A LANDMARK building in the centre of Team Valley is to become the flagship headquarters of a major local housing organisation.
The Gateshead Housing Company has agreed terms on Olas House on the Fifth Avenue Business Park to house its 200 head office staff.
The company, which manages former local authority housing on behalf of Gateshead Council, has outgrown its current temporary home in the Baltic Business Centre, on Saltmeadows Road in the borough after growing substantially since being formed around four years ago.
The organisation now employs a total of 400 people, up from around 300 when it started out.
The staff moving to the new Team Valley offices include teams covering human resources, finance, ICT, corporate management and support, home repairs and property and technical services.
The Gateshead Housing Company has agreed a rent of £14.05 per sq ft on a 15 year lease, adding up to just short of £300,000 per year for the 21,109sqft, two storey building.
The offices were previously home to Quality Software Products but have since benefited from a £1m refurbishment programme, which the agent Naylors says has created some of the best appointed office accommodation in the area.
Olas House is owned by the Roland Group of Companies, a London-based property business – though the ultimate freehold of the land is held by the North-East Property Partnership (NEPP), which has board members from UK Land Estates and One NorthEast.
Fergus Laird of Naylors Chartered Surveyors, who advised on the refurbishment and handled negotiations on behalf of the Roland Group, said: “We are delighted that Olas House is to become the hew head office of the Gateshead Housing Company.
“Team Valley is probably one of the busiest office locations in the region, outside of Newcastle city centre, and this building, with its air conditioning, Cat II lighting, easily accessible location and availability of over 100 car parking spaces, attracted a great deal of interest from a wide range of potential occupiers.”
Bill Fullen, chief executive of The Gateshead Housing Company, said: “The company is currently making over £1m of improvements a week to homes across the borough as part of an overall £330m Decent Homes programme.
“The new offices, ideally located for access to the whole borough, will be a fitting home for a company that is changing the face of housing in Gateshead forever.”
The arrival of The Gateshead Housing Company in Olas House represents a change of strategy for the building after it was put on the market in January this year at £3.5m or £165 per sqft, and with the building set to be split into four separate ‘suites’ – though an alternative strategy of renting at £13.50 was also put forward at that time. Mr Laird said: “A sale was the original plan for it, but then we were fortunate to get an inquiry from the Gateshead Housing Company who were interested in taking the whole of it.
“Fortunately the new tenant works by having four separate units so the building works for them.
“We managed to get a higher rent (£14.05 rather than £13 per sq ft) as they have a break clause in the lease after seven years.
“As it is, the financial return to the client from this deal is equal or better than selling the four constituent suites.”