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Rokeby is ready for take-off now.

One of the region's most active mid-sized property developers, Rokeby Developments, looks set for a busy year after ending 2004 on a high note with almost pounds 50m-worth of projects planned or under way.

With a concentration on northern developments in the past, Rokeby has spread its strategic wings this year with a restructuring of the business that should greatly influence its growth.

Co-director Nick Fordy has agreed to dedicate more of his time to spearhead development work regionally and a new London office in Conduit Street has been established to take advantage of opportunities in the South.

This latter move has paid off swiftly with Rokeby securing a pounds 30m mixed-use scheme in Southampton due to go for planning consent in February and an option on a site in Bath Road, near Heathrow Airport.

Farther north, in Swadlincote, Derbyshire, Rokeby has been asked to redevelop 10 acres owned by drainage specialist Hepworth.

Proposals for this pounds 11m scheme are likely to come to fruition by the end of next year.

It is almost nine years since director Adrian Goodall established the company, which is at Barnard Castle.

At that time, Rokeby became involved in the redevelopment of Shields Road in Byker, Newcastle, with the construction of Morrisons supermarket as one of its first completed schemes. However, the Shields Road programme is still continuing apace with a 30,000 sq ft leisure scheme for Gala and a 2,550sq ft Kentucky Fried Chicken due to be completed next month, when another pounds 1.5m phase of development will begin.

This will see five buildings demolished to make way for shops and offices.

The decision of Nick Fordy to dedicate more of his time to Rokeby heralded a restructuring of the business, which now trades regionally under the banner of Rokeby Northern.

With Fordy responsible for the site assembly and development of offices, no time has been lost in announcing a couple of lettings at Rokeby's Preston Farm in Stockton, on Teesside. Here, the construction of 35,000 sq ft of high-spec office space began in October and already quantity surveying practice Baker Mallet has signed up for 3,000 sq ft, while Stockton City Council is taking 10,000 sq ft. An announcement is expected soon about a further pre-let.

At nearby Bowesfield Park, Rokeby Northern has entered into a joint venture with Wimpey Homes for a housing/office scheme on a site which already has outline planning consent.

Looking forward confidently to 2005, Goodall is taking a keen interest in a further phase of development at Gosforth Business Park, where he has been preferred developer since 1997. He said: "The Gosforth Business Park is our biggest office scheme at the present time. We were delighted to sell Phase 3a ( a 33,000 sq ft office ( to GW Aviation in March this year, which benefited from a pre-let of one floor to Parkdean, the leisure operator.

"We are currently on site with Phase 3b and Phase 4, where we have already sold one unit to accountancy firm RMT, and we begin Phase 5 at the end of February ( a collection of smaller, self-contained offices for the SME market. This will take the value of our work to date up to pounds 40m at this site.

"With Greens Leisure Centre at its core and a planned bus route connecting the business park with the nearby Balliol Business Park to provide better access for employees, we are expecting a lot of interest in Gosforth when Phases 3b and 4 both complete by the end of March.

"Nick's decision to spend more time at Rokeby has freed me up to secure a wider range of opportunities while he will focus on the regional commercial property market, in particular moving along the Bowesfield Park development in the new year."

Further schemes scheduled for 2005 include the construction of a pounds 15m supermarket for Morrisons at Denton Park and an infill scheme at North Brunton, Gosforth, where a leisure and fast-food operation will be built.
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Dec 15, 2004
Previous Article:And the winners are.
Next Article:Northern business daily annual review 2004 - May.

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