Connect Derby

Marble Hall Fills

Occupancy levels at Bondholder Connect Derby's managed workspace Marble Hall now exceed 93%.

The grade-two listed former Rolls-Royce building on Nightingale Road underwent a £4m refurbishment in 2016 to transform it into a vibrant facility, including a day nursery and training café.

Since opening in June 2016, the building has grown in popularity, attracting a diverse range of tenants – from new start-ups to established and developing businesses.

Speaking about Marble Hall’s continuing success, Ann Bhatti, head of Connect Derby, said: “To achieve almost maximum capacity, particularly in the current uncertain economic climate, is tremendous and reflects the hard work put in every day by the Connect Derby team."

The building was granted £1.5m from the Growing Places capital investment fund, run by Bondholder D2N2 LEP.


Innovation at Infinity Park

Today Derby City Council's cabinet is set to vote on plans to build ca. 50,000 sq ft of extra space at Infinity Park Derby, which could cost in the region of £10m – further recognising Derby’s credentials as the UK Capital for Innovation.

The site, which is located next to the world headquarters of Rolls-Royce Civil Aerospace, is a collaboration between Derby City Council, Rolls-Royce, developers Cedar House Investments, the Harpur Crewe Estate, Wilson Bowden and Peveril Securities.

The councillors will vote whether to enter into a collaboration agreement with the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) and the D2N2 Local Economic Partnership (LEP) to create a major new research and development centre; which would be owned by the council and run by AMRC.

The new facility in Derby would have national 'Catapult' status as part of a network of ‘world-leading’ centres designed to transform the UK’s capability for innovation in specific areas and help drive future economic growth.

The AMRC and the LEP are currently seeking approvals from their respective governing bodies to enter into this agreement.


In order that R&D activities can commence quickly, it is proposed that the AMRC is initially let space at Connect Derby’s iHub on Infinity Park – a state-of-the-art managed workspace, where they would co-locate with other hi-tech businesses, including new tenant Airbus which has taken two facilities totalling 1500 sq ft at the site.  Airbus selected the iHub because of its close proximity to Rolls-Royce’s headquarters.

Martin Rawson, Deputy Leader of Derby City Council said: "The arrival of Airbus is a massive coup for the iHub, and just the right kind of tenant for the building.”

"It is yet another example of a developing business taking advantage of the unique opportunity to relocate to accommodation in a hi-tech, manufacturing focused innovation technology park."

Innovation Opens Up

Bondholder Connect Derby has teamed up with ENSCITE, a support organisation for companies in the transport equipment manufacturing supply chain, to host a special event at the £12m iHub innovation centre on Infinity Park.

The ‘Insider Event’ is taking place at the iHub on Wednesday 28 th February (4.30pm – 6.00pm) and is aimed at companies looking to expand their role within the rail, aerospace and automotive supply industries.

Businesses operating in the transport engineering and hi-tech sectors across the Midlands are invited to find out more about the workshop and office accommodation offer at the iHub and how Connect Derby’s collaboration with ENSCITE, a joint venture between the University of Derby, Derby City Council and Aston University, can help take their business to the next level.

Commenting on the ‘Insider’ event, Ann Bhatti, head of Connect Derby, said: “We look forward to welcoming businesses from across the Midlands to the iHub on 28 February.

“The unique workshop provision at the iHub is proving very popular with businesses seeking a hybrid working environment and only a limited number of units are still available. I would encourage anyone keen to find out more to book their place and come and see this fantastic accommodation for themselves.”

The iHub is the centrepiece of Infinity Park, the 100-acre manufacturing focused innovation and technology park in the city. It features 18 high specification offices and 14 state-of-the-art workshop units, which are ideal for businesses in need of a hybrid working environment.

The building also offers a multi-purpose ‘heart space’ area, which is establishing a reputation as a leading regional conference and event venue, as well as conference and meeting rooms which are open to tenants and non-tenants.

Grade A Offices Coming to Derby

Derby City Council has announced plans to build speculatively 31,000 sq ft of Grade-A office space in the heart of the city centre.

Following the success of the Connect Derby office schemes, which provides award-winning space for start-ups and small businesses in growth, the City Council is set to respond to demand from larger businesses in the city.

Traditional development processes include 15-year leases and 18-24 month lead times, which many businesses are no longer able to accommodate and is one of the main reasons Derby has such a lack of Grade-A office space in the city centre.

The site for the £6.37 million development is on Bold Lane, adjacent to the existing Sadler Bridge Studios, with construction due to start later this year and completion in 2019/2020.

Martin Rawson, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Regeneration, said, “This new model of office development is the next step for helping smaller businesses to grow, develop and generate more jobs and to improve developer confidence. The Council is already in discussion with a number of interested businesses and they are excited at the prospects.”

John Forkin, Managing Director of Marketing Derby, said, “This is a significant announcement for the city centre economy. Quality office space is desperately needed and we expect this development to let very quickly. Hopefully it will act as evidence for private developers that newly-built office schemes are a sound investment in Derby.”

Absolute Growth

Since relocating its head office to Friar Gate Studios - run by Bondholder Connect Derby - 18 months ago, Bondholder Absolute Networks is celebrating its most successful year of trading to date.

The IT solutions company has seen turnover rise by 40% in the last 12 months. This success sees Absolute Networks in negotiations to open another office in Derby and planning to increase the workforce to cope with demand.

Matt Drew, Absolute Networks’ managing director says: “The move to Friar Gate Studios has been great for us. It’s a technology hub, providing us with an on-site resilient datacentre. We’re providing a better, faster service to our customers, helping us to grow our business further.”

The team at Absolute Networks has been concentrating on the core competencies of the business, providing tailored IT solutions for businesses around the UK, with a strong emphasis on the local area.

Since the move Absolute Networks have seen high demand for complete IT support services, cloud solutions, network infrastructures, as well as cyber security and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) consultancy.

City on the Up

Derby has been featured in Natwest’s national “Exciting Cities” series, with input from several

The series looks at cities across the UK that are in high growth with a thriving business community. With a focus on a strong business culture for start-ups, the research has praised the work of Bondholder University of Derby for their incubation spaces, with a particular focus on Banks Mill.

The health of the economy is mentioned with the recent research conducted by Irwin Mitchell a key point, noting that Derby is the fastest-growing city economy in the region, with GVA increasing by 15.1%, and job creation by 1.1%.

David Torrington, Managing Director of Bondholder Sky Recruitment Solutions, is quoted as saying: “The transport links are good and that matters. I like that Derby has a certain intimacy because of its size. The relationships you can form in the city are strong and lasting and not just purely commercial.”

Maria Hanson MBE, founder of Mee & Dee said the business community mentioned low rents and supportive businesses such as Bondholders Franklands Insurance and Sellick Partnership.

She said, “We’re also a member of Marketing Derby, which is a thriving hub, and are plugged into [Bondholder] Connect Derby too, which provides connectivity and facilities for small business and not-for- profits like us.”

To read the full article, go to be8a-b0ae-a2575de44625.

Further Success for iHub

After its recent win at the RICS Awards 2017, the iHub has been nominated for a further three awards. 

The iHub, the latest addition to Bondholder Connect Derby's portfolio of managed workspaces, has been shortlisted in three categories at the East Midlands Celebrating Construction Awards.

The Celebrating Construction Awards are firmly established as a highlight in the regional construction calendar in the Midlands, and is attended by industry professionals from across the Midlands and beyond.

The iHub has been shortlisted as a finalist in the Digital Construction Project/Initiative of the Year, Sustainability Award, and Project of the Year categories.

To win Digital Construction Project/Initiative of the Year, judges will be looking for examples of how collaborative digital processes has improved the planning, design, fabrication, construction and operation of built facilities or infrastructure.

The winner of the Project of the Year award will go to an outstanding local project or a high- profile landmark that inspires the designers, constructors and clients.

To win the Sustainability Award, judges will be looking for organisations or projects whose legacy will have a positive impact on society.

Ann Bhatti, Connect Derby Manager, said: “The iHub is a state-of- the-art facility which is being recognised by many awarding bodies across the region.

“Everybody involved in the development and management of the building is extremely proud that the building’s cutting edge design, accommodation and facilities have been shortlisted for a further three regional awards.”

iHub - Catalyst for Growth

The iHub, part of Bondholder Connect Derby's portfolio of serviced offices, has scooped the commercial accolade at the RICS Awards. 

Chair of the RICS Awards' East Midland’s judging panel, Will Evans FRICS said: “This most impressive commercial development offers a unique opportunity for aspiring businesses to locate to offices and/or workshops in a manufacturing focused innovation technology park.

"What amazed our judges the most was the way the development encapsulates within its physical characteristics the spirit of transport engineering with its curvilinear features. It really is a beacon of success and a catalyst for growth.”

The RICS Awards highlight the talent involved in shaping the East Midlands' built environment. 

The iHub will now go forward to the RICS Awards Grand Final 2017, held in London on 2 November 2017 to compete against other regional winners for the overall title of National Project of the Year.

iHub Nominated for Prestigious Awards

The iHub, part of Bondholder Connect Derby's portfolio of serviced offices, has been shortlisted for two RICS awards. 

The building has been nominated in both the ‘Regeneration’ and ‘Commercial’ categories at this year’s RICS Awards 2017, East Midlands.

Widely regarded as the premier property and constructions awards in the country, the RICS Awards showcase the most inspirational regional initiatives and developments in land, property, construction and the environment across eight categories.

The iHub, which has exceeded 50% occupancy since its launch last Autumn, has been shortlisted in the ‘Commercial’ category, which honours an outstanding commercial property development across the retail, office, leisure, industrial or mixed use sectors - and the ‘Regeneration’ category, which showcases exceptional improvements to urban, rural or coastal areas.

Martin Rawson, Deputy Leader of Bondholder Derby City Council, said: "For the iHub to receive nominations in two categories at this year’s awards is a tremendous achievement and testament to the vision shown by the regeneration team at Derby City Council to create a scheme, that features an innovative design, meet its occupiers needs and represents value for money.

“The iHub aims to build on the city's reputation for creating cutting-edge ideas, particularly in the aerospace, automotive and transport industries, and reinforces the city’s reputation as the UK ‘capital for innovation.”

Ann Bhatti, Connect Derby Manager, added: “Being nominated for two prestigious awards is another example of the hugely positive reaction that the iHub has received since it joined the Connect Derby portfolio of buildings last Spring.

“The iHub because boasts hi-specification office and workshop accommodation, along with state-of- the-art equipment and business support services and we’re proud to say that it can rival any similar scheme in the UK.”

Connect's 22

Bondholder Connect Derby, the region’s fastest growing managed workspace scheme, is celebrating its third anniversary with the news that it has created 22 new jobs for local people.

Since it was launched in the Spring of 2014, the Connect Derby project has exceeded all expectations - and is now a £30m project, which boasts 200 tenants across a diverse range of industry sectors.

During this time Connect Derby has expanded from its original five buildings to seven - Friar Gate Studios, Kings Chambers, Sadler Bridge Studios, Riverside Chambers, Shot Tower and most recently, the iconic Marble Hall on Nightingale Road and the iHub in the heart of Infinity Park Derby.

The scheme continues to achieve high levels of occupancy across its seven buildings. Marble Hall achieved 55% occupancy less than four months after its launch, whilst occupancy levels at the iHub innovation centre recently passed the 50% mark.

As well as creating 22 new job within Connect Derby, it has also contributed to the creation of more than 220 jobs amongst the 2,700 businesses and entrepreneurs it has supported. 106 new businesses have been attracted into Connect Derby locations, 28% of which have relocated into Connect Derby buildings from outside of Derby city.

The scheme now supports some 229 SMEs across the professional services, creative industries and technology sectors.

Speaking of its success, Councillor Martin Rawson, Deputy Leader of  Bondholder Derby City Council, said: “Connect Derby project offers a high level of economic regeneration and job creation, backed by business development support and digital communication and over the past three years, has succeeded in creating a community that values skills, knowledge and collaboration.

“The Connect Derby scheme is contributing to the economic prosperity of the city and supporting many new and existing businesses and I would like to congratulate Ann Bhatti and her team for all their hard work over the past three years.”

Ann Bhatti, Connect Derby manager, added: “I have been part of Connect Derby’s journey since day one and it’s been a privilege to watch it develop into the vibrant organisation it is today."

Riverside Chambers on the Box

RIverside Chambers, part of Bondholder Connect Derby's portfolio of serviced offices, is set to appear on Channel 4's Great British Buildings: Restoration of the Year, tonight.

Hosted by Kevin McCloud and Dr Anna Keay, the show showcases the most incredible restorations of historic buildings. From palaces to watermills, department stores to music halls, they unfold nine centuries of our history told through treasured places that have been brought back from the brink.

Riverside Chambers, is a grade II-Listed neo-Georgian building, dating back to the 1930s. Bondholders Derby City Council and Maber helped transform the former Magistrates Court, into serviced offices.

David Ward, Planning Director at Wilson Bowden, who were also involved in the project, said: "Wilson Bowden are delighted that it’s work on the Former Magistrates Court (Riverside Chambers) is being recognised on Channel 4’s Great British Buildings: Restoration of the Year
“This was a challenging project and required careful handling of the buildings fabrics, restoring it to its former glory whilst at the same time delivering a 21st Century working environment.
“It also required collaborative working with a number of parties, including Derby City Council with its local studies library, as well as the quality workmanship of our contractors Cleggs, and vision of Maber architects."

High Occupancy Rates at iHub

Occupancy levels at the new £12m iHub  on Infinity Park have passed the 50% mark - just six months after the building officially opened its doors to tenants.

Bondholder Connect Derby has confirmed the 45,000 sq ft facility has attracted a diverse range of SMEs and large businesses from across the rail, aerospace and automotive supply industries.

The latest new tenants include Bondholders Elastacloud and Serjeants.

A further 40% of accommodation is currently under negotiation, which will take the building to 90% occupancy within its first year of trading.

The iHub, which has Enterprise Zone status, is the centre piece of Infinity Park, the new 100-acre manufacturing focused commercial and technology site.

Speaking about the success of the iHub since its launch, Alan Smith, head of economic regeneration at Bondholder Derby City Council, said:

“I am delighted that businesses have shown their commitment to the iHub and we are already 50% let, which is well ahead of our own forecast.

“This demonstrates that the building is exactly the right product for the right market.”

Ann Bhatti, Connect Derby manager, added: “We’re absolutely delighted with the positive reaction that the iHub has received since it joined the Connect Derby portfolio of buildings last Spring.

“Our new tenants have chosen the iHub because of its strategic location in the region, the hi-specification office and workshop accommodation and state-of-the-art equipment and business support services that are on offer. We look forward to announcing more new tenants in the coming weeks.”

The Brighter City of Derby Awards

Bondholder Derby Civic Society has recognised a number of restored and regenerated buildings in the Brighter City of Derby Awards. 

The Awards recognise buildings that have made improvements to Derby through new construction, maintenance or restorations.

Recipients of the awards include Marble Hall, managed by Bondholder Connect Derby; the New Infant Department at Derby High School, designed by fellow Bondholder Pick Everard; the iHub at Infinity Park Derby; the Media Centre at the 3aaa County Ground, also designed by Pick Everard; and Cathedral Court, by Bondholder Prosperity Capital Partners. 

Marble Hall - First Prize, Refurbishment Category

"As Rolls Royce's first factory in Derby, this is a unique part of the city's heritage and is therefore worthy of restoration and preservation. The developers have gone to great lengths to restore and conserve this important building, particularly the Marble Hall with good quality materials and craftsmanship. They have found a new use for the building, by converting into small business units."

The New Infant Department at Derby High School - First Prize, New Build

The building is "aesthetically pleasing but also fulfils its design purpose very well."

The Innovation Centre at Infinity Park Derby - Highly Commended, New Build

The judges felt that the design was aesthetically pleasing and works well as an "anchor" building for the important new Infinity business park.

The Media Centre at the 3aaa County Ground - Generally Commended

The judges scored the Media Centre was commended for its contribution to the city. 

Cathedral Court -Generally Commended

The judges said the building "sits in its street scene surprisingly well and is functional".

Justin Smith Architects Moves to New Premises

After more than a decade at Connect Derby's Friar Gate Studios, the building’s first ever tenant has said his final farewells as he moves to his own purpose-designed premises on Queen Street.

Justin Smith Architects moved into the managed workspace scheme for the creative industries on Ford Street in March 2007 and was the first business to take space at the building following its completion by Bondholder Derby City Council.

In the intervening decade, both Justin’s business and Friar Gate Studios have gone from strength to strength. Justin has expanded within the building several times and now employs a team of 10 skilled professionals, who carry out a broad range of work - from small refurbishments to large office buildings and residential properties.

Justin has now relocated to new 4,000 ft2 premises on Queen Street in the heart of the Cathedral Quarter. The building has been the subject of a redevelopment programme over the past six months. Set over four floors, it now features a retail reception, design studios, consultation spaces, meeting rooms, a café, and a gym.

The relocation comes at a time of significant growth for the business, which is also set to operate a new venture, the Design Advice Centre, from its new premises.

Speaking of the move and the help and support he has received from Ann Bhatti and her team over the past 10 years, Justin said:

 “After spending five years working from home I decided the time was right to get offices that would allow me to expand the business. This proved difficult as most of the premises on the market at the time had long tie-ins, or weren’t big enough to accommodate the type of work we do.

“Then Friar Gate Studios opened and was perfect for me. On my first day, there was just Ann Bhatti and me in the building - since then I’ve seen Friar Gate Studios expand and the launch of Connect Derby, which has attracted some of Derby’s most exciting businesses.

“The help and support that the Connect Derby team, particularly Ann, have given me over the last 10 years has been invaluable and I wouldn’t be where I am today without them. It will be sad to leave, but I know this is an important step in the development of Justin Smith Architects.”

Ann Bhatti, Connect Derby business manager, is sad to see the business move on, but is delighted to see Justin move to the next level:

“It is with a mixture of a heavy heart and immense pride that we are saying goodbye to Justin and his team as they see leave for pastures new.

 “They’ve been fantastic tenants over the past 10 years and are a great example of what a company can achieve with the right infrastructure and the range of business support and mentoring that is available through Connect Derby."

Expansion for Serjeants

We are delighted to welcome Leanne to Serjeants; she brings valuable expertise in trademarks, copyright and domain names and her appointment strengthens and supports our busy and fast-growing team.
— Darran Thacker, Partner

As part of its regional expansion plans, Bondholder Serjeants has appointed Leanne Hall as its new trademark attorney. 

At the trademark and patent firm, Leanne will be advising on the protection and enforcement of trademarks for the firm’s clients as well as working with the partners to grow the business.

Serjeants expanded into Derby earlier this year, and opened their office in the iHub, part of the Bondholder Connect scheme, in Infinity Park.

Leanne said: “I am looking forward to the challenge of being back in private practice; from previous experience no two days are ever the same!

I am also looking forward to building up client relationships – helping and educating them to ensure that they have the correct protection for their brands and businesses”.

Bondholders Toast Success at Top Property Awards

Bondholders Derby City Council, Connect Derby, Innes England and Goodman Logistics UK  toasted success last week at the East Midlands Property Dinner.

The East Midlands Property Dinner 2016 celebrated the strength of the region's property sector, and promoted the very best in real estate, construction and design.

Connect Derby and Derby City Council were awarded Regeneration and Restoration Project of the Year for their restoration of the iconic Marble Hall,  a Grade II listed former Rolls-Royce building. The building is now  a vibrant managed workspace facility.

Property Deal of the Year was awarded to property experts Goodman Logistics UK, for their involvement in the pre-let of the Ted Baker distribution centre at Derby Commercial Park, alongside Anglesea Logistics Partnerships and No Ordinary Designer Label.

This recent award reflects the strength of the business and is also a testament to the hard work being put in by the team.
— Tim Garratt, Managing Director at Innes England

Finally, property consultancy Innes England scooped the Agent of the Year award at the ceremony. 

Tim Garratt, Managing Director at Innes England, said: "We are thrilled to have won the award for agent of the year once again as the competition in the category was fierce." 


Cactus's new roots

Bondholder Cactus Images has said its decision to move to fellow Bondholder Connect Derby's Marble Hall building is already paying off with its clients saying how brilliant the new space is.

Chris Howard, Joint-Founder of Cactus Images, said: "We were worried about leaving Friar Gate Studios because of its proximity to town, which has appeal, but we needed more room, so when Marble Hall became available we went for it.

He continued: "At Friar Gate Studios we had to operate out of two studios. Here we've been able to consolidate everything into one space. We've got a nice environment here and everyone who comes to Marble Hall says it's brilliant."

Marketing Derby reported earlier this month that Connect Derby's Marble Hall development has already attained 55% occupancy within four months of opening and another 8% occupancy in the pipeline.


We’ve got a nice environment here and everyone who comes to Marble Hall says it’s brilliant.
— Chris Howard, Joint-Founder of Cactus Images

Serjeants expands into Derby

Left to right: Dean Lacey and Darran Thacker.

Patent and trade mark attorneys Serjeants has announced the next phase of its expansion with the opening of its new Derby office, after support from the teams at Marketing Derby and Bondholder Connect Derby.

Serjeants has identified Derby as the ideal location for its next strategic move and was the first tenant to sign a contract for office space at Bondholder Connect Derby's iHub building on Infinity Park.

Darran Thacker, Partner at Serjeants, said: "Derby has long been the high-tech manufacturing capital of the East Midlands. We work closely with engineering businesses and the opening of the iHub, which is dedicated to supporting supply chain businesses for leading OEMs, provided us with the ideal opportunity to find a location close to the businesses we enjoy working with."

Jimmy Drew, Inward Investment Executive at Marketing Derby, said: "Having worked closely with Serjeants it was clear from the outset that the iHub was a great location for them, based on their requirements, and we'd like to wish them every success in their new home."

The Derby office will be led by partners Darran Thacker and Dean Lacey.

Marble Hall Success

The £4 million renovation investment at Bondholder Connect Derby's Marble Hall building is already paying off with 55% occupancy less than four months after opening.

The Grade II listed former Rolls-Royce building is now a vibrant managed workspace facility with a range of extra services, so it's no surprise a further 8% of space is also under negotiation.

Ranjit Banwait, Leader of Derby City Council, said: "To achieve 55% occupancy, with a further 8% under negotiation, within four months of opening is a fantastic achievement and is testament to the fantastic refurbishment work and the vision shown by the regeneration team at Derby City Council to create a facility, which will provide the community with much-needed facilities."

He concluded: "The scheme is already bringing significant investment to the area, which is good news for everyone."

Marble Hall builds on the success of Derby City Council's £14.2 million project, Connect Derby. The space joins a strong portfolio of managed workspaces across the city including: Friar Gate Studios, Kings Chambers, Sadler Bridge Studios, Shot Tower, Riverside Chambers and the exciting new iHub innovation centre.

Anyone interested in taking office space at Marble Hall should contact Ann Bhatti on 01332 258300 ( or Russell Rigby at Bondholder Rigby & Co, on 01332 203377 (

New hire at Marble Hall

Just a few months after Bondholder Koobr moved to Connect Derby's Marble Hall offices, a new digital marketing manager has joined the firm.

Jaide Spencer joins Koobr with seven years' of experience including securing events with Swarovski at her previous employer.

Commenting on the increased demand for digital marketing services, Managing Director of Koobr, Craig Barker, commented: "Digital marketing is now a significant part of what we do, as more businesses want to utilise the benefits of social media and content marketing to promote services and communicate with customers."

He continued: "Our clients also want to see measured results in their marketing. Jaide's appointment as a marketing strategist compliments the creative side of what we do — strengthening Koobr's position as one of Derby's leading brand communication companies."

The expanding firm is also recruiting for another web developer to facilitate the demand for the web design side of the business. Find out more here.