Minister Marks Creation of Hastings Business District & Announces £12M of Private Investment

Posted on December 4, 2007

Jonathan Shaw MP, Minister for the South East, visited Hastings yesterday to mark the creation, by economic development company Sea Space, of Priory Quarter as a vibrant new town centre business and education district – and to announce £12m of private sector investment from Allied Irish Bank. He commended the progress of the development, stating that he was impressed with the achievements of the public and private sector working in partnership. The Minister, alongside Pam Alexander, Chief Executive of the South East England Development Agency (SEEDA), led the ‘topping out’ ceremony to celebrate the completion of the shell and roof of the 31,000 sq ft Lacuna Place office development in the heart of Priory Quarter.

Jonathan Shaw MP and Pam Alexander also revealed the first private sector investment in Sea Space’s economic development programme. Allied Irish Bank is providing £12m to fund an additional 46,000 sq ft office development next to Lacuna Place. This development is being created along with Priory Square – an attractive new public space flanked by a striking water feature and a café/restaurant with outside seating.

The £12m of investment is being provided to a new private/public partnership, Coastal Land (Sussex) LLP, which has been specially created to manage the development. Coastal Land (Sussex) is an equal partnership between Sea Space and property investment firm the Land Group.

Richard Whitehead, Corporate Banking Manager at Allied Irish Bank, comments: “This is the first time Allied Irish Bank has invested in a speculative development project alongside a regional development agency. It underlines our complete faith in Sea Space’s economic development programme and the future of Hastings’ commercial economy.”

Lacuna Place is the first major new office development in Hastings’ town centre in 25 years. It provides offices over four floors, accommodating up to 200 employees, plus two grand-level retail units. Two minutes’ walk from Hastings station, Lacuna Place and the next phase of offices replace a site to lay empty and overgrown for over a decade.

They are designed to address the absence of quality offices in the town and attract businesses across the South East, boosting the local economy and creating well-paid jobs. With Lacuna Place to complete by next summer and the next phase by 2009, Sea Space is already in negotiations with interested companies.

Sea Space’s Priory Quarter scheme also includes further offices and retail units, additional premises for University Centre Hastings, a multiplex cinema, a pedestrian ‘Land Bridge’ leading from the rail station, underground parking and a new multi storey car park.

Lacuna Place and the next phase of offices were designed for Sea Space by architects Proctor & Matthews and are being built by Carillion Plc. The overall Priory Quarter scheme was created by urban designers Rummey Design. The business premises are being marketed and let by a commercial agents team comprising DTZ, Cluttons and Dyer Commercial.