Avison Young has hosted a virtual launch of their 2021 Forecast Newcastle attended by 100 + clients and invited guests.
The event, which was chaired by Gordon Hewling, Principal and Managing Director, Avison Young, Newcastle, included a panel of guest speakers namely, Michelle Percy, Director of Place, Newcastle City Council, Lucy Winskell, OBE DL, Chair of North East Local Enterprise Partnership, Simon Beanland Principal and Head of Investment, Avison Young, Newcastle and Daryl Perry, National Head of Research, Avison Young.
Daryl Perry delivered a realistic view of the North East economy in the post Brexit, Covid19 era, highlighting the encouraging office take up levels and positive news stories for the region, such as the Blyth £2.6bn “giga factory” and recent Nissan announcements. He also responded to the “death of the office” pressures as well as survey findings, concluding that offices would become more flexible incorporating less banks of open plan space and more collaboration space. The reality of this change will however attract employees back to the office in time.
Michelle Percy highlighted difficulties in the retail and hospitality sectors which would impact on Newcastle city centre, with a need for further investment in key streets and areas within the city core. Developments in the ADZs would bring new employment and footfall to a re-purposed / re-imagined city centre, hopefully boosted by government job re-locations and a greening of public realm within the city centre.
Lucy Winskell referenced the success achieved pre Covid19 in terms of employment generation alongside £47m of Getting Building Fund and other government funding which will support over 40 key projects across the region. She also applauded the positive contribution of NGI, Invest Newcastle and the LEP in attracting new inward investment and supporting local business.
Simon Beanland referred to the region seeing the largest number of schemes in our major centres for many years. Stand out deals involve L&G, who are funding offices and other developments in Newcastle and Sunderland in return for acquiring buildings with over-riding leases for their annuity fund. Development in “less loved” sectors such as retail and leisure are being delayed without substantial pre-lets.
The panel fielded a series of questions which revealed some key wishes for the future including more government levelling up expenditure, investment in infrastructure, and improved connectivity, with new development activity encouraging more people and footfall back to the city centre.