David Sidlow
David Sidlow, Ian Tew and Martin Westgate.
Rebecca Wayman

US firm appoints Knight Frank on £2m research lab construction in Gateshead

Electric vehicle innovator, BorgWarner’s growth plans have progressed as work begins on a new £2m state-of-the-art research and development lab in Gateshead.

US giant BorgWarner, which makes components for electric vehicles, has appointed Knight Frank Newcastle to develop the facility on Team Valley which will safeguard 200 jobs.

BorgWarner, which bought out Gateshead company Sevcon last year, moved into 55,000 sq ft of premises at the rear of Gateshead College’s Skills Academy for Construction in March 2017.

Knight Frank’s building consultancy team, headed by partner Ian Tew, is project managing the development of the laboratory.

He said: “We have actually been working on this project for over a year as we were originally appointed by Sevcon prior to the company being taken over by Borg Warner, so it’s a relief to finally get on site and get started.

“It’s a very exciting, futuristic development to be involved with and because the project is securing a significant amount of local jobs, it’s even more of a pleasure to be steering it.”

Two existing properties are being remodelled to facilitate the company’s expansion.

The laboratory, which will be used by highly-skilled engineers to develop clean tech prototypes for testing, is the second phase of the development. The first phase - a two-storey office block on the same site on Princesway - is now complete.

Robertson North East are the general contractors, Blake Hopkinson are the architects, Portland Engineers are managing the structural engineering and Wilson Grey are the mechanical and electrical engineers.

BorgWarner is said to benefit from the global move to increase electric car usage, which has seen it grow headcount over the last three years and build up a £320m order book.

David Sidlow, general manager at Borg Warner, added: “We are delighted to have Knight Frank onboard to project manage the next phase of our expansion.

“The new premises will provide us with the facilities and space to achieve the next stage of our growth strategy. We are investing heavily in the new offices and testing facilities and hope to be up-and-running by the summer next year.”

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