Structural frame complete for new £8.5m University of Northampton Innovation Centre

Topping out ceremony at University of Northampton Innovation Centre.
Topping out ceremony at University of Northampton Innovation Centre.

A ceremony has been held to mark the completion of the structural frame of the new £8.5 million University of Northampton Innovation Centre.

The new building, opposite the Northampton Railway Station in Black Lion Hill, will offer 42 office units, a cafe and conference space and the businesses located within the centre will have access to specialist support from the university.

A ‘topping out’ ceremony was held yesterday on the site of the new building, which is expected to open in February 2015.

Chief operating officer at the University of Northampton, Terry Neville, said: “The University of Northampton Innovation Centre will be a flagship development for the social innovation sector.”

“Encouraging entrepreneurship is crucial to the university and significantly enhances the experience and employability prospects we offer to our students.”

Director of human resources and marketing at the university, Deborah Mattock, said the centre was tailored for start-up businesses. She said: “We are expecting the building to create up to 300 new jobs. And yes, of course, we want to see our graduates moving into it and keeping those skills in Northampton.”

Ms Mattock added that the six storey ‘cube-shaped’ building could be an ‘iconic’ feature in Northampton.

*Kier was awarded the contract to build the Innovation Centre in October 2013.

*The new building has been constructed on the site of the former United Social Club, which was demolished in 2010.

*The building is designed as a home for small businesses, including ones created as a result of research and development at The University of Northampton.

*The university is delivering the project in partnership with West Northamptonshire Development Corporation.

*The scheme was backed unanimously by councillors on Northampton Borough Council’s planning committee in January last year.

*The Innovation Centre is situated in the Northampton Enterprise Zone.

*The building will include conference space for a capacity of up to 100 people, including in-house catering as well as wi-fi and superfast broadband.