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By Simon Taylor, Associate Director in Office Agency at Jones Lang LaSalle’s Newcastle office
Newcastle, 12th October 2011- Stepping off the train at Durham and walking through the City it is not difficult to see why the County is so attractive to employers, employees and students alike. A world class University, quality hotels, good access to two airports and excellent road and rail links, not to mention an international cricket ground.
Whilst the Cathedral and Castle help attract significant numbers of tourists, it is the infrastructure that has helped to attract inward investment with approximately 300 UK and overseas companies investing in County Durham business operations in the past 25 years (Source: CDDC).
A short drive south of Durham City and into the heart of the County, lies DurhamGate Business Park, which despite the economic climate is currently being developed in partnership, by Carillion Developments, part of Carillion Plc and regional property business, Arlington Real Estate.
The 53 acre scheme has consent for office, retail, hotel and residential development all of which will benefit from the significant investment in the infrastructure which is currently well underway with the creation of a new boulevard entrance and existing highway improvements. The scheme is creating a new business destination which has the ability to attract employees from across County Durham due its central location.
The investment in infrastructure at DurhamGate is paying off with Sedgefield Borough Homes’ new 20,000sqft headquarters due to open next month. This follows the September opening of The Fox Cub, a new Marston family pub. The developers are in discussions with further commercial occupiers and residential developers and are set to announce more transactions before the turn of the year by which point it is estimated that more than 400 people will be working at DurhamGate.
Elsewhere within County Durham there has been significant development at Meadowfield to the south west of Durham City. At Whitfield Court a range of self-contained offices have been constructed and have attracted high profile occupiers including the NHS, Driving Standards Agency and Banks Group. Directly opposite Whitfield Court lies City West Business Park which comprises of twenty two self-contained, flexible business units ideal for small to medium enterprises.North of the City at Belmont Business Park, North East developer Hanro have secured planning permission for Parkgate, a new 120,000sqft office scheme. The scheme will occupy a prominent location close to the entrance of Belmont and the developers are currently inviting interest from prospective occupiers.
The availability of high quality office accommodation is fundamental in allowing growing companies to expand and also in making inward investment possible. Despite the economic circumstances that we are currently experiencing it is important that County Durham and the wider region make the most of the considerable assets we have to offer.
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