A topping out ceremony has been held by Scarborough Development Group at the site of Admiral Group plc’s new seven-storey office block in Newport city centre to mark the completion of the highest point of the project.
The ceremony was attended by executives from Admiral Group, Scarborough Development Group, its funding partner Investec Bank, and Newport City Council. Also in attendance were four members of staff from Admiral Group who will be working at the new building.
Topping out marks the completion of the building’s frame. Internal fitting out and final completion is scheduled for August 2014.
The 80,800 sq ft office block is central to the first phase of the redevelopment of the city’s Cambrian Centre, which gained planning approval from Newport City Council in April 2012.
This phase of redevelopment also includes retail and leisure space, car parking, and a public plaza, located opposite the city’s recently remodelled railway station. Construction of these elements is underway and is due to be completed by August 2014.
Huw Llewellyn, head of property, at Admiral Group said: “This is an important day for Admiral and for the city of Newport as it marks tremendous progress in the development of our new building. The building will provide Admiral staff with a fantastic working environment which is key to our unique culture and its easy access to both bus and train services will benefit our employees greatly and make us more accessible to future recruits. We hope the local economy and Newport city will also benefit from the increased footfall our employees will bring into the heart of the city centre as well.”
Admiral Group currently employs 490 people in two offices at Langstone Business Park on the outskirts of Newport and more than 4,750 in Cardiff and Swansea. They hope to move the Langstone employees into the new building in May next year.
Mark Jackson, managing director of Scarborough Development Group, said: “We are delighted to be developing such a significant building in Newport for a major local employer such as Admiral Group. Having reached completion of the main structure, it is an opportune time to acknowledge the efforts of Newport City Council for enabling this project to be brought forward despite the challenging state of the economy. We recognise that its scale and location makes this building an important landmark at the gateway to Newport, and that it has a wider role to play in the regeneration of the City.”
Councillor Bob Bright, leader of Newport City Council, said: “This will be a landmark building and will stand out as a symbol of regeneration to passengers travelling into South Wales on the intercity rail line. It will be a striking image for those visiting South Wales demonstrating that the city and the region are on the up with the decision of a major UK employer to relocate here, bringing with hundreds of quality jobs and a real boost to the economy of city centre.”
Councillor John Richards, Newport City Council’s cabinet member for regeneration and development, said: "The original commitment by Scarborough and Admiral to this redevelopment signalled a confidence in the city and today is another significant step towards the rebirth of this part of Newport.
“We have watched as this building has soared into the sky and I would like to congratulate all involved in this scheme. We are now looking forward to the not-too-distant future when the offices and other businesses are occupied and I’m sure this will be a bustling and successful area.”
Nick Griffiths, from Investec Bank, said: “We are delighted to see this landmark building pass another critical milestone and are very excited about the regeneration and job creation that this project is bringing to Newport. We would like to thank and congratulate Newport City Council, Scarborough, Admiral and the contractor SDC on their excellent work to date, and are greatly looking forward to seeing the building finished in mid 2014.”
Scarborough Group is now in the process of considering the second phase of the redevelopment of the Cambrian Centre; which could include further retail and commercial space, and aim to apply for planning permission later in 2013.