Thought leadership piece by Guy Currey, Director, Invest North East England
With so much interest and activity around investment and development opportunities in North East England, it was a brilliant opportunity to attend the inaugural UKREiif event in Leeds a few weeks ago, and represent the region along with some local partners.
It was a fantastic event held at Leeds Armouries, somewhere I’ve not been before – I was very impressed. The sun shone and thousands of investors, developers and property professionals mingled and met with representatives from the public sector, learning about the opportunities for investment in the regions as well as doing the deals. ‘Levelling up’ was the thread tying everything together. There was a real buzz in and around the exhibition hall where my colleagues at Invest Newcastle and Business Durham had exhibition stands and which were constantly busy hosting conversations with potential investors.
There was a lot to talk about. The North East has so much going on at the moment. The recent investment from the Saudi Public Investment Fund in Newcastle United was made against the backdrop of a range of transformational property developments right across the region.
Newcastle Helix has seen the recently completed Lumen and Spark office buildings secure a range of occupiers in this amazing site – a real mix of innovative businesses, academia, science, national innovation centres and soon to be, residential. On Pilgrim Street, Bank House, the first phase of 400,000sq ft of grade A offices is well underway. HMRC’s recent commitment to develop its Pilgrim’s Quarter complex, hosting 9,000 staff by 2027 is the final piece in the complete, and well overdue, revitalisation of this strategic city centre location.
Over in Gateshead, Newcastle Gateshead Quays is currently under construction and due to open by 2024. This nationally significant development will include a new 12,500 capacity state-of-the-art arena venue, an International Conference and Exhibition Centre, two new hotels and a range of restaurants and bars. Nestled between Sage Gateshead and the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, the new development fits perfectly between these two North East cultural icons and offers a huge opportunity to further grow the North East’s dynamic business and leisure tourism offer. Indeed, it would be great to see UKREiiF hosted here in 2025….
Sunderland’s city centre is also receiving a huge amount of new investment, particularly the Riverside Sunderland site, which is located on the site of the former Vaux Brewery. The award-winning City Hall is the centrepiece of a vibrant new office and residential quarter overlooking the River Wear. The Beam office development is already host to several inward investors including Ocado Retail, and just last month, RSA Insurance announced that it would occupy part of one of the two new office buildings totalling 150,000 sq ft planned on the site. Riverside Sunderland will help transform the city, supported by its ambitious smart city plans which includes the first private 5G network operational in the city.
Durham City is also bustling with activity. The construction cranes on Milburngate which have been vying for attention with the cathedral over the past couple of years have now gone which means that the 450,000sq ft mixed use development is nearing completion. The 200,000+ sq.ft. of offices at Milburngate, which continues the trend for new city centre office development in the North East, are a major new addition to the centre of Durham and it will be fascinating to see who the occupiers will be over the coming months. I can’t think of a more dramatic location for a new office development.
My main role at Invest North East England is to attract new occupiers to the North East. As such, all these developments provide me with the compelling raw material that I need to demonstrate that there is some amazing new property to occupy in the region. There is a huge amount of industrial development underway, both for bespoke clients, such as Britishvolt and JD Cables in Cambois Northumberland, SSE/Equinor in South Shields and for Envision AESC in Washington. However, there are also multiple speculative schemes underway, the first time we’ve seen this in the North East for quite a while. For example, schemes at Intersect 19, Tyne Tunnel Industrial Estate, North Tyneside, Jade Business Park in Seaham and Hillthorn Business Park in Washington offer high quality industrial units for manufactures in key strategic locations.
In our role to enable and support inward investors to locate in the region, Invest North East England has a property search function on its website, enabling businesses to search for offices, industrial properties and land sites anywhere in County Durham, Tyne and Wear and Northumberland. It is a great resource for investors and demonstrates that the region has something for every business. Have a look here – Property Database or contact our team for further information.
I’m so excited with the amazing potential the North East has over the next few years to reap the benefits of being the centre of the UK’s Green Revolution. Massive opportunities in electrification technology, renewable energy and heat networks as well as in digital technology, health and life sciences and business services. I’m also confident we’ll develop a real national expertise and capability in satellite manufacturing. Watch this space!
One thing all these sectors and occupiers need is quality land and property. This is something the North East is delivering and futureproofing, making the North East the ideal location for growing businesses
Contact the team today for further information on locating your growing business to North East England – email@example.com