Home to global conglomerates and a healthy mix of indigenous businesses, Tyne and Wear is one of Europe's leading investment destinations. But why do so many investors choose Tyne and Wear?
For a start, the area is blessed with some of the best industrial and commercial sites in the UK. From international business parks and industrial estates to incubator units that grow as your business grows, the area offers something for everyone. First class facilities can be found the length and breadth of the region from Cobalt and Citygate to Team Valley to Trinity Gardens.
Among the many developments to attract investors is Quorum Business Park in North Tyneside, providing more than 1.5 million square feet of commercial property. Also in North Tyneside is the Tyne Tunnel Trading Estate, currently in the process of being transformed into a modern hi-tech business location, adding to the area's already impressive portfolio of business sites including Cobalt, Orion and Gosforth Business Park.
North Tyneside's cabinet member for regeneration, Coun Jim Allan, said: "North Tyneside is a real powerhouse of regeneration for the North-East. In recent years we have worked closely with major developers to encourage a good supply of high quality commercial accommodation which will in turn attract high quality jobs."
Sunderland City Council is also eager to showcase what Sunderland has to offer, with exciting new developments under way, including Rainton Bridge South Business Park. The development is expected to attract investment totalling around £100m, generating more than 4,000 high quality jobs.
Sunderland City Council's senior business development officer Neil Clasper said: "Sunderland can offer investors a fantastic range of options in its property portfolio.
"The city has a number of excellent new managed business centres, brand new offices and business parks and a truly comprehensive range of industrial properties - all backed up by unrivalled business support packages."
Gateshead's investment opportunities are steaming ahead too with the 2006 launch of the multi-million pound Baltic Business Quarter, which will create 5,000 new jobs for the region in 40 state-of-the-art office buildings.
Coun Ian Mearns, deputy leader of Gateshead Council and cabinet member responsible for employment and economy, said: "It's clear to me why people choose to invest in Gateshead. After all, the region is a great place to live.
"Apart from a rich array of leisure and cultural pursuits, we also have some of the largest prime development sites in the North of England, including new commercial development opportunities in Gateshead Town Centre, sites North of the MetroCentre and at Team Valley."
South Tyneside is also teeming with exciting investment opportunities after a property boom which witnessed various expansions and new developments taking place on Boldon and Monkton Business Parks, Rekendyke and Simonside Industrial Estates, as well as The Bulrushes, a prestigious new office scheme adjacent to the new Quadrus Centre in the borough. Commenting on the developments, South Tyneside's lead member for jobs, enterprise and regeneration, Coun Eddie McAtominey, said: "This is excellent news for South Tyneside. These new units will provide space for existing companies in the area to grow as well as helping to attract new companies to the borough. Coupled with South Tyneside's success in being awarded £16.2m funding from the Government's Local Enterprise Growth Initiative (LEGI) this really is splendid news."
Newcastle City Council also has much to offer potential investors with new plans to regenerate the waterfront of East Newcastle's Walker area, including plans to attract a number of maritime engineering firms to the commercial space, given the area's links to ship building.
Newcastle City Council's director of regeneration, Marie Fallon, said: "We want to create an environment where people compete to invest, not just want to invest.
"We have sites now available and we are working with English Partnerships and the Regional Development Agency on how we package the land."
Likewise, the North-East's leading property investment and development company, UK Land Estates, which specialises in developing brownfield sites into luxury business space, is eager to show prospective investors the variety of quality accommodation offered by Tyne and Wear.
UK Land Estate's managing director, Michael Spriggs, said: "We have many exciting projects currently under way, including the redevelopment of the former Jockey factory which will offer 10 trade counter units and an industrial unit of 20,000sqft and the former Dunlop Factory which will offer 5 high-bay industrial units and 10 hybrid office/workshop units. Both schemes will be put to the market on a For Sale or To Let basis and are expected to be completed by early 2008. "These developments will offer investors a mixture of large, high bay industrial units, hybrid office space and workshop units."
Top class facilities are backed up by strong economic performance and business support. New surveys carried out by the PMI Royal Bank of Scotland show the North-East's economy to be growing faster than any other regional economy in the UK, with employment, regional output and business activity having risen steadily over the past year.
The reason seems clear: Tyne and Wear sets regeneration and investment at the top of its priority list, offering investors a range of attractive industrial and business accommodation, with an emphasis on developing the region's brownfield sites for the future.
Paul Buie, manager of Tyne and Wear Development Company, which works closely with the region's five local authorities to attract fresh investment, said: "The regeneration of Tyne and Wear has been a dramatic process, and we are finding more and more investors being tempted into the area by top class accommodation.
"There is so much variety offered by the area, which when coupled with first-rate transport links, quality accommodation and an excellent workforce, makes Tyne and Wear a great place for business."