Award-winning North East games studio expands into Albert North

SockMonkey has relocated to Albert North to accommodate ambitious growth plans which will see them triple staff numbers by the end of 2021.

Albert Road, which has been transformed into Albert North has been through a period of significant regeneration, with many of the town’s iconic buildings renovated to create a bustling commercial district and digital tech hub.

SockMonkey joins a host of other rapidly expanding tech companies who have already moved to the area including Mabo, Salesfire, Big Bite, Appamondo, LouTom Media and iConvert.

Founded in 2013, the video games development studio has landed prestigious contracts to work on console and PC titles around the globe, including US-based indie game developer and publisher tinyBuild and Outfit7, one of the fastest-growing multinational family entertainment companies in the world.

Acquiring 5,000 sq ft of office space on the fifth floor within the prestigious 16/26 building is another exciting step for the company. It follows an announcement in the summer that it had secured £250k investment from the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund, to enable them to fund Fish Tanks, its first original title that will launch next year.

Bob Makin, SockMonkey’s CEO, said; “We’ve experienced tremendous growth recently and having almost doubled the team we had quickly outgrown our studio space in Boho Five.

“Keen to stay in Middlesbrough’s digital cluster, we needed a new office that would accommodate our future growth plans.

“When we visited 16/26 at Albert North, we immediately loved the location and the large, modern open plan space.

“The big plus for us was Jomast had listened to the needs of the digital sector and already created a vibrant community that met all our requirements”.

Despite the current backdrop of COVID-19, the company has continued to add to its existing headcount throughout the year, meaning its phased growth plan remains on track. Having created many successful games for other companies, SockMonkey is incredibly excited to be launching their own original title.

“This year has been challenging for so many businesses. We’ve been lucky that despite everything that is happening the gaming sector continues to grow rapidly, and our ambition to launch our own game will become a reality” added Bob.

“Albert North has fast become one of the area’s biggest tech clusters, and with its central location, the mix of ambitious digital and creative businesses combined with a variety of independents and food outlets make it easy to see why so many want to move here.”

It’s almost two years since Jomast transformed Albert Road into Albert North and with support from Middlesbrough Council the area has benefitted from significant regeneration.

With so many high-profile, ambitious tech businesses making a move here the area has become a natural extension of the Boho Zone resulting in an expanded digital cluster and bustling commercial district.

Mark Hill, commercial property director at Jomast, said: “The response to Albert North has been tremendous, and the area is becoming a real success story.

“We’re delighted to have been able to help a number of fast-growing businesses in the local tech sector make a move into larger office accommodation so they can continue to pursue their growth ambitions.

“With all the upper floor space at 16/26 fully occupied our focus early in the new year will be to refurbish the neighbouring property 28/32. This six-storey building will offer a further 24,000 sq ft of bespoke office space.

“We also have some ground-floor units available which are suitable for a variety of uses such as food and beverage operators, independent retailers as well as office space.”

“The growing tech sector is complemented by other independent businesses including King B, Cocoon & Bauer, Pie Jackers, Alkaline Kitchen and Ananda Wellbeing, which together provide a vibrant business community.”

Businesses wanting to relocate to Albert North can take advantage of an incentive scheme which includes perks such as high-speed broadband, rent and rate incentives, free public health initiatives for all staff and a town centre loyalty card with exclusive discounts. Anyone interested in leasing units should contact Jomast directly on 01642 666 936 or visit www.albertnorth.co.uk for more details.