My Column

Location is key to business Success

  • Date: Monday 29th October 2018
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It’s amazing how business fortunes can turn around with the benefit of a little strategy and a fair wind.

I know well from my decades of experience in the commercial property market just how quickly you can transform a deserted site into an attractive, sought after proposition. 

You can purchase an underperforming asset – be it a warehouse, old bank building, or restaurant – that’s not setting the market on fire, and then through the application of a few simple steps, find a buyer who’s suddenly ready to bite your hand off.

It may be a case of just marketing it to the right kind of people, or presenting it in its best light by giving it a new lick of paint and modernising the facilities.

In other words, carefully targeting a particular audience, making it easy for those potential buyers to see what’s best about it, and then leading them down the path that ultimately leads to a purchase.

A fantastic example of incredible potential being realised recently arose with the sale of Maxim Office Park, just off the M8 motorway to the east of Glasgow, for £38 million to clients of property investors Shelborn Asset Management.

The Maxim name may not ring a bell with everyone, but Eurocentral – one of the largest industrial estates in Scotland - likely will, along with the striking image of its ‘big heids’ sculpture that faces onto the motorway.

Maxim Office Park is the centrepiece of Eurocentral and is the UK’s largest speculative office park development, undoubtedly offering Grade A contemporary, flexible accommodation since its completion in March 2010.

Tenants often cite the great location between Scotland’s two largest cities, Edinburgh and Glasgow, as a key reason behind their decision to base operations on the former Chungwa electronics factory site.

And it’s no coincidence that Maxim won the CoStar Glasgow Deal of the Year award in 2017 after securing a 43,520 square foot letting to Balfour Beatty. This year, the park has also achieved the largest Glasgow business park letting of standing stock so far.

However, such success has not always landed so nicely in Maxim’s lap – quite the opposite in fact.

In 2011, the office park was only saved from the brink of financial collapse by the sale of Bank of Scotland debt after few tenants had opted to call the M8 site home.

So how was it turned around so dramatically in the last few years? Well, a marketing and leasing campaign led by Broadoak repositioned Maxim in the market which helped to attract tenants of the park’s smaller suites.

Thanks to some smart strategy, an increase in public transport services and new on-site amenities, occupation has more than doubled since Broadoak took over as asset manager, with 15 new tenants moving in.

They now include the Scottish Environment ­Protection Agency, flexible workspace giant Regus, infrastructure group Balfour Beatty and life sciences firm Lamellar Biomedical.

But there’s so much more to come, particularly after significant improvements to the M8 corridor were completed last year, heightening access to the park.

Shelborn Asset Management clearly think so and in a statement last week said they believe Maxim is “the number one destination for any occupiers looking outside of Glasgow”.

I suspect that there are now huge opportunities lying in wait for those who can tap into Eurocentral’s vast potential by further enhancing amenities, on both sides of the M8, and realising what could truly be achieved there.

Watch this commercial space. 

 

SIDE

Striking workers sadly became a common sight across Glasgow last week.

Firstly, we saw more than 8,000 members of the Unison and GMB unions walking out due to ongoing claims over pay inequalities.

This meant hundreds of schools had to close for two days and caused major disruption, which is of course what the strike was intended to do.

The issue is that staff believe there is a gender pay gap in support roles that are mostly dominated by women, including jobs such as cleaning, caring and supporting the education of the city’s children.

It’s thought that in female-led roles, the rate of pay is up to £3 less per hour than in jobs dominated by men.

Only time will tell if Glasgow City Council take action on this extreme injustice, following a rally that went from Glasgow Green to the City Chambers.

But it didn’t end there. Over the weekend there was also a protest against the ongoing issues teachers in Scotland have been facing over claims of a wage rise ‘freeze’.

Marchers walked from Kelvingrove to George Square to draw attention all the earnings that they believe have been lost over the austerity period.

Apparently, in real terms, teachers are down 24 per cent of what they should have been paid over the last 10 years. The march, organised by EIS union, was in support of a 10 per cent pay increase, after they turned down an offer of three per cent.

I really believe that a strong education can give anyone, no matter their background, a greater chance in life.

If teachers are feeling underpaid and undervalued then they need our backing. After all, happy teachers equals a better education for the workforce of tomorrow.

 

LAUGH

‘Flying burgers’ are to become a reality by 2021, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshah insisted last week, amid plans to introduce food delivery by drone.

The very thought made me chuckle – Scotland’s skies would be choked with drones on a Friday night – and frankly, good, old-fashioned delivery drivers work pretty well already.

Apparently, Uber posted a job advert online looking for someone with ‘flight standards and training’ who can ‘enable safe, legal, efficient and scalable flight operations’, but this was swiftly removed when the Wall Street Journal asked for comment.

Perhaps they’ve bitten off a bit more than they can chew here?

 

WEEP

I have no doubt the headline, ‘Nick Clegg’s new role of head of global affairs at Facebook’, caused a ripple of incredulity among many last week.

I’ll admit, even I had to read the headline twice over my morning coffee.

It’s quite a departure from Deputy Prime Minister where he worked hand in hand with David Cameron, although I’m not sure which job is more daunting. At 51-years-old, Nick is also not obviously immersed in the world of social media.

He will be paid to lobby in Europe and the US where Facebook is facing investigations over its tax affairs and data breaches. In the past, he has actually criticised Facebook over paying too little tax.

Little bit of hypocrisy there Nick, eh?

 

 

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