Famed for its industrial heritage and lively nightlife, today Newcastle upon Tyne is known for being at the forefront of the UK’s life sciences and green energy ambitions. It is now the 8th most populous urban area in the UK with approximately 1.6 million people.
As an affordable location attracting both public and private investment, exciting opportunities are emerging within the city and wider region.
Let’s take a look at some of the key initiatives and growth projects supporting the strong investment case for Newcastle’s real estate market.
What is in store for Newcastle beyond 2020?
An Extensive Regeneration Programme
Newcastle is set to benefit from the North of Tyne devolution deal, implemented in 2018. The deal will bring Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland together under one Mayor, and draw in £600 million of investment to the region over the next 30 years.
This is forecast to result in £1.1 billion in economic output (GVA) per annum and over 10,000 new jobs. The powers devolved to the new Combined Authority will include land acquisition and disposal, and the ability to establish Mayoral Development Corporations to serve North of Tyne’s housing and regeneration ambitions. Four Neighbourhood Opportunity Areas in Newcastle have already been identified in the Core Strategy, which have potential to deliver over 20,000 homes:
A £200 million investment in the city that will create new high-grade office spaces, as well as retail outlets and educational facilities.
Giants on the Quayside
A £100 million development to build major tourist attractions, including Europe’s largest observation wheel and a 40-foot ‘Geordie Giant’ statue, is currently under development and set for opening in 2023 – it is anticipated to see visitors in excess of 260,000 per year.
The latest iteration was put forward in 2018 to deliver 1,500 homes, a hotel and more than 100,000 sqft of commercial, community and leisure space along the quayside. This 15-block scheme is expected to have a phased completion over the next 10 years supporting a minimum of 260 construction jobs per annum.
Newcastle Helix Project
A £350 million scheme that will generate an estimated 4000 jobs and create new workplaces, apartments and public spaces over a 24-acre site (97,125 sqm). This innovative hub was awarded the 2019 EG Awards Collaborators award.
A Hub of Innovation
The North of Tyne Initiative, in conjunction with Invest Newcastle, are working to increase the
investment into the region, focusing on the innovative qualities of this newly revived city. Several different projects have been started with the aim to drive new business into Newcastle and take advantage of its strong industry focus on IT, Digital and Life Sciences. These are most notably:
State-of-the-Art Gigabit Infrastructure
Newcastle is the chosen city for a secure high-capacity fibre network, routing mainland Europe to the USA. CityFibre’s £50 million full-fibre plan will increase connectivity across the city making it one of the most connected cities in the UK.
The National Centre for Data
Based in the Helix project, this national facility is focused on accelerating innovation through data.
The National Innovation Centre for Ageing (NICA)
A newly established innovation centre, located in the Catalyst building, that will work across academia and industry to test products for healthy ageing.
A Budding Creative and Digital Industry
Newcastle is home to one of the fastest growing Tech clusters in the UK. Sage PLC (the Tech industry’s only FTSE 100 company), Ubisoft as well as a new BBC Tech Hub are all located in the city. Their strengths lie across video games, e-commerce, software development, data analytics and immersive technologies. The games cluster, in particular, is the 4th largest in the UK.
The industry is now worth over £2 billion per annum and employs over 40,000 people in more than 3,000 companies.
Furthermore, the JEREMIE2 funding programme will invest £120 million to help support over 600 businesses and create approximately 2,500 jobs between 2018 and 2023.
A Strong Focus on FinTech and Corporate Services
Approximately a quarter of the region’s GVA per annum is generated via this sector alone, with over 132,500 people employed at more than 19,000 companies. In 2020 this led to Newcastle being ranked UK’s top city for businesses adopting technology to gain competitive advantage.
A notable example is law firm Norton Rose Fulbright, which has selected Newcastle as the location for its Legal Process Innovation Hub -the first of its kind outside of London.
Heavy Investment into Life Sciences
The £1.1 billion+ regional life sciences ecosystem employs around 7,000 professionals in almost 200 companies.
Newcastle boasts the region’s first purpose-built commercial laboratory, The Biosphere, and benefits from a particularly well-connected network across academia, research and business. The local NHS Trust provides more nationally accredited specialist services than any other across the UK and has a range of dedicated facilities that support clinical trials from bench to bedside, through phases 1 to 4.
Pfizer has opened its first UK INSPIRE site in partnership with Newcastle University, a Global Top 100 University for life sciences and medicine. With the goal of using AI technology to search for health innovations, the city’s digital expertise was key in the National Institute for Health Research choosing to place its unique ‘Innovation Observatory’ in Newcastle.
A Facilitator of Sustainability and Renewable Energy
Newcastle is a major centre for the renewable, offshore and subsea energy industries. It has registered a 60% growth rate across the sector in the past four years alone, as more businesses capitalise on the city’s strategic location.
The city is home to global giants Siemens, TechnipFMC, GE Wellstream, Bridon Bekaert and Shepherd Offshore. The North East’s five universities have the highest proportion of students studying engineering and technology subjects in the UK, which combined with the 28,000 employees currently working in the regional energy sector, provide a large talent pool of workers for companies doing business here.
Being surrounded by talent, well-connected and one of the UK’s most cost-effective cities to do business, it is no wonder the spotlight for growth is on Newcastle. Inward investment is set to continue on the upward trajectory underpinned by its strong focus on the future. While the city remains a pocket-of-value, now is the time to take advantage of investment opportunities.
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