Office space at the flagship Smithfield development in Stoke-on-Trent’s city centre has reached full occupancy – with the news that 300 high-skilled workers are set to move in.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council has signed up Davies Group, which will take up two floors in Two Smithfield. The company, which has a 1,200-strong team of professionals across the UK, Ireland and Bermuda, gives operations management, consulting and digital solutions to organisations in highly-regulated markets, such as finance and insurance.
Davies Group has outgrown its city centre home at Telecom House and would have had to move jobs out of Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire to another city had high-quality office space at Two Smithfield not been available. The company will take up the third and fourth floors of the building, and is looking to expand at its new home by taking on a further 200 skilled staff over the next two years.
The move means office space at the One Smithfield and Two Smithfield buildings is now fully taken, with a mixture of around 1,400 public and private sector workers across both buildings. This is not only giving a significant footfall boost in the city centre, which is good news for businesses and the economy, but providing a regular rental income for the city council.
The move was announced today at the MIPIM property conference, which a delegation from the city council is attending as part of the Midlands Engine group.
Councillor David Conway, leader of the city council, said: “I really am delighted that Davies Group are joining us at Two Smithfield, meaning that office space in both buildings is now fully occupied for the first time since they were built. We’ve put in a lot of effort and hard work to get to this stage, to give the best possible return for the taxpayer and the city from the development.
“The company have told us they probably would have had to move the jobs out of Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire had this office space at Two Smithfield not been available. That would have been a huge blow to the city, so it’s a real win for everyone that these jobs are staying here. They could have moved their business anywhere but they are staying in Stoke-on-Trent because the city had available the kind of high-quality office building they were looking for to grow and expand their operation. It shows businesses have real confidence to invest in Stoke-on-Trent, a city on the up, and further underlines the city as a great place to do business.”
Councillor Daniel Jellyman, cabinet member for regeneration, transport and heritage, said: “The fact the company is not only staying but is investing in Stoke-on-Trent is a huge endorsement for our city and proves we are an attractive opportunity for businesses. Having office space in both of the Smithfield buildings now fully occupied is really positive. It’s providing a huge boost to footfall in Hanley, which in turn is good for shops and businesses.”
Davies Group has a partnership with Staffordshire University which gives them access to academic research, lectures from senior academics, and sees them engage with students for work experience, internships and its graduate programme. Staff from the company regularly deliver talks to students on career skills, law, business and finance topics.
Mark Grocott, chief digital officer for Davies Group, said: “Stoke-on-Trent has long been a strategic location for Davies, with a large portion of our operational colleagues based in the area. We can recruit high quality, dedicated and enthusiastic staff here.
“Davies is growing rapidly and to be forced to move away from this area would have been a huge disappointment. We are delighted to have been able to work with Stoke-on-Trent City Council to source the right office space. Our teams are delighted with the final solution.”
Further developments on the Smithfield site are in the pipeline. Plans for a city centre residential development were given the go-ahead by planners in December. The residential block will provide 151 apartments for Fortior Homes with amenity space and communal gardens. There are also leisure and commercial units planned for the ground floor, including a gym and office space. And planning permission has also been granted for a four-star, 140-bedroom Hilton Garden Inn Hotel on the site. Work on both schemes is expected to start this year.
Davies Group will join business water provider WaterPlus at Two Smithfield, who moved 400 staff to the building in 2016 when the company was launched as part of a joint venture between Severn Trent Water and United Utilities. One Smithfield is occupied by Stoke-on-Trent City Council, Staffordshire Police, Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce and NHS North Staffordshire Clinical Commissioning Group.