Property has a special place in plans designed to boost the economies of cities across the country. Most economic strategies in recent decades have had some focus on property, be that the creation of a science park, the building of new office space or the restoration of a historic building, all with the aim of creating jobs in an economy.
Property will remain important in the current round of economic development plans – called Local Industrial Strategies – that Combined Authorities and Local Enterprise Partnerships have been tasked by the Government to produce. These plans are intended to address poor levels of productivity across the country, which are leading to very different wage levels and job opportunities between cities.
The challenge is that, despite the central focus that property development and redevelopment often takes, the composition of commercial space in cities across the country is poorly understood. This has limited the impact of the many public sector backed schemes that have taken place in recent years.
The report is split into three sections. Firstly, it looks at the supply of commercial space across city centres and suburbs. Secondly, it looks at what interventions cities have made in the commercial property market in order to improve their offer. Finally, it makes a series of policy recommendations for those writing Local Industrial Strategies, suggesting interventions which will ensure there is sufficient supply and quality of space, as cities look to attract, retain, and grow the types of businesses that will improve productivity, wages, and jobs in their areas.