Diversify to occupy
Regardless of where you were based, life was once a lot easier for the simple business park owner. There were times when price, location and size were the only factors taken into account when choosing property for a business. Of course, times change and the decision making process is no longer that simple. Now, there are many other considerations thrown into the mix.
This challenge, with a bit of creative thinking, can be turned into an opportunity for estate managers to stand out from the crowd and create a thriving business park.
Going about this task, particularly if based in a peripheral location, can be a daunting prospect but it also presents the most scope for developing a solid strategy for success. Buildings outside the busy city centre are more likely to be surrounded by a tightly-knit community and space may be more widely available.
One option is to diversify your operation; creating a business park that is also a hub for the local community, in order to reap the rewards during economic upturn. This can mean thinking about alternative ways to use the space rather than simply hoping businesses will get in touch. . Make contact with a local community group, arts organisation or youth club, potentially offering a discounted rate to fill a space in the short term which may lead to longer term secure income streams.
Harvesting links with the surrounding community can be very beneficial, raising the park’s profile, giving people the opportunity to see units available and putting something back into the area. If relationships are formed between tenants and people living or working nearby, this can eventually lead to prosperity.
Helping to regenerate the area as a whole also makes your own offer more attractive to potential investors, enhancing the profile of the overall landscape and turning it into a more enticing location for tenants.
Another approach is tailoring the product to boost its appeal amongst particular sectors. If you want to pique the interests of creative industries, think about your rents, nature of contracts and size of spaces available.
Once the offering is refined, approach the local creative community to encourage interest and demonstrate how the park is the most suitable option for their needs. Once a USP has been honed, chatter amongst the target sector will soon spread.
An example of this is the South Block building in Glasgow’s Merchant City. The space is targeted specifically at ‘creatives’, supplying highly competitive, short-term rolling rents which fit with the budgets of individuals involved with the arts.
Alternatively, North Glasgow Regeneration is playing a crucial role in creating places for businesses around the northern edge of the city-centre. These businesses are given the opportunity to thrive, and a number of developments including the Pinkston Watersports Centre and a planned skate-park, are all changing the face of the area.
Ultimately, the moral of the story is not to be too wary of branching out. Managing a business park doesn’t have to be a dull affair. As soon as you see the space as a blank canvas which to fill, things can get a lot more interesting, and more importantly, the enquiries will begin to flow.
Markus Kroner is Estates Manager at 100 Borron Street, a business park based in the Port Dundas area of Glasgow.