With over 30 years of experience in the development marketplace, Guy Marsden, founding director of Highbridge Properties and developer of Jade Business Park discusses what led them to investing in this exciting new development that will arguably become the gem of the North East.

Creating new build employment spaces has dominated my working life.  Being both a qualified Chartered Accountant and a Chartered Surveyor certainly provides you with a firm grasp on making sure the numbers stack up before investing in landmark developments.

As a specialist business park developer, Highbridge Properties has built up an enviable reputation for developing highly successful office and business park as well as significant stand-alone buildings.

Over thirty years ago, we developed three of the most significant buildings at the South Quay of the London Docklands before Canary Wharf started on site.  Since then we have developed over 13 million square feet of office space including the Newcastle Business Park, Sherwood Park, Dundee Waterfront to name a few.  Notably, we developed the largest office park in the UK, Colbalt, in Newcastle upon Tyne.  The park has delivered 2 million sq ft of commercial space, and brought 14,000 jobs to the area.

Highbridge Properties are already very active in the North East with our business parks at Newcastle and Cobalt so Jade presented another excellent opportunity right on our doorstep.

The combination of a perfectly positioned site, coupled with the chance to work in close conjunction with public sector, provided a fantastic development opportunity.  The business park is owned by Durham County Council and managed by Business Durham, providing a firm focus on promoting innovation, economic and skills infrastructure and sustainable transport.  Together with Highbridge’s expertise in developing major business park, this harnesses our collective skill sets and experience to bear in bringing forward this major employment site.

What sets this development apart is it lies on a 55-acre employment site next to the A19 and close to Dalton Park, making it a prime location for businesses to establish themselves in Durham, for relocation and expansion.  It offers excellent transport links and will provide over one million sq ft of new employment space and over 2,500 jobs. Importantly, business can take advantage of the Enterprise Zone status at Jade, offering occupiers a rates’ benefit of up to £275,000.

Already, the attractiveness of Jade as the place to do businesses has been demonstrated by the first tenant, Sumitomo Electric Wiring Systems Europe (SEWS-E), taking 50,000 sq ft of space at Jade. SEWS-E is part of the Sumitomo family of companies which was founded in Japan and now operates globally, throughout 65 countries.

The first phase of Jade Business Park is nearing completion and it will deliver seven new industrial units, the equivalent to 155,000 sq ft of new space for distribution, technology, and advanced manufacturing businesses.

We are catering for all parts of the regional economy and the speculative phase is now anchored and focused on the overall potential of the scheme. Despite the COVID pandemic there is strong interest in the scheme and for other future developments on the site.

After what has undoubtably been a difficult year for everyone, we now look forward to the economy moving into the recovery phase and supporting businesses to grow and create jobs.  Welcoming our first tenant to Jade Business Park marks a major milestone in a project that will bring high-value manufacturing businesses, new jobs and sustainable economic growth to a premier area for businesses to thrive.

Guy Marsden is the founding director of Highbridge Properties, development partners of Jade Business Park

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