A BUSINESSWOMAN who has let office space for 25 years has turned her attention to helping start-ups looking for space.
Lynn Gate, managing director of The Office Company, has also run the Metropolitan House business centre in Gateshead since 2006.
Based on demand there, she decided to focus on finding space for smaller firms that she says landlords and agents often overlook.
Having had instances where she had to turn people away she still wanted to help them and decided to find them an office elsewhere with another landlord. Landlords she worked with said The Office Company had achieved better occupancy levels than their usual agents.
Ms Gate said: “The backbone of the UK economy relies on small businesses who can start and grow quickly in the right environment, as opposed to large corporations.
“The red tape that comes with office leasing can be quite daunting for start-ups or young businesses. Plus, entrepreneurs actually like to be around other businesses, where they can collaborate and socialise, so we take the dynamic of the space into consideration and fill it with like-minded small businesses, giving the landlord a more sustainable return.
“We can turn empty spaces into full and vibrant office hubs – we’ve proven it with Spaceworks in Gosforth and Moor Chambers in Durham; placing tenants in a matter of weeks. We take away the hassle for both tenant and landlord and act as a concierge for the whole process.”
She works with tenants to find a suitable spot under individually tailored agreements – something traditional commercial property agents tend to overlook.
Global property data provider IPD’s latest figures for the UK office market suggest the North East is one of the worst performing segments for investor returns. \
Investors have lacked confidence in the North East, its said, due to a perception of a lack of tenant demand, it said.
But Ms Gate said the Office Company has managed to maintain an annual 90-100% rate of occupancy, based on its local area knowledge and mentoring of tenants through the move.
Operations and business development manager Katie Powell said: “Quite simply we understand the hyper-locality of the region, the different pockets of industry, nuances of postcode and sector communities.
“We also have the personal bank of SMEs seeking new space – there is no shortage, they often come to us because they just don’t know where to look or how to manage the process.
“We want to help put the North East on the map as an entrepreneurial business community with a profitable office marketplace – our region has a vibrant start up scene, we now just need to match this community with the appropriate office environment to generate sustainable growth for them and the commercial property sector.”