Read here about why our Chairman at Scarborough Group International is even more committed to build in Yorkshire.


Property entrepreneur Kevin McCabe reveals post-covid offices plan

One of Yorkshire’s most successful entrepreneurs is poised to start developing over 300,000 sq ft of office space across the region as he adapts the schemes for a post-covid era.

Speaking to The Yorkshire Post, Kevin McCabe, chairman of development company Scarborough Group International, said work would start soon on new phases at Thorpe Park in Leeds, Sheffield Digital Campus (DC) and Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park.

Architects are tweaking drawings to accommodate new features for a post-2020 office world, which could include more open space, medical rooms and improved air filtration.

“If you’re going to be successful in property development, you must be progressive,” Mr McCabe said.

“It would be easy to close down and say let’s just sit on real estate but we’re still pressing ahead, pretty much in line with what we were planning.”

Scarborough Group International, which employs about 50 staff directly, is in the fortunate position not to have put any spades in the ground for these buildings yet, making it easier to tweak the plans.

“Thankfully we’ve not started to really build, we’ve been doing the pre-development work and building starts next year,” he said.

He added: “Covid is definitely focusing the mind. Business parks like Thorpe Park are going to have their heyday now because we’ve got space. It’s not just about office blocks. People need to have the magnet of cinemas, gyms, bars, restaurants, the best retailers, and events.”

The former Sheffield United owner is investing heavily in the next phase of Thorpe Park – its business, retail and leisure park on the outskirts of Leeds – with the development of a further 200,000 sq ft of office space, which is scheduled to start in the next few months.

Meanwhile, it has secured funding for the speculative construction of the final phase of its Sheffield DC development, Endeavour, which will provide 62,000 sq ft of office space for the city. Construction is scheduled to begin in December.

It is also behind a multi-phase development scheme on the Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park, which is already home to the English Institute for Sport, University Technical College, The Oasis Academy, NHS and the recently completed Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre and National Centre of Excellence for Food Engineering.

The development proposal will focus on the four cornerstones of health and wellbeing, regeneration, education, research and innovation. The first phase includes a new community stadium and 30,000 sq ft of new offices.

Mr McCabe said his decision to focus on out-of-town and edge-of-town offices will stand the business in good stead going forward.

“I think you’ll find that city centre offices won’t be as popular as in the past but I don’t see them disappearing. If you’re a team you need to be together. You can’t have a football team without 11 players on the park.”

Mr McCabe said he was very confident about businesses returning to their offices. “If I thought we were being foolish in finishing our final phase of offices in Sheffield DC, I wouldn’t be doing it,” he said.

“There’s every reason to believe that with competition receding, if you’ve got the right product that complies with the top design specifications and takes into account this epidemic, you’ll be successful.”

Health and wellbeing is an important part of Scarborough Group International’s ethos.

Mr McCabe said it was a focus before Covid but the pandemic is driving this ethos further forward. “Some office space users may well decide to go to locations that have the benefit of green parks, public realm areas, cycle tracks. These things are becoming more important.”

He added: “I quite enjoy the challenge of trying to adapt to a new tomorrow. We turned the blackness of Covid-19 into something to be defeated and decided to keep building.”