The completion of a property deal which has seen a local developer buy the former Kwik Save supermarket in Hull’s Holderness Road has demonstrated that ‘good business can still be done’ despite concerns over the economic impact of lockdown, a commercial agent says.
Paul White, agency director at Garness Jones, completed the deal for the prominent 19,800 sq ft property, which is set out over two floors, just seven days after Prime Minister Boris Johnson eased lockdown rules and urged companies to get back to business.
Mr White says the deal is a good example of an investor ‘looking long term’ and recognising that – no matter what the short-term impact of the Covid-19 lockdown – good business opportunities remain across the region.
“This is a significant deal because this is a large property which has stood empty for a number of years, more than a decade, which is now going to be redeveloped to add something new to the city. It has a number of potential uses,” said Mr White.
“It has planning consent for retail obviously, and could be reconfigured to make space for a number of outlets, but there is also potential to use the space as a whole for leisure activities such as a gym or maybe an activity or play centre.
“Those options are being considered now with the developer and architects, but whatever the outcome it is a boost for the local property market and that area of Holderness Road.
“The deal was very straight forward and given it has completed within days of lockdown being eased, I feel it demonstrates that there is still good business to be done when people are prepared to look beyond the current uncertainty and consider longer term opportunities.”
David Garness, managing director of Garness Jones, says that long-term impact of Covid-19 on the property market is something many are now trying to second guess, but that clarity will only come with time.
“Lots of people are asking about property values and nobody has a crystal ball, but at our firm we have been working extremely hard to bring together all the information we gather on a daily basis across all of our departments, to give us the best possible overview of what is happening across Yorkshire and Lincolnshire,” he said.
“We are having weekly video meetings where members of our commercial sales and lettings team, our property and asset management team and our inward investment team all come together and speak about what is happening in their departments, the conversations they have had with people over the past seven days, and what they are currently dealing with.
“It is important that we understand fully the demand for viewings, sales and lettings, where landlords sit given the extra financial pressures which have fallen on them and how tenants are positioned and whether there has been a significant impact on their ability to trade. All these things will influence valuations.
“By having that detail and knowledge to hand, and reviewing it constantly, we can use that as we hopefully increasingly place more properties on the market in the weeks to come.”
Just last week Garness Jones added a new property to the market, offering 2,112 sq ft of high-specification offices in Hull’s Old Town.
Mr White said: “These are high quality offices which we feel will continue to have the same appeal and demand as before the lockdown, given they are situated in the heart of the city centre business district, are of extremely high-quality and will provide an excellent base for a wide range of businesses.
“I have already had contact and interest in these offices, so that again is a positive sign.”