Regional Development Agency One NorthEast has moved home into new headquarters at the cutting edge of environmental design.
Nearly 300 staff – previously housed at three different buildings across Newcastle and Gateshead – will be brought together under one roof at Stella House on the banks of the River Tyne.
The headquarters is situated in the Newburn Riverside development, formerly home to the Stella North Power Station and Anglo Great Lakes graphite works, before One NorthEast and partners reclaimed the entire derelict site at a cost of £46m, turning it into a prime development area.
The Agency’s new headquarters building occupies a four-acre site and has scooped a coveted environmental award before it is even open.
Stella House has achieved top grading in the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) awards because of the reduced impact it will have on the environment.
The BREEAM ‘excellent’ rating for Stella House covers site management, building health & comfort, energy, transport, water, materials, land use, site ecology and pollution.
The building is also nominated for a Robert Stephenson Sustainability prize in the Institute of Civil Engineers Awards.
One NorthEast is encouraging workers to find environmentally-friendly ways to get to work. It is promoting car sharing and Newburn Riverside will benefit from a new Stagecoach bus service operating from Newcastle Central Station.
A new 4km wildlife trail is set in the heart of the Newburn Riverside site with a circular footpath and cycleway surrounding the development. It boasts bird hides, information boards, seating and a wide variety of flora and fauna such as seals, otters, heron and curlews.
The reclamation of the Newburn site was a mammoth operation. It involved moving four million cubic metres of earth, enough to fill the Royal Albert Hall more than 40 times.
Nearly 2,500 tonnes of steel was recovered from power station buildings and recycled for use elsewhere and concrete foundations from the original buildings were used as landfill for the new development site.
Six security cameras will scan the area. They will be monitored by Valley Watch with a link back to their offices at Team Valley, Gateshead, and a security officer will be on patrol.