Team Valley: Ongoing success in the Valley

One of the country's first industrial estates, Gateshead’s Team Valley has been a major success for 75 years. The Journal finds out why

An aerial view of Team Valley in Gateshead
An aerial view of Team Valley in Gateshead

Now some 75 years since the valley of the River Team in Gateshead was established as a formal industrial estate known as the Team Valley Trading Estate, a remarkable success story as one of Europe’s largest employment areas continues to unfold through the vision of UK Land Estates and its approach to the development and management of this major asset.

Team Valley comprises an estate of 700 acres of which UK Land Estates owns 650 acres freehold. This estate core is in different entities including occupational leases and long-term ground and premium leases as well as development land including Dukesway Central, Kingsway North, Earlsway Trade Park, 5th Avenue Trade Park and others.

There are some 700 business units from large industrial units to incubator space for start-up businesses to office space and retail space with Retail World acknowledged as one of the most successful retail destinations in the North East. It is the source of employment for over 20,000 people.

This huge asset requires a constant programme of redevelopment that means older properties are being redeveloped in a planned programme with other sites including Earls Park North and the former Huwood building which has been cleared for mixed-use development.

Team Valley is a thriving community with many diverse businesses including precision and electronic engineers at the forefront of technology, metal fabricators, tool makers and a wide range of specialists turning out everything from delicate electrical devices to components for Formula One cars.

Bank notes and passports are produced here, toughened safety glass from a global leader in its field, printing machinery, prefabricated buildings and cheese making on an industrial scale amidst a variety of large food manufacturers. There is warehousing, printing, distribution, banking, a wide retail offering, cafes, hotels, call centres, IT and Media companies.

“We have a regional asset of incredible importance and it is our responsibility at UK Land to maximise its strengths and develop its opportunities to ensure it continues to be an economic dynamo for the region,” says Phil Moorin, investment director, UK Land Estates.“To achieve this we have a continuous re-development programme to keep Team Valley at the leading edge of UK business locations. It is a strategic site and there are plenty of reasons why global, national and local businesses choose Team Valley as their North East location and we intend to keep it that way.”

One way of keeping Team Valley at the forefront as a business location is the programme of property management through UK Land Estates’ consultant,w Knight Frank. “We have moved away from the more traditional Landlord/Tenant relationship. As a consequence we have greatly improved personal relationships, obtain greater customer feedback and can respond much better to occupier needs and concerns. This is being extended to ground and premium leaseholders,” explains Phil Moorin. “It means that we can maintain standards across the estate, refurbish and upgrade properties when we get them back from occupiers.”

Peter Bowden, partner, Knight Frank says the approach to property management is critical to the success of Team Valley. “Through UK Land Estates we provide an integrated property management service, in essence a productive relationship between the owner, occupiers and the managing agent to deliver a range of services such as rent collection, service charge management, occupier initiatives across the portfolio and so. As part of this process there is now a tenants’ handbook online to support our continuing relationship with occupiers to maintain a high level of tenant retention in what is a major regional success story. UK Land Estates and Knight Frank are totally committed to tenant satisfaction in every respect.”

Jon Tully, of Storeys Edward Symmons, looking at the success of Team Valley, explained: “One of the North East’s most positive USPs is that it remains one of the few, and possibly only, region that is a net exporter of goods. While such statements can be somewhat misleading in the context of the local economy as a whole, it does nonetheless go some way to explain the relative strength of the industrial market in property terms when compared to other sectors.

“There are clear signs that the more recent regional focus on non-traditional areas such as renewables and offshore oil & gas has, alongside the growth of more established businesses such as Nissan, had a clear impact in the supply chain. Much of this has been, and will be, facilitated by the growth of the Port of Tyne which is increasingly a local success story. The opening of the second Tyne Tunnel has also improved logistical connectivity within Tyne & Wear.

“Our experience is one of more positive demand/supply dynamics, particularly driven by pressure on the supply of good quality industrial property over recent years. This has been caused by continued steady demand for property married to a lack of any sort of speculative development of new property. The Team Valley remains the prime industrial location in region, but here more than anywhere the lack of supply is apparent and we have found occupiers more willing to be flexible on location in order to secure the right sort of property. Further industrial development on Team Valley is still planned but financial and market conditions are perceived to be not quite there for speculative development.”

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