Friday 11 April 2014

Desperately seeking suitors for SkyPark

The Western Morning News has just published a piece written by one of the agents for SkyPark:

The future looks bright for Exeter

By Western Morning News | Posted: April 10, 2014 By Noel Stevens
Comments (0)

It has had some high-profile inward investment success stories in recent years, with the relocation of the Met Office, the opening of a John Lewis store and now confirmation that a new Ikea will be built. And then last month the Exeter Chiefs gave the city national headlines with their stunning win over Northampton at Sandy Park.

But as property agents working with developers, investors and occupiers across the South West, we are focused on looking forward and we see a city that has a very rosy future ahead of it.

There is still enormous unrealised potential and as confidence returns to the market, we believe we will see Exeter benefiting from significant inward investment, development and employment over the next five years.

Predictions from Exeter and East Devon Councils suggest that over the next 20 years, 20,000 homes and 26,000 jobs will be created.

These figures are unmatched across the South West and will go a long way to enhancing Exeter and its reputation as the foremost city in the South West.

One of the key reasons for Exeter’s past and future success is its geography. Exeter is the gateway to much of the South West and benefits from its airport and links to the M5. The recent issues faced by the rail network and line damage at Dawlish highlights the fragility of the infrastructure as you head further west.

Exeter is home to a number of high-profile developments that will provide businesses with the land and accommodation they need to expand.

No article on the prominence of Exeter would be complete without comment on SkyPark. This joint venture between Devon County Council and St Modwen will pave the way for 1.44 mile sq ft of employment development and is at the heart of Exeter’s Growth Point region.

There is enormous interest in this development and as agents we are in discussions with a number of occupiers. Almost every occupier who looks at Exeter looks at SkyPark.

Then there is the exciting Science Park development and Eagle One’s adjoining office campus which is already home to Eagle One and the Blur Group. They will provide almost 1.0 mil sq ft to further enhance the knowledge-based economy that Exeter is becoming famous for.

So what effect will Ikea have on our local economy? Figures provided by Ikea show a turnover of £52 million by 2018, with 380 new jobs, some of which will no doubt be part-time.

While it might be difficult to quantify how many people travelling to Ikea will then head into the city centre, what is certain that a 300,000 sq ft blue box located next to Sandy Park will attract attention and bring Exeter to the notice of people who perhaps otherwise wouldn’t have considered travelling to the city.

Looking to the future, we need to consider the various influencing factors which either help or hinder the region’s growth. The Heart of the South West LEP is in the final stages of drafting its strategic economic plan for 2014-2030.

At an event where the business community could comment on the current draft, feedback focused almost unanimously on the diversity in the local economy and the promotion of that diversity to attract future funding. Our local and regional economy is diverse and that is what will help deliver growth.

Noel Stevens is a partner and head of agency and development at Alder King

Exeter likely to gain from significant inward investment, development and employment over the next five years according to Alder King | Western Morning News

The same piece is on the agent's website:
Exeter - chiefs of the South West - Alder King
Alder King Commercial Property Consultants - Alder King
Contacts - SkyPark Exeter

But there are questions.
To what extend will 'warehousing' jobs be attractive and well-paid?
How much do you get paid at ikea? - The Student Room

To what extent do large transnational companies 'benefit the economy'?
Ikea: Manipulative corporate behemoth or saviour of British interiors? - Business Analysis & Features - Business - The Independent

To what extent will Sainsbury's exit from the 'growth point' affect its future?
BBC News - Council demands Sainsbury's depot site answers

To what extent has the taxpayer contributed towards 'infrastructure' for Skypark?

Ian Guy, Senior Development Manager for St. Modwen, the company working with Devon County Council as the joint venture partner and developer of the £210 million Skypark scheme, commented: "This is extremely positive news for Skypark as the bypass works will create the key main road link to the M5 and Exeter and also deliver a major new entrance directly into Skypark.
The £9m for the Clyst Honiton Bypass has come from the Regional Infrastructure Fund (RIF) (£3 million) and the Growth Fund Grant (£4.5 million), with the balance being funded by the Developers. An additional £300,000 was paid from the Growth Fund towards the cost of a design and tender package for the bypass and the main local route into the new community.

Clyst Honiton Bypass: Opening The Door to Jobs
Latest News - Exeter and East Devon Growth Point
Update on Exeter's 'road to tomorrow' | Exeter Express and Echo

A new £9 million road which is a vital link to major employment sites in the Exeter and East Devon Growth Point is now complete and has opened to traffic today (2 October 2013).

Vital bypass now open

And yet more questions:


Ian said...

Looks like Sainsbury have pulled the plug! will it be "Skyfall for Skypark"?

Jeremy Woodward said...

Oops... you could well be right, Ian.
There's quite a lot of press reaction the last 24 hours
See some stuff at: futuresforumvgs.blogspot.co.uk/2014/08/the-exeter-gateway-intermodal-logistics.html
Thanks for the comment!