Gallery: Boathouse business centre prepares to welcome first occupants

By ELAINE KING THE prestigious new Boathouse business centre alongside the River Nene in Wisbech is preparing to welcome its first occupants. The £4m landmark development includes impressive state-of the art office accommodation in a cedar-clad block, and

By ELAINE KING

THE prestigious new Boathouse business centre alongside the River Nene in Wisbech is preparing to welcome its first occupants.

The £4m landmark development includes impressive state-of the art office accommodation in a cedar-clad block, and first class conference facilities in the adjoining dramatic boat-shaped building.

"We are really excited about this development. This is an aspirational building, aimed at raising the skills level of the local community, and helping to promote and support business," said Clive Gibbon, Business Development Officer for Fenland District Council.

"We hope the first tenants will move in next month, and are planning to have some open days and weekends for members of the public to have a look around.

"We are also hoping that a member of the royal family will perform an opening ceremony next year, that would add kudos to the building."

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The offices will provide first class accommodation for knowledge led businesses, from website designers to architects, with all the supporting infrastructure needed by small and start-up innovation led businesses.

Adjoining the office space, the striking boat-shaped building houses the harbour master's office, a café, and conference facilities. Overlooking the marina, it includes a café on the ground, floor opening out on to Harbour Square.

"We are about to appoint an operator for the café," said building manager Justin Wingfield. "It will be open to the public, and will provide catering for conferences."

Also on the ground floor is gallery room, which can provide space for local artists to display their work.

On the first floor is a glass walled yacht club room with bar area, and the harbour master's office overlooking the river, with a "galley" rather than a kitchen, control room and marine services.

The second floor - the highest conference space in Fenland - contains two meeting rooms, divided by a "floating wall," which are fully surrounded by a balcony with impressive river views through its glass walls.

Rooms inside the award winning development are named after 19th century boat builder Richard Young, and various boats built in Wisbech, including the Lady Alice Lampton, and Pendennis.

Boating enthusiasts are well catered for, having toilets, shower, and facilities.

Much of the funding for the development came from Europe, and its eco-credentials are impeccable, with rain water harvesting, cedar cladding, a wind turbine, and movement responsive lighting.

The office complex includes 38 units, ranging from 20 to 70 square metres, housing from two to 12 people.

Tenants for the smallest units will pay around £350 a month, and benefit from a fully serviced reception, kitchen and toilet facilities, secure parking, photo-copying and faxing, CCTV and secure parking, broad band connection, and utilities.