Property Investment Guide – Innovation and education, combining for a better future
Newcastle is the commercial, educational and in partnership with nearby Gateshead, the cultural focus for the North-East. As part of Tyneside, Newcastle’s economy contributes around £13 billion to the UK GVA.
Eldon Square, Newcastle City’s shopping centre is currently undergoing a full redevelopment. The wing of the centre, including the undercover Green Market, near Grainger Street was demolished so that the area could be redeveloped. This was completed in February 2010 with the opening of a flagship Debenhams department store as well as other major stores including Apple, Hollister and Guess.
The Central Business District is in the city centre, bounded by Haymarket, Central Station and the Quayside areas. The UK’s first biotechnology village, the Centre for Life is also located in the city centre, it is the first step in the city council’s plans to transform Newcastle into a science city.
The £20m Central Station facelift has recently been completed. This has attracted additional private sector investment of around £10.78m, which has led to the creation of 173 jobs – 50 more than hoped for.
The site has been getting itself prepared for the cities bid to become the heart of the HS2 network. With the current plans, people will have to switch from the HS2 to a conventional track to continue to Newcastle, but the government are already looking at the possibility to extend.
A recent government-backed study has predicted the high-speed rail would cost £27 billion to extend up to the north of Scotland through Newcastle Central Station.
Newcastle was home to 280,200 at the 2011 census, an increase of 5.3% over the previous ten years. It is now being recognised for its commitment to environmental issues, with a programme planned for Newcastle to become “the first Carbon Neutral town”.
Property prices in Newcastle are around 70% below the national average, but slightly higher than the average for the north-east (by around 6.5%). They saw a healthy 4.08% increase last year and with the ongoing regeneration, housebuilding and expansion at the universities now is an excellent time for property investors to consider Newcastle.
It is also the first UK city to have mobile phone antennae installed in the underground Metro system, which was Britain’s first modern light railway system and is still the second largest Metro system in the UK.
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Economy & Employment
Business headquarters flock to Newcastle’s city centre.
Major employers in Newcastle are the Go-Ahead group with over 26,000 staff, followed by Bellway PLC (house builders).
Other businesses with their HQ’s in Newcastle are The Sage Group PLC, with 13,400 employees across the world. Key industry focus includes:
- Healthcare, HR & Payroll
- Payment Processing
- Automotive Distribution
Northern Powergrid employs over 2,200 staff; Virgin Money employs 2,900 across their 75 sites; Greggs plc is the largest bakery chain in the United Kingdom, with 1,671 outlets and is listed on the London Stock Exchange in the FTSE 250 index.
Fenwick is an independent chain of department stores. It was founded in 1882 by John James Fenwick in Newcastle and consists of 11 branches. As of 2012, the chain was reported to be valued at £452million.
In addition, Formica Corporation and Be-Ro are other companies with their British or regional HQ’s here.
Significant other employers in the area are BAE Systems, British Airways, Convergys, DfWP, Inland Revenue, Orange and Npower.
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Phase 1 of the £200 million Stephenson Quarter has been completed.
The Stephenson Quarter is a ten-acre city centre site adjacent to the main central station, it is a five-minutes walk from Newcastle Quayside and seven-minutes walk from the main retail centre. Phase 1 completed in 2015 consists of a 251 bed Crowne Plaza hotel, 35,000 sq. ft office space and a 357 space multi-storey car park.
Phase 2 is 270,000 sq. ft office space, 40,000 sq. ft retail/leisure space, a boutique hotel, three apartment blocks, and three-acres of the public realm. The project will produce 935 temporary jobs and 2,200 permanent jobs.
Science Central is a unique 24-acre city centre site being delivered by a long-term partnership between Newcastle University and Newcastle City Council. It is part of the Accelerated Development Zone, three city centre sites spanning 80 hectares unlocking £92m in funding to increase opportunities for developers and occupiers.
East Pilgrim Street is set to be turned into an £800 million shopping centre to rival the likes of Harvey Nichols and Selfridges. The local council also is also pushing ahead with plans for 30,000 new homes and urban development in Newcastle and Gateshead.
Air: Newcastle International Airport is located approximately 6 miles from the city centre on the northern outskirts of the city and is the largest of the two main airports serving the North East. It is connected to the city via the Metro Light Rail system and a journey into Newcastle city centre takes approximately 20 minutes.
Rail: Newcastle Central Station, is a principal stop on the East Coast Main Line and Cross Country route, it is one of the busiest stations in Britain. The station is one of only six Grade I listed railway stations in the UK.
The city is also served by the Tyne and Wear Metro, a system of suburban and underground railways covering much of Tyne and Wear. It was opened in five phases between 1980 and 1984 and carries over 37 million passengers a year.
Road: Major roads in the area include the A1, stretching north to Edinburgh and south to London. The A19 heads south to Sunderland, Middlesbrough, York and Doncaster. The A69 heads west to Carlisle and the A696/A68 takes you to Newcastle Airport up to the central Scottish Borders.
Bus: There are three main bus companies providing services in the city; Arriva North East, Go North East and Stagecoach North East. The two major bus stations in the city are the Haymarket bus station and Eldon Square bus station.
Cycle: Newcastle is accessible by several mostly traffic-free cycle routes that lead to the edges of the city centre, where cyclists can continue into the city by road, using no car lanes. The traffic-free C2C cycle route runs along the north bank of the River Tyne, enabling cyclists to travel off-road to North Shields, Tynemouth and Hexham.
There are eleven secondary schools and seven independent schools in Newcastle.
There are a number of successful schools, including Walker Technology College and two smaller colleges in the Newcastle area, St Cuthbert’s High School and Sacred Heart, both state-run Catholic high schools, who are both achieving results on par with the independent schools in Newcastle.
Further Education: Newcastle College is the largest general FE college in the North-East and holds beacon status.
Higher Education: Newcastle University has its origins in the School of Medicine and Surgery. It won the coveted Sunday Times University of the Year award in 2000. It is now in the top 200 universities in the world.
Northumbria University has its origins in the Newcastle Polytechnic and became the University of Northumbria at Newcastle in 1992 as part of the UK-wide process in which polytechnics became new universities. Northumbria University was voted ‘Best New University’ by The Times
Good University Guide in 2005 and also won a much-coveted company award of the “Most IT-enabled organisation” (in the UK), by the IT industry magazine Computing.
Shops & Leisure
Shopping & Dining: There are several major shopping areas in Newcastle City centre. The Eldon Square Shopping Centre is one of the largest city centre shopping complexes in the UK. It incorporates a flagship Debenhams store as well as one of the largest John Lewis stores in the UK. John Lewis is still known to many in Newcastle as Bainbridge’s. Newcastle store Bainbridge’s opened in 1838, is often cited as the world’s first department store.
Culture & Entertainment: Newcastle is host to eight theatres and in 2006 was voted as the Arts Capital of the UK, in a survey conducted by the Artsworld TV channel. It has beer festivals, food festivals and music festivals for all genres. Museums, galleries, pubs and clubs. It is a cosmopolitan city that offers every conceivable leisure activity you may fancy, so whatever you like to do, you can do it in Newcastle.
Green Space: A city once wreathed in smoke has transformed itself into the greenest in Britain, according to the country’s most comprehensive sustainability audit. Denton Dene is an area of semi-natural woodland designated as a site of local nature conservation importance in 1983 and a local nature reserve in 1991, it is an important wildlife corridor running through the heart of the west end of the city.