The project team accepting the award

71 Grey Street, designed by international design practice Ryder Architecture for client The Hanro Group, won the commercial accolade in the RICS North East awards ceremony on 26 April.

The RICS judges were impressed with the innovative design of the refurbishment, including the boutique entrance and use of exposed services, allowing top rents to be achieved. 

The Grade II* listed building was also recognised as setting an extremely high benchmark for future office spaces in the area.  With eighty percent of the space being pre let, the brief was continuously developed towards the various tenants’ needs, providing a bespoke working environment for all.  This was no mean feat, as the tenants come from various disciplines, including ecommerce, PR and marketing, real estate and even a restaurant.

Barry Farrar, architectural director at Ryder and project architect of 71 Grey Street, said, “It is fantastic to see 71 Grey Street receive the recognition it deserves.  Challenging from the outset due to its previous unhabitable condition, the project is a great example of collaborative working between local businesses to create a pioneering office environment, which will act as a catalyst for further commercial improvements to Newcastle.”

Erin Peart, head of property at The Hanro Group, said, “We are amazed and overwhelmed at the response and support following the refurbishment of 71 Grey Street.  Grey Street had been through a decline in tenant occupation with rental levels in the street struggling, but this project goes to show that, if you view a refurbishment as a long term asset hold and invest in the right quality of fit out (and of course the right contractors!), you can create a place that people want to be.  Thanks again to everyone involved in the process along the way, it was definitely a team effort.”

Patrick Matheson, partner at Knight Frank, said, “There is a clear flight to quality in the Newcastle office market as occupiers focus on the buildings which offer the best environment and the best building amenities, allowing them to retain and attract staff.  The refurbishment of 71 Grey Street is a perfect example of a refurbishment that is responding directly to this trend.  Its success of being fully let on completion of the refurbishment is testament to the vision of our client The Hanro Group and the hard work of the whole project team.”

All Ryder projects were recognised as follows –

71 Grey Street, winner: commercial
71 Grey Street, shortlisted: building conservation
Blandford Square, shortlisted: building conservation
Blandford Square, shortlisted: regeneration

71 Grey Street will compete with other regional winners to be crowned the commercial overall winner at the RICS grand finals on 4 October in London.