building Conservation, Community Benefit, Design & Innovation awards who will compete against other leading projects from across the UK later this year.

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