Globalisation Erases the Old Property Boundaries; the East-West Divide Has Now Been Consigned to History According to Two Men from the Same Company but Different Sides of the Midlands

The Birmingham Post (England), June 17, 2010 | Go to article overview

Globalisation Erases the Old Property Boundaries; the East-West Divide Has Now Been Consigned to History According to Two Men from the Same Company but Different Sides of the Midlands


he adage that 'east is east and west is west, and never the TTTtwain shall meet' was true in the Midlands property scene for many years, with agents from Birmingham lording it over their opposite numbers in Nottingham, Leicester and Derby.

Judged by rent levels, deal size, yields and available space, the region had a distinct two-tier market.

However, King Sturge's Nottinghambased commercial partner, Matt Smith, believes those old school boundaries have now been largely erased by the pressures of globalisation.

"I think that even when Birmingham was seen as the place to be, attitudes were changing fast, because there was a growing focus on value, as opposed to simply location," he recalled.

"There will always be companies who need to be in a particular place, but there are also many footloose organisations, who thanks to modern technology, could be based almost anywhere, if the local offer for such elements as skills, housing and schools is right.

"I am confident that advisors whooperate across the Midlands have an advantage, in terms of both local market knowledge, and external perceptions.

"If a business is considering an inward investment project for this region, for example, it doesn't think of artificial lines between east and west."

The new mindset is shared with enthusiasm by Carl Durrant, King Sturge's industrial partner; notionally based in the firm's Birmingham office, but who inevitably spends much of his time on the road, across the region, and in London.

"Many of the biggest players in logistics and distribution, such as ProLogis, Goodman and Segro, operate globally and think globally. If they looked at a major new location, their shortlist could be the UK, Western Europe, and the old Eastern Bloc.

"The Midlands is simply one of many regions to them," he said.

"We understand that the traditional boundaries were created for political reasons, and the existence of two regional development agencies has tended to perpetuate them, but for most corporates, they don't exist.

"Potential end-users, or investors, or companies looking to relocate, do want to know what is happening, and what might be available, against an everwider backdrop. As Matt says, value is the new driver.

"Both Tesco and Marks & Spencer have current requirements for up to a million square feet in the Midlands, and whilst they will have early thoughts on where they might go, there is still a great deal of scope to persuade them to locations they might not have considered."

Despite the impact of globalisation, however, Durrant cites the fast-growing waste management sector, as one where regional knowledge remains critical. …

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