Broadly very good, particularly regarding the office markets where rental growth is happening and may well continue. We are also seeing a shift towards more functional and imaginative spaces for collaborative working, with breakout spaces and leisure facilities, which demonstrates the importance of staff welfare to help secure and retain a best-in-class workforce.
What is the best project you have ever been involved in?
I have been involved in the Heart of the City development at St Paul’s Place since its inception, including the redevelopment of the land previously housing the city’s old ‘egg box’ town hall which was demolished to create a new focal centre for the city. The project, developed by CTP, has lifted Sheffield more than any other single development
What is your favourite building in the region and why?
One of the most iconic buildings for me is one of Sheffield’s old telephone exchanges, Steel City House, which was built in 1927 and sits on the junction of West Street and Trippet Lane - in my eyes, it is Sheffield’s version of New York’s Flatiron Building and is simply striking.
If you could change one thing to improve the property industry in this region, what would it be?
Transport infrastructure upgrade, particularly around rail links between the key cities of the Northern Powerhouse hub. There is a wealth of talented recruitment to be had from the great universities in the North of England and this would massively improve the availability of labour, to enable top-line recruitment and retention of staff. If those links were established, it should be possible to live in Manchester or Leeds and work in Sheffield or vice-versa, with sub-30 minute commute times, which would help to feed a more dynamic office market.
Whom do you most admire in the property industry?
David Topham, of developer CTP, for his tenacity to deliver built product and environmental change in Sheffield’s Heart of the City project.