Leading video games company to boost Newcastle studio
Ubisoft secures expanded lease for its Newcastle based AAA games development studio.
Despite lockdown, Ubisoft Reflections will take a 10-year lease of the second floor of Partnership House in Gosforth totalling 14,370 sq. ft. Property consultants Lambert Smith Hampton (LSH) and Knight Frank acted on behalf of landlord, Newcastle City Council while Ubisoft Reflections were represented by Avison Young.
This award-winning firm, who already occupy the third and fifth floors have simultaneously re-geared existing leases to coincide with this acquisition, taking its total space occupied to 43,987 sq. ft, making it Newcastle’s largest office letting of 2020.
Ubisoft Reflections is a leading, people-first studio and industry leaders in creating worlds for AAA IP, vehicles & driving technology, as well as creators of award-winning indie-inspired games. With a 30-year history in Newcastle, the studio is one of the oldest in the UK with more than 240 staff based in Gosforth. The city is also home to Ubisoft’s EMEA Consumer Relationship Centre, based at the Haymarket Hub in the city centre, where over 230 staff provide support for consumers across the EMEA region.
Giselle Stewart, Director of UK Corporate Affairs, Ubisoft said: “We are very pleased to announce these new plans for the growth of our studio in Newcastle. The expansion of Ubisoft Reflections represents a new stage in the development of our presence in the UK, and we are excited about the opportunities this represents for our talented teams and for the projects they are working on. The UK is an important hub of games talent, innovation and creativity, and this growth will offer the scope to build on the studio’s long history in the North East and provide a strong basis for our future plans.”
Richard Blenkinsop, Managing Director, Ubisoft Reflections and Ubisoft Leamington said: “I’m proud to confirm that we have signed a 10-year lease with Newcastle Council within Partnership House. The new agreement allows us to expand beyond our two floors and, by August, we aim to have renovations complete and all three floors operational. This growth is not only significant for Ubisoft, but also for the North East video game industry as a whole, as it continues to become a hotspot for industry leading talent from all over the world.”
A recent report by Ukie, highlighted Newcastle as a hotspot for gaming. The games association ranked Newcastle as one of 8 UK cities where gaming generates more than £60 million in GVA. Newcastle was the fourth biggest city, contributing £85.8 million - the biggest contribution of any gaming sector to its regional economy outside London.
Jennifer Hartley, Director, Invest Newcastle, and Dynamo Advisory Board Member said: “Newcastle has one of the largest and most historic Games communities in the UK, and Ubisoft has been a huge part of that story. They have made a huge contribution to the games industry, our local economy, and have supported the creation of hundreds of skilled careers. I have no doubt that our immersive tech specialisms, the support of our world leading universities and our impressive tech clusters, our gaming sector will continue to go from strength to strength. We are so proud that Ubisoft Reflections are building on their existing international legacy from Newcastle, a place that’s not only full of talent, but a place where businesses can foster a creative workplace culture. It’s not just about business, it’s about people and creating an environment where they can live and work well.”
Councillor Ged Bell, Cabinet Member for Employment and Culture at Newcastle City Council said: “This investment from Ubisoft Reflections signals confidence for the future and is testament to our city as a place to establish and grow a successful gaming business. We are so proud of Ubisoft Reflection’s history and the role they have played in creating new opportunities and skilled careers for our people. We couldn’t be prouder that they will continue to build on their UK presence from our great city.”
Partnership House is a landmark 10-storey office building located within the Regent Centre business park providing a Grade A specification with on-site parking. It was originally built to act as the headquarters complex of the Northern Rock bank. Other occupiers include Airbus Defense Space, Clifford Chance and Cundall. The latest letting leaves just 9,462 sq. ft available on the first floor.
Jonathan Sykes, Director at Lambert Smith Hampton, added: “At nearly 44,000 sq. ft, this letting and re-gear represents the largest office deal in Newcastle this year. The fact that it completed during lockdown reflects Ubisoft’s commitment to the city, as well as the quality of the building and its location.”