Robert Fearnley at 55 Grove Road
Entrepreneur Robert Fearnley tells us why he has invested £1.5m into the development of a new state of the art workspace in Harrogate.
A local property entrepreneur has completed a £1.5m investment to transform a commercial property in the centre of the town into a state of the art workspace for 20 businesses.
The development, 55 Grove Road, is the brainchild of Robert Fearnley, who is looking to fill a gap in the market for contemporary office space and give local businesses a reason to stay in Harrogate instead of moving to the nearby cities of Leeds and York.
“There has traditionally been a lack of high quality town centre office space in Harrogate and this has led to businesses moving out of the area, which has a knock-on effect on jobs and the local economy,” said Robert.
“With the development of 55 Grove Road I have set out to transform the business landscape in Harrogate by offering a new kind of working environment that doesn’t exist here at the moment,” he added.
The offices are being marketed by the commercial division of Harrogate property firm FSS and will officially open this month with over 25% of the space already let.
Fearnley said the project is bucking the current trend to convert commercial buildings to residential dwellings by creating new designer office space for expanding and emerging businesses, as well as larger corporate companies looking for a satellite office.
“The premium facilities include flexible interiors to accommodate growth and change with state of the art interior architecture, superfast internet connections, inspiring air-conditioned meeting rooms, an outdoor terrace, and a café area with an urban coffee shop feel,” he said.
Other features include onsite parking, a VOIP telephone system and manned reception.
Robert, who has developed residential and commercial sites across Yorkshire and the North East, was originally looking for an office to house his own business in Harrogate.
He wanted somewhere that looked and felt inspiring with an excellent range of facilities and a vibrant communal area to connect with other professionals.
When he couldn’t find anything that fit the bill, he decided to build his own with units for between one and 20 plus people.
“The development is good news for the Harrogate economy and will support growth in the surrounding area,” he added.
So, what makes 55 Grove Road stand out from other sites? When asked, Fearnley said: "First off the building. We have converted what was once a Methodist Church, and have kept a number of its original features, most notably the curved entrance hall and the exposed brick arches which really give the wow effect when you enter the building.
"Great effort and thought has gone into all areas of the building, so whether its the main reception area, or toilet facilities, the design element flows throughout. We have also created a fantastic breakout area which would rival any modern high street cafe bar.
"It's not all about the design though. We have put in numerous measures to ensure that the modern business can work effectively and efficiently. For example, the building is supplied with a number of broadband lines from different suppliers, so, in the event that a line goes down, we are able to temporarily transfer everyone to another line and ensure continued access to the internet."
And speaking about why he chose Harrogate, he said: "With Harrogate being consistently ranked, year after year, as one of the best places in the UK to live, it is easy to understand why it attracts such a strong, diverse, and creative hub of talent.
"Coupled with its great transport links, plethora of cafes and restaurants, and shops, Harrogate, in my opinion, will only continue to flourish as a town."
So, what next? He concluded: "We have a number of other projects in Harrogate and are currently assessing other sites to expand our serviced office business. Watch this space!"