With two of the country’s biggest business parks on its doorstep, South Tyneside — the smallest of the former Tyne and Wear authorities — is holding its own when it comes to attracting international companies.
As the availability of North-East office space continues to dwindle commercial agents across the region are seeing more and more businesses relocating to the borough, among them the global financial adviser Chase de Vere.
Alongside the local authority’s £100m regeneration project, South Tyneside has excellent north and south connectivity through the A19 and A1M. But, claims Gavin Black & Partners executive, Chris Pearson, a major incentive are the competitive occupational costs — with office rents starting from just £7.50 per square foot.
South Tyneside has two outstanding developments, claimed the partner: The Bulrushes in Boldon, and the award-winning Merchant Court, Monkton Business Park at Hebburn.
Availability is limited, however. Only one unit remains vacant at The Bulrushes, a Grade A office development completed in 2007, while Gavin Black is marketing five units at Merchant Court where Swiss Life Group subsidiary, Chase de Vere, recently relocated on a 10-year lease.
“We are confident we will soon attract interest in the remainder of the accommodation as the supply available is now fairly restricted and the attraction of South Tyneside as a base for business continues to strengthen,” Pearson commented.
Other agents agree with Tony Wordsworth, a director and head of office agency Bilfinger GVA in Newcastle adding: “South Tyneside can be proud of the progress it is making with its regeneration projects to date and the South Shields 365 Vision will remain the economic conduit towards channelling investment towards creating a vibrant town centre with related transport improvements.”
South Tyneside Council and Muse Developments are jointly funding the £100m South Shields 365 improvements to the retail and leisure facilities within the town centre as well as road improvements and a new transport interchange.
“Whilst South Tyneside was heavily associated with key strategic industries including shipbuilding, steel production, engineering, chemical production and coal mining, the overall environment and economy has improved and diversified over recent decades,” added Wordsworth.
“The Port of Tyne remains active, backed by the export of Nissan cars with new business parks developed alongside the A19 at Boldon and A194 at Monkton and the former Viking Enterprise Zone at Jarrow also offers new industrial and office developments.
“But perhaps one of the most celebrated developments within the borough is the £10.5m BT Business Centre at Harton Staithes, a prominent river frontage site steeped in coal mining history.”
Neil Osborne, a director at Lambert Smith Hampton’s Newcastle office, admits there are still a number of empty offices in South Tyneside ranging in from 2,275 to 10,070 sq ft. “Many of these were developed more than a decade ago and are still good quality, though they don’t offer large floor plates,” he said.
In total there are in excess of 17,000 sq ft of offices currently available to let across the borough at rents from £7.50 to £10.45 per square foot.
“These are competing with the likes of Newcastle’s Cobalt and Quorum business parks in the out of town market,” Osborne stressed, “but nevertheless have managed to sign a number of deals in the past 12 months in the £8 to £12 square foot range.”
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