First new building in the Northampton Waterside Enterprise Zone is University’s £8.5m Innovation Centre.

A few months later that planned, the University of Northampton Innovation Centre finally opened it’s doors on 5th August 2015. The centre was slated to open earlier in the year but delays with the installation of high speed broadband caused a knock on delay to its official opening. The centre comprises of “42 flexible office units, a cafe and conference spaces” and offers an “excellent commercial environment and support for enterprises developing and operating in a socially responsible manner”. This falls in line with the University’s focus on social enterprise, which has been a priority since the current vice chancellor Nik Petford took over in 2010.

Standing directly opposite the newly opened train station the Innovation centre is ideally suited for organisations that do a lot of business in Birmingham, Milton Keynes and London. But the building’s lack of a car park has put off some potential tenants, who are asked to purchase an annual permit for the nearby car parks run by the council. Disabled parking is provided and for the more active there is a large, secure indoor bike storage area.

The Innovation Centre is right opposite Northampton Station

It’s also next to “Four Waterside”, AKA “Four Northampton”, a series of commercial plots which span from the Innovation centre over to the Carlsberg roundabout. These plots are currently on the market and once sold they will be developed by the company. The 3D renderings of these buildings look modern and when they are complete this particular stretch of the Northampton Waterside Enterprise Zone will be very smart indeed.

Renders for the Proposed “Four Northampton” developments by Kier Construction. Innovation Centre at top left, Carlsberg roundabout just off-screen bottom right.

Back to the Innovation Centre! Walking through the revolving door at the front of the building takes you into its atrium, with a suite of conference rooms to your right and a large cafe area at the back left. This ground floor is open to the public, who can use the cafe and book space in the conference rooms. The four floors above contain the offices, range in size from a single person room up to the top floor which is all one office! The offices have a modern feel and the floor to ceiling windows give great views across Northampton.

The ‘Fuel” cafe, an empty office, the building’s frontage & its atrium

At the time of writing a handful of the offices are occupied, and the University hopes to fill the rest over the coming months. The authors of this blog post have taken an office in the building and a few teething problems with the phone system aside we are very impressed and whole heatedly recommend it. Here’s to the new home of Innovation in Northampton!

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