Newcastle city centre’s burgeoning leisure scene was given a further hike through news that Munich-based Motel One, a “luxury budget” operator, were to open a hotel in Newcastle’s High Bridge.
The operator, which has more than 40 hotels in Germany and Austria and three in the UK, agreed a long lease deal with landlord the Lugano Group back in 2012. The latest development saw Lugano Group sell the property to Kier Property Developments in a £12m deal, and Kier are currently on site creating a 222-bed boutique hotel for the German operator.
Annual figures were unveiled by the Port of Tyne, where cargo volumes soared by 25% to 8.1m tonnes in 2013, helping the port to post record revenues for a fifth year running. Turnover rose 16% to £73m compared to 2012, although pre-tax profit halved from £12m to £6m after significant repair and operational costs were incurred on cranes, and further investment was also made in the expansion of wood pellet facilities.
The skills shortage continued to weigh heavy on the construction sector – but Esh Group sought to address that by announcing they were taking on 150 apprentices over the next three years.
The County Durham-based construction and property group, which employs around 1,150 people across the North East, Cumbria, Scotland and Yorkshire, aim to provide opportunities in everything from construction through to finance, administration and support under the Esh Academy banner.
Esh Group chief executive Brian Manning said: “We’re now looking to add real ‘bite’ by offering traineeships and jobs to some of the youngsters who successfully come through our already very effective employability programmes which we deliver with our business partners.
“We believe the offer of jobs is a massive incentive for students and really highlights the importance of preparing themselves for employment – and the excitement and reward of being offered and getting proper employment.
Leading IT services company TSG proved the North East is at the forefront of technological innovation after announcing the launch to market of its first product from a newly-formed research and development team – the firm’s biggest software launch a decade.
Newcastle-based Technology Services Group (TSG) is investing £1m a year in an 18-strong research and development division, to spearhead a series of new products and the firm, owned by former Sage director Graham Wylie and run by chief executive David Stonehouse, launched Tribe at Microsoft HQ in London to much fanfare to industry leaders.
The North East in 2014 is a fantastic place to do business – and there are no shortages of reasons why. And we pulled together a list of 50 reasons why it’s great to do business in the North East
We chose 50 of the most important reasons why the region is such a vibrant economy, grouped into seven themes – connectivity, value, innovation and diversity, great people, lifestyle, export and sustainability – not least of all highlighting ourselves as the only region with a positive balance of trade, at +£3bn, the £4bn value of our visitor economy and the £7.5bn of value that manufacturing brings to the North East.