Building a strong future for tenant and town: £6m law firm HQ unveiled in Grimsby
OFFICIALLY OPEN: Cartergate House, now home to Wilkin Chapman Solicitors.
Mayor of North East Lincolnshire, Councillor Christine McGilligan-Fell, cuts the ribbon to open Cartergate House, flanked by Wilkin Chapman senior partner, Mark Carlton, left, and chief executive Des Mannion.
OFFICIALLY OPEN: Mayor of North East Lincolnshire, Councillor Christine McGilligan-Fell, cuts the ribbon to open Cartergate House, watched by representatives from Wilkin Chapman, North East Lincolnshire Council and delivery partner Engie.
By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 3 Feb 2017
GRIMSBY’S town centre ‘gem’ has been officially opened, with all involved confident it is a major step in the wider regeneration of the area.
Cartergate House, the new four storey office building now home to Wilkin Chapman, was launched by Mayor of North East Lincolnshire, Christina McGilligan-Fell, as she cut the ribbon a month after the law firm moved in.
And the high profile award-winning tenant is delighted with the result of a “true partnership”.
Mark Carlton, senior partner, said: “We have settled in really well. The staff seem highly motivated and are enjoying themselves, it is a fantastic place to work.
“A friend came to a recent open evening we held and in her opinion it would be hard for many a mile to find better working conditions. It has also enabled us to bring everyone together in Grimsby.”
While public sector funding for the £6 million build has raised eyebrows in austere times, it was seen as a necessity by all involved.
“It would have been difficult for private enterprise to have built this,” Mr Carlton said. “It is a fantastic collaboration between us and the local authority, that they were able to build such a great building, for what will be a great tenant for years to come.”
Fellow partner Ruth Brewin, who specialises in property, said: “It is like a City of London building in the middle of Grimsby. We hope it will encourage other developers to bring forward other iconic buildings.
“It has secured our presence in the town, there was consideration given to moving out, but we didn’t think that was the right thing to do. We could have found someone to build, but it was a council site, controlled by the council, that was the trigger for it to happen.”
The 213 employees it arrived with have already been bolstered to 220 by the award-winning firm. “Space for expansion was really very important as we think about the future,” Mrs Brewin said. “We are not a firm sitting still, we are getting bigger all the time.”
Open plan offices, expansive glazing, bright space and spacious meeting facilities have been brought to the fore, with praise for Engie’s Stephanie Lawton from Marcus Asquith, account director, with NELC’s regeneration partner.
He said: “It is a wonderful example of what can be achieved when you get the ingredients right in terms of aspiration, and right in terms of a diligent partner who can translate thoughts into reality.
“Everyone talks about partnership working, this genuinely has been a true partnership between the council, Engie the construction company Gelder. One person pulled that together and that was Stephanie, the architect, who project managed this.”
Councillor Peter Wheatley, portfolio holder for regeneration at NELC, said that it was the intention of the council to retain ownership as it looks towards future revenue streams, rather than sell the tenanted scheme to an investor. “It is an absolute gem right in the middle of town,” he said. “I have been really impressed with the standard of finish, it is quite outstanding, and a building we are really pleased to have been in partnership with.
“It shows we are prepared to put money into something, we can invest in the area we represent.”
The launch came after a £3.6 million Local Growth Funding pot was secured for further town centre schemes, including the cinema and restaurant. “We are really starting to get things going, we are looking forward to progressing quite a number of plans,” he said.