More than 50 small businesses in one of Harrogate's prime office blocks have been left scrabbling to find somewhere to move to after being served with what is in effect a a mass eviction notice.
A total of nearly 75 sub-tenants at Copthall Bridge House have been left potentially high and dry after Regus, one the world’s largest providers of flexible workplaces, decided not to renew its lease from Commercial Estates Group, who manage the three-storey building.
The existing lease will expire in mid-November leaving the small firms with a fortnight to relocate.
A spokesperson for CEG, which also managesThe Exchange and Central House in Harrogate said: "We were surprised to hear yesterday 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."
One of the small businesses which been using office space sub-let by Regus, said the situation would cause serious problems for them.
Martin Nolan of MJN Marketing Ltd said: "Myself and 50 other businesses were given a notice to quit the building within seven days by Regus who lease the building from the Harrogate Exchange.
"Many of the businesses in this huge building have been there for ten-plus years and have well established teams.
"The issue has arisen with no warning or prior notice to the businesses who now risk serious disruption as we try to relocate into an already busy town centre.
"This enforced move will cause serious issues for the continuity of these small businesses not to mention expenditure and relocation costs that cant be recouped.
"We are doing all we can to salvage the sub tenancy lease agreements and raise awareness to keep these businesses going."
CEG said talks about the lease being extended on approximately 14,000 sqare feet of office space on two floors, had been going on for six months and a successful conclusion seemed a formality.
In fact, Regus, which had first taken up a lease on Copthall Bridge House on Station Bridge facing the Odeon cinema, had seemed so positive about a new, CEG had enghaged a team of architects to make improvements to the building.
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