WORK is to start on headquarters for a new North-East housing association.

Fabrick Housing Group, in Middlesbrough, and Hartlepool-based Vela Group are merging to form the Thirteen Group.

The company, which will own more than 32,000 homes, will move into new offices at the £100m Northshore scheme in Stockton.

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Bosses say the 43,000sq ft building will accommodate about 440 workers.

Esh Construction, based in Durham City, will build the headquarters, which are expected to be finished by January 2015.

Mike Clark, Thirteen Group chairman designate, said: “Northshore is an excellent location for the head offices.

“As a company committed to regeneration, we are also very pleased to contribute to the renaissance of Northshore, which is very important to the future of Stockton and the wider region.”

Bosses say the merger will see Fabrick and Vela's partner companies, Erimus Housing, Tees Valley Housing, Housing Hartlepool and Tristar Homes, remain as separate organisations, but becoming part of the larger group.

The changes also include plans to create Thirteen Care and Support, a housing support division bringing together the services of Tees Valley Housing and Norcare, the Tyneside-based charity part of Fabrick Housing Group.