Launch of Connect Thirty Eight puts Ashford on the map for business
Quinn Estates has officially opened the highly anticipated Connect Thirty Eight – 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.
Already contributing to the success of Kent’s International Town and one of Ashford’s ‘Big 8’ development projects, Connect Thirty Eight, 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 has already welcomed its first tenants with infrastructure consultants, Peter Brett, accountancy firm Wilkins Kennedy, and dental practice Pennypot Dental the first to arrive. Connect Thirty Eight will be part of what will ultimately become a 600,000 sq ft office and retail campus.
Mark Quinn, Chairman/CEO, Quinn Estates said: “This project is one of my proudest achievements to date. Connect Thirty Eight and Ashford Commercial Quarter is going to mark a new chapter for Ashford and sets the standard for office space in the South East.
“It’s been brilliant to celebrate the official opening with representatives from so many of the county’s leading businesses and organisations today. 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 Thirty Eight 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 Thirty Eight is the dynamic new business hub in town – we have already let 75% of the space. We look forward to seeing a new professional community develop here onsite in this state-of-the-art collaborative workspace.”
Connect Thirty Eight has been delivered by Quinn Estates, in partnership with George Wilson Developments, and with the strong backing of Ashford Borough Council who see 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: “We’ve been hugely excited to watch the construction of Connect Thirty Eight over the last few months. Now, it has come to fruition and it’s even better than we could have imagined.
“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 Thirty Eight. It is a really good example of quality design, location and construction coming together to create a really special building that I think myself, Quinn Estates and Ashford District Council can be really proud of.
“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 Thirty Eight 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 Thirty Eight 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.”