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News Release

East Midlands Must Build Its Own Brand in 2017

says JLL at Midlands Predictions event


​NOTTINGHAM, 27 January 2017 - The coming months must see the East Midlands provide a coherent and more attractive message to the property market, and generate more confidence among occupiers and tenants, according to Mat Smith, who heads JLL's Nottingham office.

The lead director told his agency's 2017 Predictions event, in Birmingham, that he saw the evolution of the Midlands Engine initiative as the catalyst for a new approach.

“We predict that once our local authorities and LEPs begin working together, to achieve the ambitious goals of creating 300,000 jobs and £34 billion of growth in the next 15 years, they will create more much-needed inward investment during this year,” said Mat.

“Unfortunately, as someone who has lived and worked here for years, I know only too well that the East Midlands has previously struggled to create its own regional identity, and has been handicapped by individual cities pursuing their own agendas.

“Now though, we must all come together, to encourage international investors to see this region in a wider context, and also as a close neighbour to Britain's second city - Birmingham - which has very successfully raised its profile both in the UK and internationally.

“Being part of the Midlands Engine will raise our profile with central government, helping attract vital public sector funding streams, and also the investment which is needed to deliver regeneration on a significant scale.”

Mat believes a higher profile will also help the East Midlands continue to benefit from occupiers looking to relocate staff from London, as the capital sees housing and real estate costs build.

“We saw this trend start in 2016, when Now Pensions took 37 Park Row, but also more covert searches from corporates exploring the market for potential relocations from London, as well as consolidation of other regional office functions elsewhere in the UK.

“Such organisations are footloose in the sense they will explore many cities as part of the search. It's also important to recognise they may already have a function in the area and scaling up is easier than a cold start. Their perception of a city is a key influencer to this process. This is why the region's business and political leaders need to come together with the property market to present the right opportunities effectively, and to compete against other regional cities.”

Mat expects prime rents to stabilise this year with the top rents for refurbished space at between £17-19 psf. He is also confident that the drop in deal activity in the East Midlands in the last six months will be reversed.

“If some of the key occupier requirements are delivered in Q1 or Q2, then landlord and investor confidence will return,” he said.

“Our prediction is that whilst this pattern of reduced activity will continue, it may not be as severe, with Nottingham returning closer to its five-year average city centre take-up of 250,000 sq ft.”