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North East best region for commercial builds; Office uptake in Tyneside and Wearside this year has defied the pessimists, says Tim Evans.

NOTWITHSTANDING the fact that clearly the recession and the financial crisis has had a significant impact on commercial property, we are witnessing a record year for take-up in Tyne and Wear.

This includes Quorum Business Park, the flagship Enterprise Zone development which has recently let 100,000sq ft to Tesco Finance which will create up to 1,000 new jobs and, hot on the heels of this, Convergys is taking a brand new building of 50,000sq ft at Quorum.

NPower have also acquired over 220,000sq ft of new offices at Rainton Bridge and the Eaga Partnership with Newcastle City Council have acquired the brand new 120,000sq ft Northern Rock Tower.

City & Northern with the Robertson Group have also recently completed Baltic Place which is a first class development adjacent to the Baltic Gateshead and this has already attracted NEPIA, Santander and 1NG taking some 40,000sq ft in total.

In this difficult market with developments like Quorum Business Park, Regent Point, Wellbar Central, Queens Park, Baltic Business Quarter, Cobalt, Baltic Place, Star Exchange and Esh Plaza we have a range of buildings available now with highly competitive packages, which makes the North East one of the most attractive places to look for new offices in the UK.

This is against a background where in some regions development has come to a stand still.

Add our low-cost of employment, high-quality labour pool and one of the most loyal work forces in the UK, this makes the North East a truly compelling location for inward investment and expansion.

Without doubt these are testing times and the North East is clearly not immune to the pressures of the world economic stage. It is a great sadness that some companies have failed and with that failure, people have very sadly lost their jobs.

However, there is a great resilience in the region and much is happening on the commercial property front.

The region has a real hands on, no nonsense approach to development, delivering cutting-edge buildings with competitive packages and the private sector working seamlessly with organisations like the Tyne & Wear Economic Development Company, One North East and the local authorities ensures success.

The North East is in a unique position compared to many other areas to attract more inward investment and provide better accommodation for expansion with superb new developments available now that include 100,000sq ft Regent Point at the Regent Centre, 120,000sq ft Wellbar Central 30,000sq ft at Newcastle Great Park, 90,000sq ft at Baltic Place and around 500,000sq ft at Quorum Business Park.

In the city centre, Silverlink now have planning for the 10acre Stephenson Quarter which will be a high-quality mix of offices, hotel, leisure and residential interweaving with the historic core of the city.

This is an incredibly exciting city centre location which is already attracting interest. Close by, Star Exchange in Fenkle Street is being developed by Benmore and will provide 60,000sq ft of cutting edge offices.

We have the buildings and we have the people, and together we have an overall property and people package that is hard to beat in terms of quality and cost effectiveness.

With our high-quality developers, real estate consultancies and the public sector we have the capability to be world beating in the delivery of commercial property and attracting occupiers from around the world.

These are challenging times but the North East is used to that and, in reality, it has never been easy and therefore we are strong as a region to deliver success in difficult times. I do feel that 2010 could be another record year for offices in Tyne & Wear building on one of the most successful years which is 2009.

Tim Evans, partner in charge of Knight Frank, Newcastle.


PASSIONATE Sites like Wellbar Central, above right, and Baltic Place, right, attract lots of interest, Tim Evans of Frank Knight says.
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Dec 2, 2009
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