A banking giant is relocating to larger premises in Newcastle city centre, a move it says is proof of renewed economic optimism.
Barclays Corporate is transferring from its current base in Grey Street - higgledy-piggledy premises not suitable for the 21st Century, according to director Brian Thorpe - to the Quayside.
All 160 staff working in the Grey Street base will relocate when the building, currently being refitted in a significant cash investment, is completed next March.
Thorpe, regional director for Barclays Corporate in the North East and Cumbria, said: “We’ve been in Grey Street for 27 years but the premises are not fit for the 21st Century office environment.
“We’re preparing to move to the East Quayside, to a four-storey glass building.
“We currently have 27,000sq ft at Grey Street and are taking 35,000sq ft at East Quayside, the whole of the office space.
“It’s probably the largest letting in 2013 in the city centre and is a real fillip for the North East property market. For Barclays Corporate, it’s an absolutely clear message that we’re open for business.”
Thorpe said that Barclays Corporate had seen a distinct increase in winning new clients and that the East Quayside premises would put the business in a “much better place” to service both new and existing clients, pointing out that the division already had 35% market share in the North East corporate arena.
“This move is probably one of the largest capital building investments that Barclays have undertaken in the UK this year.
“It locates Barclays right bang in the heart of the financial district in Newcastle and is a real positive message to the North East business community - the commitment from Barclays is a real statement of intent, to continue to grow our business which is already a very strong franchise in the North East.
“The announcement of the move coincides with some real positive signs that we’re starting to see in the regional economy which were evidenced in the North East Chamber of Commerce barometer data a couple of weeks ago.
“We’re seeing a lot more real quality opportunities for us to progress.”
The NECC’s latest Quarterly Economic Survey which Thorpe referred to was published on October 7 and showed that the upwards economic trend established in quarters one and two had been carried into the second half of the year. He added: “We’ve very much aligned in Corporate down the sector focus.
“I’ve got relationships directors out there in the field who very much operate in the manufacturing space, in the leisure space, in healthcare business services, in education, really building on real positive signs in the economy, at a time when hopefully the economy is turning a corner.”
The new building will, he said, provide a one-stop shop, housing all corporate banking staff,business banking staff, support and office admin functions, credit and risk teams and product partners from trade, cash management, asset finance and sales finance.
No branches will be closed, although Barclays is continuing its search for new retail premises after its plan for a new flagship bank in Newcastle’s Monument Mall was turned down.