THE former headquarters of what was once the North East’s biggest advertising firm is being converted into a centre for new businesses.
Stuart Robson and Alan Brown launched their ad firm in Clavering House near Central Station in Newcastle and built it to turn over nearly £40m before selling it to a US agency which led it until it collapsed two years ago.
Since then the ad firm has re-emerged as a smaller but growing business under the ownership of London ad giant Mission and now the building Robson Brown bought as semi-derelict and transformed is about to start its new life.
Mark and Helen Reed have teamed up with Robson and Brown, who still own Clavering House, to open Newcastle Business Village. Although not officially open until next month, the centre has already attracted four tenants. It will operate as a fully-serviced business centre, providing permanent office space and meeting rooms for up to 50 people.
Reed said: “We started about three years ago in the other building we owned in Benton. That was getting to a point where it’s pretty much full. We really wanted to do a city centre location.
“We spent about a year looking for the right building. The important thing was getting the right building in the right place.”
He heard that Clavering House may be available and met with Robson and Brown to discuss his plans.
“They own the building and it’s a joint venture,” said Reed. “We are going to operate it partly as a business centre but we are going to have the whole basement as a business hub and office hub. Any amount of businesses can come in and out on a daily basis.