Despite signs of improvement, the provincial commercial property market has a lot of catching up to do warns the CEO of Leeds based firm Town Centre Securities (TCS). Edward Ziff, whose late father founded the investment and development company over 50 years ago, says conditions are tough and the further you travel from London the harder it gets.
Mr Ziff, whose company has assets in excess of £287m concentrated largely in the North of England and Scotland, told the Yorkshire Post that Manchester is the most successful city outside London when it comes to promoting itself. At last week’s MIPIM event in Cannes, he was impressed by Manchester’s marketing ability which leaves other provincial cities trailing behind.
“For someone from Leeds, it’s enough that we have to follow in the wake of two Manchester football teams.
“To have to follow in their wake in any other regard I find deeply insulting and hugely disappointing,” he said.
Discussing the wider market, Mr Ziff says there is a sense of recovery but this will take a while to translate into reality. He believes that the banks are ready to lend to the property industry again but cautions that this may not yet match what the market requires, particularly in terms of provincial deals.
“It will be a good while before any feeling of emotional or psychological change that we are feeling in London spreads out not only as far as Leeds but also heads its way up and covers the whole of the UK. We have a lot of catching up to do,” he added.
Despite this he praises the chief executive of the local authority for putting a marketing team in place that is leading the city in the right direction. Mr Ziff says that neighbours Wakefield and York are also looking at innovative ways to finance new property developments.
“That’s local government taking it upon itself to create,” he said.
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