A major office development on land around Northampton’s gas towers will address the “dearth” of quality properties in the town, it has been claimed.
The land at Tanner Street and St Peter’s Way is set to become a 20,000 square metre office development, once the gas towers and 10 houses have been demolished.
The West Northamptonshire Development Corporation (WNDC) has drawn up a shortlist of three developers for the site, and says it is needed despite the number of vacant premises in the town.
In his latest blog, Chris Garden, director of regeneration and development, said: “It is a common misconception that Northampton has an abundance of empty commercial properties.
“While there are some, vacancy rates for industrial units and office space in the town tend to sit below the national average. There are several reasons for this, ranging from Northampton’s central location to its infrastructure links. Generally speaking, it is an attractive and conducive place to do business.
“I can only assume that the grim spectre of a handful of empty buildings appears to sway public perception on this issue, which neatly brings me onto the main point.
“If a commercial property has been vacant for several months or even years, then there is usually a very sound reason. Naturally, there are a range of factors which can render a building unattractive to the market.
“We are building new offices because there is a latent demand for them. Northampton has a dearth of high quality office space, especially in its resurgent town centre. That is about to change.”
His views were echoed by WNDC chief executive Peter Mawson, who said: “It really is a major step, and we have been planning for this for quite some time. We have strong developer interest and we are in advanced stages for that.
“Northampton has a lack of quality town centre office accommodation. There has been very little investment in new builds and partly that is because the trend in the 70s and 80s was to move to out-of-town sites.
“Creating development sites and getting developer interest has been a key part of our job, and St Peter’s Way is a key part of that.”