Offices are filling up

Offices are filling up

Office deals and options are picking up on Tyneside, both at out-of-town business parks and in Newcastle city centre.

The UK’s biggest office park, Cobalt on North Tyneside, has seen its latest headquarters facility completed - 57,000sq ft on four storeys. Adrian Hill, director of Highbridge the developer, describes Cobalt 9c as “ideal for major corporate occupiers and following hard on the heels of Accenture’s move here.”

Cobalt Central, the park’s retail heart, now has Tesco, Greggs, Chisholms and Navaho Coffee in business. The 26,000sq ft development - 10,500sq ft retail and 13,700sq ft serviced offices at first floor - is home also to Cobalt’s management and marketing suites. Highbridge, advised by Sanderson Weatherall, has been seeking a tenant for the last retail unit of 700sq ft, and an operator for a 2,850sq ft restaurant. Cobalt Central was designed by Seymour Architecture. Meanwhile a 55,000sq ft office building at Cobalt has been sold to an undisclosed private investor for £4.2m in a market-leading, out-of-town deal of the quarter.

On the market for 18 months with a London agent, it was passed to Jones Lang LaSalle in Newcastle to sell last November. The new agent cut the asking price. New Hedley House at 12A Cobalt on North Tyneside is let to Proctor & Gamble for an unexpired term of four years at an annual rent of £793,325. The sale price reflects a capital value of £75psf and a net initial yield of 18.06%. More than 11,000 people now work at Cobalt, whose new digital centre has been awarded the data centres category prize in the BREEAM’s annual environmental awards.

Cobalt 9C was designed by Seymour Architecture. Cobalt’s letting agents are BNP Paribas Real Estate and Cushman & Wakefield. Over at Quorum Business Park, on Newcastle’s city boundary, three deals are reported, including the sale of Quorum itself to a US based equity group Cerberus at an estimated £70m. It takes the park off the books of troubled Lloyds Bank and a syndicate of other investors. On the park, a Denver, Colorado integrated marketing firm has taken 10,500sq ft at Q15 for a Newcastle operation of 30 staff under Lindsay Boullin, with more to follow.

It will also achieve training and meeting needs of English, German and French-speaking sales and support teams. And the 40,000sq ft Q1 has been sold to Training and Development Resource Ltd, a charitable trust promoting science, technology and engineering careers for school-leavers. Swiftpage’s arrival means all 31,000sq ft of Q15 are fully let, other occupants being Home Group and e-learning business Creating Careers. Quorum’s development director Fergus Trim says: “Swiftpage marks an important new International inward investment for the North East.”

At Q1 Bill McGawley, TDR chairman, says: “All our training and development will be delivered from our new facility, enhanced by a true learning environment.” Newcastle law firm, Square One Law, Gavin Black & Partners and Baker Tilly worked with TDR on the deal. TDR was previously a tenant in Gateshead. The top floor of the three-storey Q1 is let to Insure the Box. Quorum Business Park is one of the UK’s largest speculative office developments outside central London. Occupants include IBM, Tesco Bank, Convergys and Balfour Beatty. In Newcastle’s city centre, a major deal has been Yorkshire Chambers on Pilgrim Street, bought by Solutions Recruitment. The Grade II listed Victorian building was sold, price undisclosed, by GVA for private investors. Silverstone Building Consultancy project managed refurbishment of the building, put up originally for Consett Iron Company.