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Business Argus From the directors mouth By Jo Barnes

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The big question

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With the topping out ceremony taking place on the new city centre Admiral building in Newport, we asked local business people How important is the new Admiral building as a catalyst to the future prosperity of Newport and the surrounding area? Heres what they said: James Pugh, County Industrial Supplies, Cwmbran Hopefully Admiral will bring a lot more opportunities to Newport. I would like to see the council lower the rates for renting shops on the high street and really push for local companies to move there rather than large nationals. But the balance has to be right for the city to prosper. Robert Twigg, Everett, Lloyd, Tomlin and Pratt, Newport The prominent modern office building opposite the railway station will present a more optimistic first glimpse of the city for people arriving by train. Its staff will hopefully be a shot in the arm for Newports shops, bars and restaurants and may also encourage other businesses in the retail and leisure sectors to open. Dan Smith, director M4 Property Consultants Its very important because it will create jobs for large number of people in the city centre, predominantly a younger workforce who will be more likely to spend money at break times and after work in local businesses. In the longer term it could prove to be a catalyst to encourage other call centre operators to move to Newport city centre. John Newell, director, Kingston Newell Estate Agents Business people are looking forward to the opening of the new Admiral building and the boost it will bring I expect it will further boost the citys rental market. Landlords are already being encouraged to invest in properties because demand for accommodation for students and young professionals has on average resulted in the increase of rents by approximately 2.3 per cent compared to 12 months ago. Mike Jenkins Partner at Harding Evans Solicitors Newport Its the shot in the arm that the ailing patient of Newport city centre has needed for many years following the continued lack of progress in the John Frost Square redevelopment. We have seen retail outlet after retail outlet leave the high street either closing down or moving to out of town retail parks. It also sends out a vote of confidence to businesses who may be considering moving to Newport that we are Open for Business. David Russ, managing director of the Centre for Business Admirals new office has capacity for around 1,200 staff which means a huge increase to the footfall of the city centre. I have no doubt that the majority of those staff will be popping out for some lunch time shopping, or an after work meal, and expect that the areas many independent businesses will receive a boost from the increased custom. Businesses should start to consider how to make the most of this opportunity . Lewis Lewis, director of corporate and client services, Lewis and Lewis Ltd, International Construction Consultants, Newport Regeneration projects and development like this scheme have the potential to transform the city centre radically . We know Newport is capable of world-class regeneration projects and only have to look at the likes of The Celtic Manor Resort within this area to show the diversification that the resort offers as well as the visitors, guests and internationally recognised business that are attracted to the area as a result of this. By Admiral taking such a prominent position within the city will only strengthen future opportunities and will create a striking landmark for the city to be proud of. Haydn Thomas, director, Hutchings and Thomas Chartered Surveyors, Newport Wouldnt it be great to see the larger retailers returning to the centre or more independents open as a result. The atmosphere in the city on Saturday for the food festival was fantastic and certainly something that Newport should be proud of and build on. Perhaps now is the time we all try and change the perception of Newport and start talking about whats positive in the city rather than always mentioning the negatives. Kara Williams, partner, Ellis Lloyd Jones, Newport I believe this building is hugely important. A few hundred employees will be based in the city centre and I think it will serve as a reminder to other businesses, when theyre thinking about where they could establish an office, that Newport has a lot to offer. Exactly how important this new building will be will depend on us. If local business take advantage of the opportunity we have been given, the potential for a turnaround is huge. Denise Lovering, Commercial Director, Glenside Commercials, Bedwas

By Robert Lloyd-Griffiths, IOD Wales

AT THIS time of year, everything seems to come to life again. It seems that the calm of the summer holidays has become a long and distant memory to many as we get back on the treadmill of working life. But Ive been encouraged in recent days by a number of things Im reading and hearing about. I attended Fast Growth 50 on Friday, which was yet another annual shot in the arm for celebrating entrepreneurship and success. And as I spend time visiting IoD members across Newport and East Wales, they are saying that business is getting better and that deals are being done. Admirals new office in Newport city centre is a massive shot in the arm and just what Newport needs. Good news is always to be welcomed and underpins the FTSE 100s commitment to Wales and the Welsh economy and to Newport in general. Admiral chief executive Henry Englehardt is our current IoD in Wales Chairmans Award Winner of the year. This new office is a catalyst and a confidence booster and its real investment and real jobs. Any commitment to the future has got to be welcomed. Its also great to see that businesses are beginning to hire again with a growing demand in the manufacturing sector. I have been following with great interest Business Minister Edwina Harts plans for her City Region Project. As reported last week, she is engaging with both the Institute of Directors and the CBI, who will be contributing to the process and the debate and we are looking forward to playing our parts. This project has got to be good news and provides massive benefits for businesses as well as for tourism and there are many other opportunities the City Region Development Project could bring to the economy . Since weve started the new term, it has been great to hear from a high number of members and businesses telling us that they have recorded the companys busiest month in years and they are now entering a new term with renewed vigour and renewed confidence in business out there. As well as benefiting their own businesses, this in turn benefits the wider economy of Wales. Usually, it is an end of term report but with this change in circumstances, its quite interesting to have a report at the beginning of a term to emphasise that there is lots of good news, lots to celebrate and still lots to do.

The benefits a new building brings to a business are truly surprising. The positive perception it generates for both your business and the surrounding area has to be seen to be believed. Glenside Commercials bespoke new headquarters in Bedwas This is the largest develop- opened doors to us resulting directly in significant busiment in the city centre, ness growth and our fresh ironically, since the Cambrian Centre was built appearance was a key factor. in the late 1980s. It has been The Admiral building will evident that the immediate have a similar impact and will be seen as a vote of confiarea around the developdence in Newport and the ment is gearing up for the surrounding area. influx of workers with an increase in demand for Robin Hall, commercial space on Cambrian Road and Bridge managing Street, especially in the lei- director, Kymin sure and service sectors. The fact that That being said, the new Admiral, a workers coming into the FTSE100 listed city will also need to have company, has made this an attractive and vibrant major investment in the city city to capture their propensity to consume ie good is great news. With an addiretail outlets, restaurants, tional 500+ people working in the city centre on a daily cafes etc. It is critical that basis this will helps existing the Friars Walk development happens. It would be retailers, restaurants and easy, with the new develop- cafs and will encourage new businesses on the back of it. ments location, for Also with the imminent start Admiral employees to of the new Friars Walk jump on a train and spend development, we should start their money in another to see some further retailers town or city . and restaurants signing on the dotted line which will Kris Broome, further improve the outlook St Davids and appeal for people to start Hospice Care visiting the centre again.

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