What are the prospects for the property sector in Yorkshire?
The market place in 2012 will remain challenging due to the current difficult economic conditions.
The key issues are lack of funding, the uncertainty of the eurozone, and the empty rates tax.
Where we are seeing real opportunity is with our syndicated properties – we help individuals to form syndicates who then acquire commercial properties – investors are seeing good returns of around seven per cent per annum.
What is the best project you have been involved in?
We’ve been developing a £40m business park at Monks Cross North in York over a number of years and planning consent for a new restaurant on the site has been a catalyst for new enquiries.
This out-of-town business park built next to an established shopping and leisure centre has been a fantastic formula for success – and provides a great place for people to work.
What is your favourite building in the region and why?
York Minster is my favourite historic building in the region but in terms of new development I do like Broadcasting Tower, Broadcasting Place on Woodhouse Lane in Leeds.
It is modern and architecturally different – there’s nothing else like it and I’m pleased that someone had the guts to design and build it.
If you could change one thing to improve the property industry in this region, what would it be?
The Government should abolish the empty rates tax.
It has had a huge impact on property investment and property development – particularly speculative development.
It is a major barrier to regenerating the economy.
Whom do you most admire in the property industry?
Everyone is fighting a tough battle in the commercial property market and anyone who is working hard and is brave enough to keep developing in these difficult times gets my vote.