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West Midlands and Birmingham ready for nearshoring boost to commercial property market5th March 2014

West Midlands and Birmingham ready for nearshoring boost to commercial property marketBirmingham and the West Midlands are in a strong position, thanks to good transport infrastructure and a central location, to take advantage of the Government's current Nearshoring campaign to encourage businesses to move their overseas operations back to the UK.

Commercial property company Cushman & Wakefield’s global business consulting team addressed Nearshoring issues at a seminar in Birmingham on 4 March, led by department head Neil McLocklin.

According to Mr McLocklin, Birmingham was one of the leading contenders due to its proximity to London, reputation for innovation and research, and significant national and global business representation. The move to to encourage businesses to move their operations back to the UK is being driven by factors such as lower corporate taxes and the existence of a skilled labour force.

The city already has more jobs in finance, property and insurance than anywhere else outside London, with leading employers including Lloyds, KPMG, Wesleyan, Deloitte, and Deutsche Bank.

Mr McLocklin said: “UK cities like Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow and Belfast are attracting more and more interest from pan-European operations that require native language speaking skills.

“The inward migration of young people from across Europe into these cities looking to enhance their English speaking skills, blended with the existing educated population makes this a strong proposition when considering locations across the continent.”

Any Nearshoring activity is likely to focus on the city centre market, which is one of the reasons why it is hoped that inward investors will be persuaded to take up residence during 2014.

Last year saw an annual take up of 663,000 sq ft in the city centre, which was deemed to be an average performance. However, expectations are high that other occupiers will follow the lead of Deutsche Bank, which took up 135,000 sq ft of office space in Birmingham city centre in 2013.

Scott Rutherford, head of Cushman & Wakefield in Birmingham, said: “The performance of the office market in Birmingham city centre has been improving and will continue to do so, particularly now the UK economy is on the upturn.

“While last year was not exceptional, 2014 could be the year of the inward investor, not least because of the growth of Nearshoring activity.”

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