What are the prospects for the property sector in Yorkshire and the Humber?
Like many UK regions the property sector in Yorkshire and the Humber still faces many challenges, mainly due to lack of funding and confidence generally. We are, however, seeing a few glimmers of light with a slight reduction on incentives in the leasing market, mainly in the office sector.
What is the best project you have been involved in?
The acquisition of West Riding House on behalf of Moorfield in a joint venture with Holbeck Land. It was a challenging project that presented several obstacles due to its size and complexity but it is a fantastic strategic location between the CBD and Prime Retail Core, which will be further enhanced with the opening of Trinity. We have already had some early success in the asset management strategy and hope to return the block to its former glory in the near future.
What is your favourite building in the region and why?
Broad Gate on the Headrow in Leeds. This was a huge regeneration project converting a 400,000 sq ft iconic department store into prime offices and retail units. The finished product is true to its original design but incorporates first class office accommodation and an 8,000 sq ft glass atrium.
If you could change one thing to improve the property industry in the region what would it be?
I would scrap business rates on unoccupied properties, as this regulation is placing further pressure on an already stretched market. In addition, I would improve the rail network between Leeds and Manchester, which I think would help increase inward investment to the region.
Who do you most admire in the property industry?
John Hubbard, a legendary retail agent who recently passed away.
I had the pleasure of working with John when I first moved back to the region and his knowledge of the industry, vast contacts and endless energy were an inspiration to me and many others.