More than 75 businesses in Harrogate have been given less than a fortnight to find a new home after office space provider Regus decided to pull out of a tenancy agreement with its landlord.
Companies based at Copthall Bridge House in the town centre have been told by Regus to vacate the building by November 4, The Yorkshire Post understands.
In a letter sent to one of the businesses based at Copthall Bridge House, the office space provider said “due to circumstances beyond our control the Regus Harrogate centre will close”.
The building is owned by Commercial Estates Group (CEG) and Regus took a lease in 2013 on two of the three storeys.
CEG said that it had come to a verbal agreement to extend Regus’ stay with a new lease, as the current one was due to expire this November.
However, the office space provider, which part of the multinational giant IWG, informed CEG on Wednesday that it would be vacating Copthall Bridge House.
Antonia Martin-Wright, from CEG, said: “We were surprised to hear that Regus wishes to vacate the building. We were of the impression Regus were expanding at Copthall Bridge House as we were in advanced discussions to renew the lease and for them to potentially take further space, so this news comes as a shock to us to.
“CEG is committed to offices in Harrogate and are deeply concerned about the effect on local businesses.”
CEG added that it had not been given any reason by Regus for its decision to leave the business centre.
It is understood that around 130 jobs could be displaced, although no official figure has been disclosed.
Des Lenahan, owner of Parade Marketing, based at the building, said that there are 78 businesses being “put out on the street”.
Businesses have to give Regus three months’ notice to terminate their contract, Mr Lenahan told The Yorkshire Post, but the same courtesy hasn’t been extended to the small firms based at Copthall Bridge House.
He said: “You’d expect the same to be provided to you. There’s people with livelihoods and mortgages just being put out on the streets. It’s appalling.
“What I would say to anybody else who has a contract with Regus is, is it worth the paper it’s written on?”
Wesley Gill, managing director at EasySwitch Energy, said: “It is vital that we have stability and continuity for our team as they are at the heart of what we do.
“We were only given seven working days to sort out new premises and this has been a challenge for a new business like ours.”
Some businesses at the site have been offered the opportunity to move to other Regus offices, either at the same rate in York or at a higher rate in Leeds.
Richard Morris, UK CEO of IWG, said: “We are very disappointed to confirm the closure of our Regus business centre in Harrogate, having tried so hard in recent months to secure a new lease from the property owner.
“Our primary concern at this time is to minimise the disruption to our valued customers, who will be most impacted.
“We are working hard to explore various alternative Regus locations as a solution and will keep an open line of communication with them. Customers with any queries should contact the on-site centre team, who will be able to provide further support.”