Property People

What are the prospects for the property sector in Yorkshire?

Matt Harriman, senior building surveyor at industrial property consultancy Gent Visick, based in Leeds

Given the change in consumer shopping habits with a shift away from the high street in favour of online, the high street is bound to keep changing. It’ll be interesting to see how our cities will adapt to occupy these spaces and encourage more people to the centres. Working with industrial agents in our office, sheds are now becoming the new high street, with largescale distribution centres and last mile hubs hot property in order to service this increased demand. I think this is a trend that will keep growing over the coming years.

What is your favourite building in the region and why?

Sign up to our Business newsletter

Sign up to our Business newsletter

I love The Corn Exchange, especially the roof and the symmetry of the building. Although sympathetically redesigned in the last 30 years, it’s a great example how classical architecture and its main function of trade can still flourish with many independent shops and cafes taking residence. It’s also become a hub for one off shows and events which shows how these old buildings can be adapted for modern use, whilst having a nod to their original use.

If you could change one thing to improve the property industry in this region, what would it be?

I think sustainability should be a higher priority for both clients and professionals and that the property industry should lead by example. I find that specifications are often amended to achieve the minimum legal standard during refurbishments due to value engineering. I feel that a government led tax incentive or additional grants being available would vastly increase the efficiency of all stock and reduce the carbon footprint of every property.

What is the best project you have been involved in?

Woking closely with our client Citivale on the regeneration of ‘Humber Enterprise Park’ following its acquisition in 2014. The site is a former BAE Systems site comprising 1.3m sq. ft. mixed use based in Brough. The project has been a great experience for me and the variety of work has made every aspect interesting. Whether it be the demolition of over 100.00 sq. ft. of offices and bespoke testing bunkers, including a ‘bird strike’ cannon gun used to simulate aircraft bird strikes, the redevelopment of 60,000 sq. ft. of new office space or dividing the site services. The site is still being transformed with each phase and I’m looking forward to the next set of challenges ahead.

Who do you most admire in property in Yorkshire?

Sir Titus Salt. He was a leading industrialist who built Saltaire in Shipley. He saw the value in providing quality houses for workers along with building a wider community including education and social services. His work was a template and a great example of urban planning and has been recognised as a World Heritage Site.