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Wales Development finance from Hodge Developing the bank’s development proposition for 2020

Hodge has gained success in creating flexible products which provide a service that focuses on our clients. As a team we plan to build on this success by regularly reviewing our existing products and continuing to learn from our customers to better understand their needs.

We’ve built up a sizeable investment book in the past five years and aim to continue to build a development book to broadly the same size over the next five. Achieving this will only be possible with feedback from our clients and, of course, in providing quick and efficient delivery throughout the credit and diligence process.

What you can expect from Hodge

As featured on the inside front cover Hodge’s new head of development finance, Gareth Davies, explains why flexibility and great client relationships are key to the specialist lender’s plans for 2020.

In the past few years we’ve invested time in creating products which can grow with our clients. We’ve done that by taking the time to get to know them and working alongside them to understand what it is they need from a lender.

Ultimately, our clients want to borrow, and we want to lend. While both parties need protection, we must be able to work effectively and closely together given our end goal is so closely aligned.

Hodge offers finance from £500k for experienced developers with a good track record who are looking for a bespoke lending option.

Whether it’s the creation of residential properties and student accommodation, or the development of restaurants and office space, we want to help our clients realise their plans and transform communities.

In the past 10 years banks have quite fairly faced a great deal of mistrust. Ensuring trust between developer and lender, acting responsibly, behaving appropriately and building great and long- lasting relationships is vital.

At Hodge, we’re proud of the fact so many of our clients come back to us. Cardiff drives Welsh Economy Chris Sutton

Cardiff remains the driving force of the Welsh economy and the growth of this strong, vibrant city is the main success story of the Welsh economy since devolution in 1999. In the past decade, the city centre has seen a development programme which has included close to 1.5 million sq ft of new offices developed either on a bespoke basis for the likes of Admiral, BBC and HMRC or specu- latively, most notably by develop- ers Rightacres at Central Square and J R Smart (Builders) Limited at Capital Quarter.

Whilst both of these major schemes are close to completion, there is a strong development pipeline which includes Central Quay (the former S A Brain site), John Street and Callaghan Square.

The challenge is to now repeat this city centre success in both Newport and Swansea. The Welsh Government’s National Development Frame- work, which is out for consultation, has provided a clear steer that Newport should become the growth zone of the next few decades, al- though with significant floodplain issues in the city and an unresolved M4 bottleneck there is inconsistency in government policy here.

Swansea has made progress with its new 3,500 capacity arena, the focal point of its ‘Swansea Central’ project. With Swansea Bay City Deal now moving forward, there is growing confidence that we will see a transformation of the city centre.


The growth zone for offices is Treforest & Pontypridd with both the 120,000 sq ft Department for Work & Pensions office in Treforest and the 100,000 sq ft Llys Cadwyn scheme in Pontypridd close to com- pletion. Transport for Wales is the anchor tenant in Pontypridd tak- ing 70,000 sq ft with the remaining floorspace the subject of private sector interest.

The decisive election result in December 2019 confirmed the depar- ture from the EU however the future trading relationship with the EU is not yet determined. This will continue to impact upon property investment decisions by those businesses who are exporters, most notably manufacturing. Indeed, the RICS noted a reduction in demand for both offices and industrial floorspace in Q4, 2019 with a lack of business confidence arising from the general election at that time. However, expectations for the commercial property sector in Wales in 2020 have improved.

The abolition of the Severn Bridge tolls in December 2018 has opened up South Wales to logistics and warehousing operators, with Avon- mouth now perceived to be suffering from staff shortages and there- fore less attractive than a few years ago. The manufacturing sector has suffered from a series of high profile closures either being imple- mented or announced including the 1.5 million sq ft Ford engine plant in Bridgend, the 1 million sq ft Quinn Radiator plant in Newport, the 780,000 sq ft Orb steelworks in Newport and the 236,000 sq ft Schaef- fler works in Bynea, Newport. However, vacancy rates remain low and enquiry levels robust.

Chris Sutton MRICS, Sutton Consulting Limited 23

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