Local Investor breathes new life into declining Middlesbrough Industrial Park

Posted on 19 June, 2014 by Cliff Goodwin

A North-East property investor has filled all but three units of an ailing Middlesbrough industrial park— just two weeks after acquiring it from a Scottish fund manager.


Until now Geoff Hogg’s Teesside-based JR Property Developments has concentrated on retail investment and residential sites. It was when he spotted Brighouse Business Village was being offered for sale that he decided to expand into the industrial property market.

The 35-unit Middlesbrough estate is located on the town’s Riverside Park and, despite a continued decline in occupancy, is still home to a broad range of businesses from offshore engineers through to technology companies and even a model railway supplier. Hogg has so far refused to confirm what he paid for the 50,000sq ft site, but admits it was a six-figure sum.

“The former owners of Brighouse were managing it from afar and it wasn’t really working,” he explains. “It had high vacancy rates and that was wrong within Middlesbrough’s industrial sector which is very strong at the moment.

“I wanted to come in as a local investor and make sure the estate was modernised and run properly. It already has some well established businesses who have flourished there, now I want to expand it to attract start-up firms who need a quick turnaround.” It is a marketing strategy which is obviously working. When Hogg was handed the keys two weeks ago there were 10 empty units, now there are just three.

His leasing policy is just as straightforward. “My aim is cut out the red tape. We want people to be able to come and view a property, sign the lease and move in the next day. We have a form of lease, approved by the law society, which removes the need for a lengthy legal process.

Maintenance at the Brighouse estate will be undertaken by existing staff at JR Property Developments, which is headquartered on another of Middlesbrough’s industrial sites at Skippers Lane. Work on refurbishing the newly acquired units, which range from 729 to 4,750sq ft, has already started in order to give the site more a “business community” feel.

“This is my first investment in industrial premises, but my plan now is to acquire similar estates and develop JR’s expertise in the sector,” said the businessman who last year unveiled plans to convert a former nightspot in the town into a 3,000-seat conference and events centre.

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