As published in Insider Media on 10 April 2023

After two decades of expansion, Hollis moved into Newcastle in 2007 and has continued to grow in the region ever since. Offering a variety of services, from dilapidations, project management, schedules of condition and technical due diligence, over a variety of sectors, Hollis has truly confirmed their status as a leader in the North-East.

With strong presence in the region, Hollis has advised on a number of major developments in the North-East and understands what clients are looking for as we progress through 2023. Noticing a shift from redeveloping to repurposing or retrofitting, Hollis tells us more about their work and the importance of considering environmental impact throughout.

Onwards and upwards

After what can only be described as a turbulent few years following a global pandemic, war and financial crisis, the property market now seems to be levelling with even some growth seen in a number of sectors. We all have seen the effects of crises on high-street retail, but the industrial sector has more recently experienced high demand and regional growth. With consumers moving to online shopping, it is expected that industrial growth may well be a result of businesses requiring larger warehouses and distribution space.

Whilst occupiers may be looking for more industrial square footage, they are also looking for higher ESG qualifications. With legislation changes to energy certifications paired with rising energy costs, occupier demands require a space that reduces both their impact on the environment and long-term expenditure.

The most sustainable building is one that has already been built and so it is no surprise that retrofitting buildings to increase ESG qualifications has become increasingly popular in the last few years. However, it isn’t just retrofitting that provides a more environmentally conscious alternative to redevelopment or new builds. Another trend Hollis has been noticing across all of their locations, but particularly in the wider North-East network, is repurposing buildings.

From daytime to night-time

One particular project that Hollis has been involved in is the Government funded Captain Cook Square shopping centre in Middlesborough which is being repurposed for leisure and entertainment use. Recognising a need to boost night-time economy in the area, Middlesborough Borough Council aimed to give the shopping centre a new lease of life and encourage visitors to the centre in the hope of increasing footfall. This meant introducing restaurants and entertainment facilities to increase footfall from day to night.

Offering their in-house project management, cost management, principal designer, and mechanical and electrical services, Hollis has been involved from the outset, assisting from the initial procurement stage all the way through to phase completion of the public realm works.

Alongside the refurbishment of the 228,000 sq ft parade, additional upgrades included a new façade to the adjacent bus station, upgraded seating and street furniture, replacement and new enhanced feature lighting, and redecoration of shop fronts. This has brought a new identity to the centre, filling the area with a new life.

Understanding the importance of staying local, Hollis continued to use local partners, operators, and suppliers to provide employment to a wider network in the North-East. Further bolstering the ‘S’ in ESG, chosen contractor Esh Construction implemented a social value plan to reuse metal street furniture in different districts of the local area, and recarpet a local community hall.

By producing a space that people want to spend time in, it is hopeful that the wider property network will benefit too from the investment. Public opinion of Middlesborough will be more positive driving more people to visit and relocate, encourage landlords to refurbish local space, and tenants to receive an increase in sales and service.

Captain Cook Square will soon boast a mixture of shops, bars, cafes, restaurants and entertainment suites, which Middleborough would have missed if it were not for careful repurposing of pre-existing real estate.

The rise of repurposing

As more companies in real estate start to prioritise the reduction of their environmental impact, we can expect to see further growth in repurposing and retrofitting. It is vital for both investors and developers alike to reduce the whole life carbon associated with their projects, and repurposing or retrofitting holds significantly lower carbon emissions than its counterpart of knocking down and building up.

Hollis has been at the forefront of sustainability understanding the power a consultancy in the real estate space can hold in making environmental change. From advising on how to repurpose buildings to developing ESG strategies for clients, Hollis are a trusted advisor in the North-East for both ESG and beyond. Whatever the question, Hollis has an answer; get in touch with Senior Associate Philip Hirst or Head of Hollis in Newcastle David Cox to find out they can help you get the most out of your real estate.