Development vital to unlocking North East’s potential

Industrial space is key in supporting the North East business community, yet capacity is critically low, equating to only 0.23 years of supply, writes Tim Knowles, founder and managing director of FI Real Estate Management.

Businesses need commercial property they can rely on. Dwindling supply is concerning, and something we are trying to combat through our investment in high-quality, purpose-built units.

Ask anyone working in and around the North East and they will tell you the benefits of working in the region. With a large, skilled labour pool supported by five universities, easy access to ports and mainline rail and national road networks, doing business here just makes sense.

Despite this, the provision of industrial space in the North East falls short of neighbouring regions, with the majority being low quality, second hand space that simply isn’t fit for the business needs of today. Firms are crying out for Grade A industrial space to elevate their operations, and we’re here to play our part in providing exactly that.

The North East has a diverse and thriving economy and is recognised for its strengths in a number of key sectors, including the manufacturing industry. These sectors simply won’t function without a higher standard of commercial workspace, and this risks holding the region back from achieving its huge potential.

Despite the challenging landscape, the North East’s cities are set to be particularly strong economic performers in the coming years. Last year, the number of businesses based in Durham reached an all-time high at over 33,000, home to more new companies than nearby towns, Stockton-on-Tees and Darlington.

This economic growth must be supported by a ready supply of high-quality and well-connected commercial space for businesses to call upon.

We developed Gemini Point at our Bracken Hill Industrial Estate with local and regional businesses in mind, investing £3.5m and bringing 55,575 sq ft of new commercial space to County Durham. We transformed the former Gemini office block to the new 2.85-acre commercial development, comprising nine new Grade A units from 5,400 sq ft to 7,400 sq ft.

Gemini Point is ideally positioned to benefit from the connectivity of the North East, with easy access to the motorway network, railway and Durham Tees Valley Airport.

Complete with electric roller shutter doors, dedicated parking to all units, on-site cycle parking and EV charging, Gemini Point caters to a range of businesses operating in a variety of sectors, demonstrated by our very own occupants.

Our investment at Bracken Hill is just the beginning of our work in driving growth in the North East.

Over the coming years, we will continue to evolve our property portfolio to meet the changing needs of businesses, tailoring our approach for the benefit of all in the region.

  • Tim Knowles is founder and managing director of FI Real Estate Management

To find out more about Gemini Point, visit


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Gemini Point is a great scheme, providing much needed new space on the busy A19 corridor and breathing new life into Brackenhill Business Park. Well done FI REM for having the vision.

By Nick Atkinson

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