LOCATION is key when it comes to business. And in the current challenging economic climate it’s never been more important to be in the right place with the right facilities to maximise every opportunity.
And that’s true of any business – from the sole trader to the region’s biggest players.
The North East offers a vast range of facilities, from high-tech laboratories and research and develop sites to offices, warehousing and business parks.
Despite tougher times, development has continued in the commercial property sector.
One success story has been the North East Technology Park, NETPark, at Sedgefield, which is paving the way for the growth in the sector.
The park has seen significant expansion over the last few years, and work is currently underway on a £6.5m extension which will see the addition of two new units at the site.
Each business unit within the park comprises laboratory space and office space. However, the park is able to adapt its space to meet the needs of its tenants.
The support network that businesses can tap into at NETPark is also proving to be a draw for fledgling science businesses.
As well as the NETPark Incubator, which is designed specifically for start up and spin-out technology companies, the science park is home to the UK’s flagship Printable Electronics Technology Centre (PETEC), a design, development and prototyping facility for the printable electronics industry.
Contractor Willmott Dixon is working alongside architect Deveraux to oversee the construction of the two, two-storey buildings.
The new buildings will feature renewable energy technology fitted into the roof area.
The park, which is run by County Durham Development Company, also has an innovation village – a community of five research and development pods – plus conferencing and meeting facilities.
A new multi-million pound technology incubator to drive growth of emerging businesses has also recently opened on Teesside.
The £2.3m Innovation Accelerator is dedicated to nurturing innovative businesses within the science, technology, engineering and life sciences sectors. Based at The Wilton Centre, bosses say it is the UK’s first specialist facility designed to support new and emerging businesses in the process industry.
Managed by a team of market sector specialists from The Centre for Process Innovation (CPI), the 10,000sq ft fully integrated facility incorporates 10 laboratories and pilot plant units alongside a range of flexible work, office and meeting space.
Help and support is also key for companies looking to find a home.
Tyne and Wear Development Company is continuing to drive economic growth in the region after more than 25 years of service.
It offers help with everything from property, advice on finance, training, recruitment and labour availability through to strategic business advice. Tyne and Wear has attracted some of the UK’s biggest inward investment projects in the last couple of years.
Several high-profile campaigns, fronted by Tyne and Wear Development Company, have attracted names like Tesco Bank, Balfour Beatty, Ebiquity and the Marine Management Organisation (MMO).
Tesco Bank has opened a contact centre at Quorum Business Park and will create over 1,000 jobs at its new headquarters. Construction giant Balfour Beatty also chose to locate a major service centre on Tyneside creating over 200 jobs. Ebiquity, a leading media monitoring company, now has its European headquarters here, while the MMO chose Newcastle as its base following a nationwide search.
The region is also setting the bar high when it comes to innovative design and new development.
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors North East Renaissance Awards recently turned the spotlight on developments across the North East. Among the winners were Teesside University which took the Innovation Award for its Centuria South sports centre
And taking the Commercial Award was Quorum Business Park in Newcastle.