Topping out ceremony takes place at Oceansgate

Council leader Ian Bowyer, in the centre, helps put in a glass pane at topping out ceremony

The names of the first new building to go up inside the pioneering Oceansgate marine technology campus were unveiled as part of a topping out ceremony today.

Council Leader Ian Bowyer helped fit a pane of glass at the highest point of the first building to be constructed within the former naval yard for the milestone event in the country’s only Marine Enterprise Zone.

The buildings – called Endeavour and  Endurance – are designed to be flexible for industrial as well as office and workshop space, but also reflect the historic nature of South Yard and the street pattern just outside the boundaries.

There are natural rubble stone gables and steep pitched roofs reflecting the old buildings nearby but the scheme also has all the high tech advantages for adaptable modern business.

Councillor Bowyer said: “We are now getting a real feel for how this unique site could look in years to come. We wanted to make sure these new buildings were very much in keeping with this historic site and you can definitely see the quality of the material beginning to shine through.  

The view from up here

“Plymouth’s marine sector employs over 13, 000 people and we were keen to make sure that this site, with its incredible waterfront, is reserved for businesses who need to be clustered with other marine businesses and have access to the water.

“While we can’t yet reveal who they are, we are really excited by the level of interest from companies. They include research and marine technology businesses and marine services or companies who are a key part of the supply chain for other marine businesses here in Plymouth and the wider South West peninsula.”

The £7.7m project – which has been funded by the Council and Heart of the South West Local Economic Partnership – could house office, design suites, testing labs and training rooms for technology development and prototype production spaces as well as workshops for engineering and manufacturing.

Phase 1 aims to attract businesses involved in marine innovation. It will see the creation of 1,140 m2 of office space and 1,293 m2 of light industrial space arranged as two terraces.

Patrick Hartop Head of City Deal said: “The location and attention Oceansgate is attracting as a brand is creating waves in the field of marine technology. We are already negotiating leases on almost half the units before they are even finished, which is a cracking start to this incredibly exciting project.”

Steve Hindley CBE DL, Chair of the Heart of the South West LEP said: “Oceansgate is another success story in the LEP’s portfolio of Growth Deal projects. The development secures Oceansgate’s status as a world-class centre for the marine sector, and as one of the Heart of the South West’s Enterprise Zones, helping us to promote the business location in a global market.”

Midas Construction, part of the Midas Group, is building the units with designers Form Design (the architects responsible for the award-winning Genesis building on Union Street, also built by Midas). Andy McAdam, Divisional Director for Midas Construction in Devon and Cornwall, said: “As a regionally-based business we are very proud to be involved in such an important project for Plymouth and to be marking a key milestone in delivering these high-quality new buildings carefully designed to meet the needs of businesses while complementing the historic nature of the site.”

Oceansgate is the anchor project for the Plymouth and South West Peninsula City Deal, a pioneering programme covering Cornwall, Devon, Plymouth, Torbay and Somerset designed to bring significant and long-lasting economic growth to the far south west, creating thousands of jobs

It covers 35-hectare and features three docks – ranging from 84m to 145m long – which are suitable for many marine industry dockside operations.