Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

We Need to Market Region to Compete

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

We Need to Market Region to Compete

Article excerpt


IN last week's commercial property section, the report entitled 'Lowest take-up for regional office sector' caught my attention.

As the regional economic centre, it is good in one way to find that we are running out of office space.

Even with low demand we can see that the terms offered by landlords are beginning to harden with incentives for tenants to take space and longer leases reducing.

It will take further time to see rents rise to a level that makes development viable again and developers start building more.

It is, however, not a good move to increase rents that will reduce the region's competitiveness and ability to attract new tenants, as this may encourage them to move elsewhere, such as Leeds or Manchester.

The other dynamic in the market place is the overhang of space outside the city centre, which is offering much reduced rents.

This is good for the sub-sector of the office markets that do not wish to be centrally located, but do want good accessibility to Newcastle city centre.

This space will be available for some time with competitive rents which will help attract investors.

So while the regional office report from last week might on the face of it seem very negative, there are positives. There are steps that need to be taken to create a plan for the delivery of office space and to secure the region's economic base in the services sector.

The first step is to increase the level of demand for office space. This will address two areas; the inward investor seeking office space in Newcastle city centre because they need to be centrally located and the footloose inward investor seeking low-cost back-office space, as they do not need a central location and could work in any region across Europe.

I come back to the theme I've set out before; we must market the region much better than we have if we are going to compete strongly.

The marketing strategy is straightforward; promote the region, the city or town, and the development site in a joined-up manner. …

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