Northumberland Commercial Property Update
Victoria Huntley gives an update on Northumberland Commercial Property.
Certain parts of Northumberland have suffered greatly post-recession, particularly areas such as Berwick and Blyth. As a result, Northumberland County Council have been making efforts such as creating public forums and focusing on regenerating towns which have struggled to recover from the economic downturn.
Morpeth is a prime example which now boasts a thriving town centre with the popular Sanderson Arcade as well as the addition of Next, Pets at Home and Home Bargains at Stanley Terrace. We were instructed to sell The Terrace site on behalf of Northumberland County Council and received some excellent offers, however, the Council decided to retain the site and utilise it for the relocation of their leisure centre.
Furthermore, the Berwick Regeneration Commission was introduced by the Council to assist in the revitalisation of the town and they have plans for a new £20 million leisure centre. Due to the struggles in the town centre, we have been involved in interesting opportunities such as acting on behalf of landlords in negotiating compensation for dilapidations of retail units in Marygate.
The Berwick office market is showing signs of improvement and we have recently marketed Bridge Street Offices, an extensive refurbishment project of a Grade ll listed building which will include the conversion of part of the ground floor into a café and delicatessen, subject to obtaining planning permission.
Amble has also seen improvements, primarily due to Advance Northumberland who, in partnership with Morrisons, are developing an out of town retail park comprising a 25,000ft2 food store, circa 35,000ft2 of further retail space, a drive-thru restaurant and filling station. The harbour area has also grown in popularity due to the addition of retail pods, established restaurants and the Coble Quays development of luxury apartments and holiday lets which we have been involved in valuing and marketing.
The general downturn in the retail market which has impacted upon Alnwick over recent years has lifted with the out of town retail park development almost complete; which will be anchored by Marks and Spencer. In the town centre, Iceland was replaced by the Yorkshire Trading Company which appears to be performing well and the decline in retail rental values appears to have ended with the letting of the former Yorkshire Bank premises to Card Factory which achieved a higher Zone A rent than has been experienced in the town for some time. Moreover, the three retail units to the ground floor of the McCarthy and Stone development in Bondgate Without successfully let quickly after the new owner refurbished the properties.
Aiding in the revival of the town, the former Alnwick Station was sold by George F. White on behalf of Coates to Northumberland Estates who have exciting plans to enhance the leisure offering of the town which will attract more visitors to Alnwick and enhance the growth of tourism.
In line with the rest of the UK, the industrial market has remained strong throughout Northumberland. The next phase of the Lionheart Enterprise Park in Alnwick is well underway and the infrastructure is complete. It has been reported that sites are selling for circa £150,000/acre and the intention is to direct all industrial users from the town centre to the Park.