ECONOMIC, political and stakeholder pressures have caused hospitality and leisure firms to take a long hard look at their properties in the last 12 months, owing to a significant cut in spending on entertainment as the UK scaled back in the face of the economic downturn.
Looking at Newcastle’s Quayside, without doubt it has seen a significant change of fortune over the last 10 years. It was once the bustling hub of the leisure circuit, attracting visitors from far and wide.
In the last couple of years, competition from more contemporary operators surfaced to make locations such as Jesmond more attractive as ‘the place to be seen’.
The pedestrianisation of Dean Street took place in 2005. On the face of it, it should have made this more ‘visitor friendly’ and encourage footfall but quite the reverse happened and took away some of the appeal of a good night out in this area.
Further up the bank, two other factors impacted with The Gate development gaining in popularity and the investment in the diamond strip of Collingwood Street and revellers simply moved up the hill and into town. Asking prices have now fallen and at a time when cash is king, it’s now the regional multipliers with a little weight behind them that have been able to capitalise on some real bargains.
In September last year, Sanderson Weatherall let the former Julies Nightclub to Stein and plans for a German beer-themed venue to revive this location’s fortunes are in place.
We have just completed the sale of another iconic business, The Cooperage. A favourite for many, it has been acquired by the Apartment Group who amongst other businesses operate on the diamond strip. The former Buttress building is being redeveloped into a restaurant operation, the Tavistock restaurant recently rebranded and relaunched as Charlie’s Champagne bar and further along the quayside the Waterline has been placed under offer to a local operator.
This new buzz of activity is testament to the fact that operators are taking advantage of affordable properties, making the business case for the revival of premises that bit brighter – a positive move towards the quayside reinventing itself once again to draw back the crowds. There are also good opportunities beyond the quayside and we have around 100 available at present and we are confident that a bright future will brew for many.
Adrian Mattock is Partner, Licensed and Leisure at Sanderson Weatherall LLP