Drivers Jonas: public tenants underpin development activity

Many of the North West's towns and cities are seeing masterplans redrawn to create public sector anchor tenants due to the credit crunch, according to Simon Bedford, partner in Drivers Jonas' regeneration team in Manchester.

Bedford said: "The traditional approach of anchoring schemes with huge shopping centres is challenging even during the boom years of a cycle. Second tier towns in the North West like Rochdale, Stockport and Bury have reacted quickly to the changing conditions to ensure important regeneration schemes are still relevant in the current climate.

"Masterplans are being reshaped to include more public sector backed elements – a trend we will see mimicked across the country if Alistair Darling stands by his commitment to Keynesian economics during the recession.

"We will see masterplans continue to be executed through a greater number of smaller projects based on a broader approach with affordable housing or public buildings like new libraries and theatres helping to push projects forward.

"Ask's development in Bury is a prime example. Pre-letting space to the local Primary Care Trust has significantly lowered the risk. Rochdale too, which in many ways have trail blazed this new approach, are in the process of taking forward a 250,000 sq ft building in the heart of the town centre for their own occupancy and this will undoubtedly underpin a town centre scheme."

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