Published: 09:42, 22 October 2018
| Updated: 16:28, 10 December 2019
It's been just over four months since Quinn Estates' Connect 38 was launched – the first building to be launched on the Ashford Commercial Quarter site marking the start of an exciting new chapter in the town’s story as the economic powerhouse of Kent.
One of Ashford’s Big 8 development projects, Connect 38, designed by Canterbury-based Clague Architects, is the largest office block to be built in Kent for 20 years with 75% of the building let.
Located adjacent to Ashford International Rail Station - linking the town with high speed services to London and Europe - the new building delivers 80,500 sq ft of office, restaurant and retail space with the creation of around 481 full-time jobs.
The new building had welcomed its first tenants with infrastructure consultants, Peter Brett, accountancy firm Wilkins Kennedy, and dental practice Pennypot Dental the first to arrive. Connect 38 will be part of what will ultimately become a 600,000 sq ft office and retail campus.
Mark Quinn, chairman/CEO, of Quinn Estates said: “This project is one of my proudest achievements to date. Connect 38 and the Ashford Commercial Quarter is going to mark a new chapter for Ashford and sets the standard for office space in the south east.
“We’ve had great feedback and people really believe that this development is the start of a new legacy in Ashford.
“Working on this project in partnership with George Wilson has been a great experience – his knowledge, experience and expertise added another dimension to the scheme which has raised the building above and beyond.
“Connect 38 represents an extraordinary opportunity for businesses looking to relocate locally, or from London and further afield. The international train station is almost adjacent to the development site, making this an ideal commuting location."
Connect 38 has been delivered by Quinn Estates, in partnership with George Wilson Developments, and with the strong backing of Ashford Borough Council which sees the scheme as pivotal to the town’s future economic success. To enable the first phase of development at the Commercial Quarter, the council has underwritten the cost of two floors of the office block.
Cllr Gerry Clarkson, leader of Ashford Borough Council said: “This building, and Ashford Commercial Quarter as a larger site, makes an important statement about the borough’s economic position, our can-do attitude as an authority, our sharp commercial focus and the confidence that key businesses and developers have in the town.
“This borough has a rich heritage, but we are also embracing growth with ambitious plans for the future. Ashford Commercial Quarter marks a significant project within our Big 8 developments – major projects emphasising this ambition. These developments illustrate our intention to unlock major opportunities, while delivering new jobs, housing, retail and cultural facilities.”
George Wilson, chairman, George Wilson Holdings, said: “As somebody who has been in the development industry for over 40 years I am really proud to be involved with Connect 38. It is a really good example of quality design, location and construction coming together to create a really special building.
“More importantly, it creates economic benefits in perpetuity for the town as well as providing much needed space for 600 people to work.”
Karl Elliott, managing partner at Clague Architects, said: “Connect 38 marks a step-change in terms of the design and quality of commercial development being brought forward in Kent, and east of London.
“With St Pancras only 38 minutes away, hence its name, Connect 38 and the forthcoming other buildings that make up Ashford Commercial Quarter, a masterplan we’re currently finalising for Quinn Estates, will ensure Ashford is a very strong destination for ambitious businesses.”
For more info on Quinn Estates go to www.quinn-estates.com
More by this authorChris Britcher