A PLUM Newcastle development opportunity worth tens of millions of pounds in the right market is up for grabs – but so far there has only been limited interest.
The 1.76 acre site on City Quay was the main studios of Tyne Tees television, for decades where the nightly regional news was broadcast until the station moved in 2005.
Although the rabbit warren of rooms in the converted warehouse were rented out for years, the decision was finally taken to demolish the iconic white building in 2010.
Now the fenced-off strip of land close to city centre amenities is available for sale or development. Nothing is ruled out: “It all depends on what people want to do with the site,” was the view of one estate agent poised to answer serious inquiries from interested parties.
Chartered surveyor Kevin McGorie who works for the commercial arm of Sanderson Weatherall said: “The development would be worth millions, but that depends on what is eventually put on there. It could be £4m or £8m. It’s superb, a top notch location.”
The prime site is close to the River Tyne and near the Quayside at the junction of City Road in Newcastle. It is likely to be popular because of its central position and close to bars, restaurants with easy access to the Sage and Newcastle Central Station.
McGorie said : “The commercial market for this kind of development is quiet at the moment. It’s simply the state of the economy. I think many things are affected, but in my view that will change. There is still a lot of interest in building student accommodation which are fetching good prices and it could be used for that.”
Subject to planning permission the site could be used for offices, hotels leisure and residential accommodation. It has not been ruled out that a portion of the site could be sold or developed, leaving the other part for later.
Owners Buccleuch Property operates from offices in Edinburgh and London. Currently it has an exposure to the commercial and residential sector of approximately £500m, including joint ventures with interests in Australia, the US and Europe.They obtained the property after the television company moved to Gateshead.
Buccleuch development director Sandy Smith said: “Today we could potentially have a mix of uses to bring forward . Anything goes really , It could be affordable housing, retail or hotels We do get calls showing interest but the market is challenging.” But Smith told The Journal that it was important to remain positive: “It is a very good site and it’s important to turn every stone.”
The property company confirmed that it had been having talks with senior officials at Newcastle City Council to explore “various options”.
For now, with the commercial market in the doldrums, it’s a matter of waiting for the market to improve.