Vaux site......

Osklen

Goalkeeper
I'm not at all suggesting it is....but what I am suggesting is Sunderland starts to make its centre more competitive, more commercial, more diverse and competes for white collar office workers. No matter how futile people thinks it is, but the perception of Sunderland as a post industrial town is changing. It's becoming a modern centre for commerce. And it would be a dereliction of duty on the part of the council and development corporations if they didn't at least try and compete...
I think we are talking cross purposes as I agree entirely with you, albeit I think there are certain sectors and industries which will always align itself with Newcastle (or Durham) over Sunderland purely because of the unvisersity (it’s research and development) and others from a kudos / recruitment perspective.

I also think the council are doing as you say as the Vaux masterplan shows circa 450,000 sq ft of NIA for office accommodation alone. I think as a city can certainly try to compete with Newcastle on for inward investment, which I’m guessing they did with Ocado, purely on a cost basis and that we have significant amounts of space to build new modern office accommodation.

The issue where we are at the moment is that to attract those business as well as higher paid / qualified white collar jobs we also need to some how improve the look and feel of the city centre, which is difficult to do without the business and footfall in the city. I guess to start there may need to be a reshuffle of businesses within the city centre, hence my previous statements of reducing the size of the retail and leisure offer in the city to provide a more company and improved offer to generate greater footfall.
 

citybythesea

Midfield
I think we are talking cross purposes as I agree entirely with you, albeit I think there are certain sectors and industries which will always align itself with Newcastle (or Durham) over Sunderland purely because of the unvisersity (it’s research and development) and others from a kudos / recruitment perspective.

I also think the council are doing as you say as the Vaux masterplan shows circa 450,000 sq ft of NIA for office accommodation alone. I think as a city can certainly try to compete with Newcastle on for inward investment, which I’m guessing they did with Ocado, purely on a cost basis and that we have significant amounts of space to build new modern office accommodation.

The issue where we are at the moment is that to attract those business as well as higher paid / qualified white collar jobs we also need to some how improve the look and feel of the city centre, which is difficult to do without the business and footfall in the city. I guess to start there may need to be a reshuffle of businesses within the city centre, hence my previous statements of reducing the size of the retail and leisure offer in the city to provide a more company and improved offer to generate greater footfall.
Mhmm ......
The city centre will naturally improve if businesses are located there. It is a mutalism that will occur. Available office accommodation has been neglected in the past but at least having the infrastructure in place has allowed those x300 jobs to be located there. The next goal should be for another x300 jobs...then another, then another. And why not? There no reason why we couldn't have this as a goal. The city centre would inevitably improve
 
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Osklen

Goalkeeper
Mhmm ......
The city centre will naturally improve if businesses are located there. It is a mutalism that will occur. Available office accommodation has been neglected in the past but at least having the infrastructure in place has allowed those x300 jobs to be located there. The next goal should be for another x300 jobs...then another, then another. And why not? There no reason why we couldn't have this as a goal. The city centre would inevitably improve
Of course, but remember the 300 jobs from Ocado are predominantly call centre workers. These are not architects, lawyers, engineers, financial sector workers, creative sector, IT etc.. to name but a few. which you would ordinarily see located in say Newcastle.

The 300 jobs already attracted will go some way to improving the city centre but we also need to increase the average wage of employees in the city. To attract these types of businesses then the city centre is crucial. More and more businesses (staff recruitment and retention) and staff (selection who they work for and where) are becoming increasingly picky about the quality of the office accommodation and keeping their staff happy ie proximity of good coffee shops, gyms, pubs, restaurants and retail.

In my humble opinion the only way Sunderland could genuinely compete on that front with Newcastle etc would be if it became the greenest / environmentally friendly city whereby big business felt their was a usp for its business (and employees) to be based in such an environment. This however would require an extension of the metro system and a complete rethink in the energy infrastructure across the city centre.
 

citybythesea

Midfield
Of course, but remember the 300 jobs from Ocado are predominantly call centre workers. These are not architects, lawyers, engineers, financial sector workers, creative sector, IT etc.. to name but a few. which you would ordinarily see located in say Newcastle.

The 300 jobs already attracted will go some way to improving the city centre but we also need to increase the average wage of employees in the city. To attract these types of businesses then the city centre is crucial. More and more businesses (staff recruitment and retention) and staff (selection who they work for and where) are becoming increasingly picky about the quality of the office accommodation and keeping their staff happy ie proximity of good coffee shops, gyms, pubs, restaurants and retail.

In my humble opinion the only way Sunderland could genuinely compete on that front with Newcastle etc would be if it became the greenest / environmentally friendly city whereby big business felt their was a usp for its business (and employees) to be based in such an environment. This however would require an extension of the metro system and a complete rethink in the energy infrastructure across the city centre.
Let's not kid ourselves, it's better to have those 300 jobs in Sunderland city centre than not. Those jobs would have gone up the road had it not been for the beam building. You do know there's plenty of call centres in Newcastle???
The vaux site would continue to be a development plot if there wasn't any attempt to bring office accommodation to Sunderland.
It's about establishing itself as an alternative to other centre's. Now it's easy to be flippant about call centre jobs but they provide desperately needed employment in a largely marginalised city. That's not to say there isn't higher spec jobs that go with any office....managers, accounts, HR, IT are all part of any office set up. Plus you look at the tombolo office they have developers based there so they go hand in hand
 

Osklen

Goalkeeper
Let's not kid ourselves, it's better to have those 300 jobs in Sunderland city centre than not. Those jobs would have gone up the road had it not been for the beam building. You do know there's plenty of call centres in Newcastle???
The vaux site would continue to be a development plot if there wasn't any attempt to bring office accommodation to Sunderland.
It's about establishing itself as an alternative to other centre's. Now it's easy to be flippant about call centre jobs but they provide desperately needed employment in a largely marginalised city. That's not to say there isn't higher spec jobs that go with any office....managers, accounts, HR, IT are all part of any office set up. Plus you look at the tombolo office they have developers based there so they go hand in hand
Yes I do know Newcastle do have call centres isn’t the city centre, I have worked there for a number of years.

I also agree with much of what you are saying and accept that bringing jobs into the city centre will bring much needed improvement into the city centre, I’m merely saying that it’s not always a simple case of building offices and jobs will come - and I don’t think that’s what you are saying either, it’s a balance of getting all things right and it will take time.

Also to clarify I’m also not trying to be flippant about call centres job either I’m just trying to say that the city needs to have a balance of their types of roles we bring in as we don’t want to have all our eggs in one basket.
 

citybythesea

Midfield
Yes I do know Newcastle do have call centres isn’t the city centre, I have worked there for a number of years.

I also agree with much of what you are saying and accept that bringing jobs into the city centre will bring much needed improvement into the city centre, I’m merely saying that it’s not always a simple case of building offices and jobs will come - and I don’t think that’s what you are saying either, it’s a balance of getting all things right and it will take time.

Also to clarify I’m also not trying to be flippant about call centres job either I’m just trying to say that the city needs to have a balance of their types of roles we bring in as we don’t want to have all our eggs in one basket.
The beam building hardly represents an over saturation of office accommodation nor does it mean we're aswash with call centres. Not that would be an unwelcome problem in a city struggling with employment opportunities. The beam is one of only a few purpose built office buildings in Sunderland in years. A lot of these multi occupancy offices are versatile and can be reconfigured to meet a variety of companies.
But Sunderland at the minute is hardly in a position to be that picky what jobs come along...even call centres
 
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bobster999

Goalkeeper
i agree that a lot more office based jobs in the town would be really good for the area. having call the call centres in town from Doxford would be really good but there just isnt the room for them. imagine the spending in town if the call centre workers could pop out on their lunch and spend. there's the PIP place at the back of the Empire, that's the only call centre I can think of in town.
 

citybythesea

Midfield
i agree that a lot more office based jobs in the town would be really good for the area. having call the call centres in town from Doxford would be really good but there just isnt the room for them. imagine the spending in town if the call centre workers could pop out on their lunch and spend. there's the PIP place at the back of the Empire, that's the only call centre I can think of in town.
Well said
 

Osklen

Goalkeeper
The beam building hardly represents an over saturation of office accommodation nor does it mean we're aswash with call centres. Not that would be an unwelcome problem in a city struggling with employment opportunities. The beam is one of only a few purpose built office buildings in Sunderland in years. A lot of these multi occupancy are versatile and can be reconfigured to meet a variety of companies.
I agree. I’m not saying that it is an over saturation as it’s only 60,000 sq ft of 450,000 sq ft proposed on the Vaux site. In order for the city to be come more effective all of the 450,000 sq ft needs to be delivered. The Beam is probably the first grade a office accommodation in the city for the best part of 30 years.

As for the Beam itself and saying that this represents the city being awash with call centres I am fully aware that an open plan office floor plate, as is in the Beam, is fit for any office use. In fact the Beam appears to have been designed not for call centre accommodation as it’s a naturally ventilated building which usually means a smaller occupancy level - not common with call centres.

What I’m trying say (possibly badly) is that the building of the office accommodation is the easy bit the difficult part is attracting the businesses themselves as we are often in competition with the many other parts of the uk and the region both big and small cities. We are currently competitive due to price, probably somewhere at £15-17 a sq ft where as Newcastle is probably north of £22 a sq ft. If we were at the same price point as Newcastle then it’s likely most businesses would choose Newcastle.

Moreover we need a mix of office types from call centres, to recruitment consultants, to legal firms, to other public sector and civil services end users, to IT firms etc.... Also in order to try and attract these businesses which will provide a great mix of income levels, which is something Sunderland needs, the city centre doesn’t currently provide an attractive setting, business certainly consider this in terms of staff recruitment and retention, meaning it becomes harder to sell the city and bring these companies in.
 

bobster999

Goalkeeper
I agree. I’m not saying that it is an over saturation as it’s only 60,000 sq ft of 450,000 sq ft proposed on the Vaux site. In order for the city to be come more effective all of the 450,000 sq ft needs to be delivered. The Beam is probably the first grade a office accommodation in the city for the best part of 30 years.

As for the Beam itself and saying that this represents the city being awash with call centres I am fully aware that an open plan office floor plate, as is in the Beam, is fit for any office use. In fact the Beam appears to have been designed not for call centre accommodation as it’s a naturally ventilated building which usually means a smaller occupancy level - not common with call centres.

What I’m trying say (possibly badly) is that the building of the office accommodation is the easy bit the difficult part is attracting the businesses themselves as we are often in competition with the many other parts of the uk and the region both big and small cities. We are currently competitive due to price, probably somewhere at £15-17 a sq ft where as Newcastle is probably north of £22 a sq ft. If we were at the same price point as Newcastle then it’s likely most businesses would choose Newcastle.

Moreover we need a mix of office types from call centres, to recruitment consultants, to legal firms, to other public sector and civil services end users, to IT firms etc.... Also in order to try and attract these businesses which will provide a great mix of income levels, which is something Sunderland needs, the city centre doesn’t currently provide an attractive setting, business certainly consider this in terms of staff recruitment and retention, meaning it becomes harder to sell the city and bring these companies in.

yeah I see what you're saying. Building a prime place office block is the easy bit, they have to fill it now but I think getting Ocado as one of the first people to sign up will be a major draw in enticing other businesses to get in there. Once thats full and stable, it can only be a good thing.
 

Osklen

Goalkeeper
i agree that a lot more office based jobs in the town would be really good for the area. having call the call centres in town from Doxford would be really good but there just isnt the room for them. imagine the spending in town if the call centre workers could pop out on their lunch and spend. there's the PIP place at the back of the Empire, that's the only call centre I can think of in town.
I genuinely think there is the area for them ie there is sufficient space to accommodate them on Vaux, the main issue is the price point and break dates of their leases and then beyond that is their parking requirements. for instance parking will be included within their lease at doxford and will be based on parking ratios of out of town parking ratiosprobably 1 space for say 200 or 500 sq ft of office space whereas Vaux is something like 1 space for 1,000 sq ft of office space and will not be inclusive of the lease (probably £1000 per space to rent per annum over and above the lease rent).

As I said before as a bare minimum even if we moved the whole of doxford park to Vaux it would be a success for the city centre.
yeah I see what you're saying. Building a prime place office block is the easy bit, they have to fill it now but I think getting Ocado as one of the first people to sign up will be a major draw in enticing other businesses to get in there. Once thats full and stable, it can only be a good thing.
Totally agree. It was a great PR success and got people to stand up and pay attention. Probably even help push up the rent.

Understand there are a number of businesses interested in letting the space but are considering various other sites across the north east. Ocado I think take two floors and Penshaw view one / half, so another letting and they will probably be considering what the next building will be. Issue with spec office building is trying to get the right offer for prospective tenants as you are just second guessing who might come in.
 
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bobster999

Goalkeeper
I genuinely think there is the area for them ie there is sufficient space to accommodate them on Vaux, the main issue is the price point and break dates of their leases and then beyond that is their parking requirements. for instance parking will be included within their lease at doxford and will be based on parking ratios of out of town parking ratiosprobably 1 space for say 200 or 500 sq ft of office space whereas Vaux is something like 1 space for 1,000 sq ft of office space and will not be inclusive of the lease (probably £1000 per space to rent per annum over and above the lease rent).

As I said before as a bare minimum even if we moved the whole of doxford park to Vaux it would be a success for the city centre.


yeah without a doubt it'll take a bit of refining to smooth things out but it's a brand new build and development. what I hope they dont do though is give leases to to these flash in the pan short term companies who just hire a space for a few months and then theyre gone.

there's no way Doxford Park would fit on Vaux. having a call centre relocate there would be good though.
Totally agree. It was a great PR success and got people to stand up and pay attention. Probably even help push up the rent.

Understand there are a number of businesses interested in letting the space but are considering various other sites across the north east. Ocado I think take two floors and Penshaw view one / half, so another letting and they will probably be considering what the next building will be. Issue with spec office building is trying to get the right offer for prospective tenants as you are just second guessing who might come in.

it's like when you want to do something your mates are not into so you have to strategically ask one of them first knowing that if people know he's going, others will follow 😄
 
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Osklen

Goalkeeper
yeah without a doubt it'll take a bit of refining to smooth things out but it's a brand new build and development. what I hope they dont do though is give leases to to these flash in the pan short term companies who just hire a space for a few months and then theyre gone.

there's no way Doxford Park would fit on Vaux. having a call centre relocate there would be good though.
You are right ive just checked Wikipedia and it states that it’s 1.35m sq ft of office space (I’m assuming that’s gross) and Vaux at present it 0.6 sq ft (gross) - that’s not to say they couldn’t get a revised outline consent for more space of course. This obviously would mean each future plot being circa 150,000 sq for over 10+ storeys which may be difficult but not impossible.

The main issue would be if tenants would go into multi-tenanted buildings unlike what they are in in at doxford which is predominantly individual offices. Obviously what they could not duplicate is the parking provision outside of each companies door.
 

citybythesea

Midfield
I agree. I’m not saying that it is an over saturation as it’s only 60,000 sq ft of 450,000 sq ft proposed on the Vaux site. In order for the city to be come more effective all of the 450,000 sq ft needs to be delivered. The Beam is probably the first grade a office accommodation in the city for the best part of 30 years.

As for the Beam itself and saying that this represents the city being awash with call centres I am fully aware that an open plan office floor plate, as is in the Beam, is fit for any office use. In fact the Beam appears to have been designed not for call centre accommodation as it’s a naturally ventilated building which usually means a smaller occupancy level - not common with call centres.

What I’m trying say (possibly badly) is that the building of the office accommodation is the easy bit the difficult part is attracting the businesses themselves as we are often in competition with the many other parts of the uk and the region both big and small cities. We are currently competitive due to price, probably somewhere at £15-17 a sq ft where as Newcastle is probably north of £22 a sq ft. If we were at the same price point as Newcastle then it’s likely most businesses would choose Newcastle.

Moreover we need a mix of office types from call centres, to recruitment consultants, to legal firms, to other public sector and civil services end users, to IT firms etc.... Also in order to try and attract these businesses which will provide a great mix of income levels, which is something Sunderland needs, the city centre doesn’t currently provide an attractive setting, business certainly consider this in terms of staff recruitment and retention, meaning it becomes harder to sell the city and bring these companies in.
Ok but it's even harder to attract a company if you don't even have the accommodation to offer them in the first place. Imagine trying to sell that to a prospective tenant! "We'd like you to relocate your business here, but you're going to have to build your own premises"......how would that end?
What it needs to do now is continue attracting businesses.
You yourself have said call centres provides valuable employment in a city centre. Now imagine not needing to travel all that way to Newcastle.....unless of course you're from there?
 

the boot

Midfield
P
i agree that a lot more office based jobs in the town would be really good for the area. having call the call centres in town from Doxford would be really good but there just isnt the room for them. imagine the spending in town if the call centre workers could pop out on their lunch and spend. there's the PIP place at the back of the Empire, that's the only call centre I can think of in town.
I’ve said it before. If call centre workers spent money eating out doxy would have more than a Greggs on site, investment would flock there. The proof is in the eating.
No one nips out to buy stuff in their lunch hour anymore either, that’s why the high st is on its arse.
I like the look of the beam it looks great as you come along Dame dot.
The pip place is under the echo building and there is a big call centre in villiers st Hays travel maybe?
The horizon building looks fab and it’s nearly finished.
 
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bobster999

Goalkeeper
You are right ive just checked Wikipedia and it states that it’s 1.35m sq ft of office space (I’m assuming that’s gross) and Vaux at present it 0.6 sq ft (gross) - that’s not to say they couldn’t get a revised outline consent for more space of course. This obviously would mean each future plot being circa 150,000 sq for over 10+ storeys which may be difficult but not impossible.

The main issue would be if tenants would go into multi-tenanted buildings unlike what they are in in at doxford which is predominantly individual offices. Obviously what they could not duplicate is the parking provision outside of each companies door.
its a massive site like, the whole of vaux would just be needed to be the car park
 

Osklen

Goalkeeper
Ok but it's even harder to attract a company if you don't even have the accommodation to offer them in the first place. Imagine trying to sell that to a prospective tenant! "We'd like you to relocate your business here, but you're going to have to build your own premises"......how would that end?
What it needs to do now is continue attracting businesses.
You yourself have said call centres provides valuable employment in a city centre. Now imagine not needing to travel all that way to Newcastle.....unless of course you're from there?
I’m not from Newcastle, I live and have lived in Sunderland all my life. I desperatley want the best for the city and would love nothing more to take business from Newcastle I’m just trying to provide some realism from my experiences / opinion - therefore these are just my opinions and I may well be wrong.

I agree we need to build more offices but you only do that in a phased approach i.e. once a building is 50/70+ let would you consider building the next spec office as what you don’t want to do is flood the market with empty office space and then be in a weaker negotiating position in terms of rental level as remember property is all about viability and return, and Sunderland is at the lower ebb of officer rental levels. pushing rental levels up is key to attract private development to the city. If the council artificially reduces rent the market rent will be too low for anyone to invest without further subsidy from the council.

Also it’s about getting the right spec office building as I have said earlier in order to market the building to right types of tenant for instance a call centre (sorry to use this example again) would ordinarily go into an air conditioned office due to occupancy levels whereas a marketing or creative agency may go into a natural ventilated building to keep ongoing rental costs down and environmental benefits. Moreover the higher quality of the design of the building the higher the rental return needed to break even or hit the required profit level.
 

bobster999

Goalkeeper
P

I’ve said it before. If call centre workers spent money eating out doxy would have more than a Greggs on site, investment would flock there. The proof is in the eating.
No one nips out to buy stuff in their lunch hour anymore either, that’s why the high st is on its arse.
I like the look of the beam it looks great as you come along Dame dot.
The pip place is under the echo building and there is a big call centre in villiers st Hays travel maybe?
The horizon building looks fab and it’s nearly finished.

yeah absolutely, Greggs have got it good there. Doxy is pretty much empty for food places (obviously places have their own catering) but outside there's only the greggs and the pub.

to be honest, people have went on that much about the beam on the sunderland echo site that I think it's influenced people because it was negative and its the echo. it looks great lit up at night though and the new building, which they have also built in another country, (canada, i think) looks great as well.
The pip place is under the echo building and there is a big call centre in villiers st Hays travel maybe?
naah theres a PIP place in that corner building by the roundabout as well
 
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Osklen

Goalkeeper
its a massive site like, the whole of vaux would just be needed to be the car park
Yeah although the argument would / should be for these businesses that as it’s a city centre public transport links would be better and thus there is no need for them to provide dedicated parking. That is in theory however in reality if staff are used to it, it’s exceptionally difficult to take it away from them. There is a plans for a c. 300 space multi storey on Vaux but that would need to be more like 6,500 spaces to match what must be up at doxford. Again there are existing car parks but probably no where near that number.

The second argument is that the staff will then be in a city centre with access to many more facilities providing a better environment for staff to keep them happy. Currently that argument doesn’t really wash in Sunderland for most.
yeah absolutely, Greggs have got it good there. Doxy is pretty much empty for food places (obviously places have their own catering) but outside there's only the greggs and the pub.

to be honest, people have went on that much about the beam on the sunderland echo site that I think it's influenced people because it was negative and its the echo. it looks great lit up at night though and the new building, which they have also built in another country, (canada, i think) looks great as well.


naah theres a PIP place in that corner building by the roundabout as well
Isn’t there a subway? To be honest I’m not sure how much retail space was planned at the time it was built.
 
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bobster999

Goalkeeper
Yeah although the argument would / should be for these businesses that as it’s a city centre public transport links would be better and thus there is no need for them to provide dedicated parking. That is in theory however in reality if staff are used to it, it’s exceptionally difficult to take it away from them. There is a plans for a c. 300 space multi storey on Vaux but that would need to be more like 6,500 spaces to match what must be up at doxford. Again there are existing car parks but probably no where near that number.

The second argument is that the staff will then be in a city centre with access to many more facilities providing a better environment for staff to keep them happy. Currently that argument doesn’t really wash in Sunderland for most.

yeah the car parks not the main point. the new tombola building is really good as well, ive seen inside. pretty good location too
 

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