Confidence climbs as doors re-open

Confidence climbs as doors re-open

Confidence was high across the main property sectors as agencies re-opened following the winter break.

Tim Evans, head of Knight Frank’s Newcastle office, says: “Quality space in the city centre is diminishing quickly. Flagship space is commanding interest. Wellbar Central has only 40,000sq ft remaining.”

The refurbished 40,000sq ft block The Pearl could spur the city centre market. And The Rocket, one of the few speculative office developments in the UK regions at Stephenson Quarter, is expected to draw interest.

Quorum Business Park edging on the city has talks ongoing for some of the 400,000sq ft available there.

G9, the collective voice for commercial property agents, hopes to be working more closely with the public sector, in particular the NE LEP and the LA7 - if this proposed cluster of councils actually comes about.

Simon Haggie, partner, Knight Frank industrial agency, says that against demand for space there is an issue over supply of development land. “There are traditional hotspots such as Washington and Boldon - specifically the A19 corridor, A1M and A194 triangle where a large new business park has been promoted previously but was rejected by the planning system in favour of existing brownfield sites,” he adds. “I think ambitions were too grand both in scale and in the fact that a more traditional industrial estate, rather than a business park, is the market’s preference.”

On Team Valley, UK Land Estates continues to redevelop older properties, on Dukesway Central for example. Cramlington’s pivotal location beside the A19/A1 attracts strong demand, but the stock of industrial property coming forward is not of sufficient quality or quantity, says Haggie.

It’s now some 75 years since Team Valley Trading Estate, today one of Europe’s largest employment areas, started to take shape. Today it comprises 700 acres of which UK Land Estates owns 650 freehold. There are some 700 business units there - from large industrial units to incubator space. More than 20,000 people work there. Older properties are continually being upgraded, at Earls Park North and the former Huwood building for example, now suited to mixed use.

At Gosforth, recent arrivals into Regent Centre’s serviced office facility, Grainger Suite, include Checked & Vetted and Compusolve IT Solutions.

Tony Hordon, Head of DTZ’s Newcastle office, expects 2013 will have shownNewcastle city centre take-up level exceed the five year average take-up of 150,000sq ft, thanks partly to PwC and Barclays Bank, which have acquired 23,000sq ft and 35,000sq ft respectively.

Outside the city he expects both Enterprise Zone business parks Quorum and Cobalt
to perform.

In the industrial market, DTZ’s head of North East industrials and logistics says that of the larger deals in 2013 around half were sales, highlighting a welcome increase in bank lending to owner occupiers.

He sees only four large Grade A buildings available in the North East equating to about 700,000sq ft.  One building is under offer, with interest in the other three ‘serious’.

He also expects pockets of ‘build to suit’ development of larger sheds centred around key locations such as the A1 (M) and A19 corridors near Washington and Gateshead, the new Hitachi Rail plant at Merchant Park, Newton Aycliffe, and possibly the north banks of the River Tyne.

Gordon Hewling, director of the building consultancy team at GVA’s Newcastle, says: “Over the last six months or so construction activity has intensified, particularly in the housing sector.”