A guide to serviced offices and office space to rent in Sunderland as well as general information that may be useful if you are thinking of renting office space in Sunderland.
History & Geography
Located on the mouth of the River Wear in North East England, Sunderland lies on a range of hills running along the coast into a valley called the Hylton Gorge. A part of County Durham, the city has functioned as one of England’s most important ports and trading centres. While the area was inhabited by the Brigante tribe and there have also been reports of a Roman settlement in the area, the first concrete historically recorded settlement was the Wearmouth-Jarrow Monastery built on the north bank of the River Wear in the 7th century. The monastery became a major centre of learning and knowledge, with an extensive library. However by the 9th century it had been abandoned in the face of widespread Viking raids. Meanwhile settlements were built on the south bank of the Wear and in the 12th century a small fishing village known as Soender-land, a name which eventually evolved into Sunderland, was built. By the 14th century the area had become renowned for its ship-making industry, and by the 16th century large amounts of salt were being made in Sunderland by the process known as salt panning. In the 17th century Sunderland had developed a brisk trade in coal, but was rivaled by nearby Newcastle, also a significant coal trading centre. The city continued to expand and prosper during the 19th century, despite a cholera epidemic which killed approximately 32,000 people. In 1883 Sunderland experienced the Victoria Hall disaster, when 183 children died in a stampede during a variety show. This event led to sweeping changes to the laws governing how public venues are managed in the UK. The beginning of the 20th century saw the city continue to be improved, with an electric tram system installed, the Technical College opened and the General Hospital built. Due to its industry, Sunderland was extensively bombed during WWII causing much damage to the city and its industry, already devastated by the Great Depression. A major rebuilding effort saw the city restored, but in the 1970s and 80s its ship-building and coalmining industries both declined rapidly. However as in many cities in Northern England the 1990s saw a burst of regeneration and the advent of new service-orientated industries which restored the city’s economy.
Sunderland’s traditional industries of shipbuilding, glassmaking and coalmining both declined significantly in the mid to late 20th century and for a time the city was one of the most deprived in the UK. There are still high rates of poverty and crime in some areas of Sunderland, especially Southwick and Marley Potts. The economy has slowly transformed and improved however. In 1986 the Nissan car factor was opened in the city, creating thousands of jobs, and new service industries also appeared, many of which were headquartered in the Doxford International Business Park built on the outskirts of the city. In 2004 and 2005 the city was included in the shortlist of the top seven cities in the world for use of information technology. Additionally the shipyard areas along the River Wear have been extensively redeveloped with a mixture of retail and leisure facilities. More developments are planned for the next decade including the transformation of several industrial estates into public spaces and entertainment areas.
Sunderland has a thriving music scene with many contemporary bands hailing from the city. Currently Sunderland’s underground scene is considered one of the best in the country and has recently promoted Field Music, The Golden Virgins and The Futureheads. Sunderland’s Stadium of Light is a major concert venue in the north of England, routinely hosting acts such as Take That, Oasis, Kings of Leon and Status Quo. The city’s Empire Theatre is another popular venue, and has recently hosted acts such as Morissey, Jane McDonald and The Drifters. The Empire is the largest theatre in the northeast and often includes sizable West End productions. One of the largest events in the city is the Sunderland International Airshow, the largest free airshow in Europe attended by over one million people every year. Among the sites around Sunderland, Hylton Castle is probably the most popular, a gothic style castle located in the North Hylton area of the city. The nearby beaches of Roker and Seaburn are considered some of the best in the north of England and are popular with visitors. But it is the city’s nightlife that is one of its biggest strengths, and Sunderland was recently voted as one of the best nights out in Britain. Many revelers visit ‘the Circuit’ an area of the city which includes 9 clubs and 65 bars all within a few minutes walk of each other.
Sunderland station serves the city, but is currently undergoing a sizable restoration to make it more aesthetically pleasing. The station serves Newcastle, Hartlepool, Stockton and Middlesborough as well as Hexham and Carlisle. And in 2006 a new service was added from Sunderland to London Kings Cross via York. The city itself is served by the Tyne and Wear Metro which runs five trains per hour serving nearby Newcastle as well as South Hylton and both campuses of the University of Sunderland. Sunderland also has a well-used bus service and in 1999 opened the transport interchange at Park Lane which has become the busiest in the country after Victoria Coach Station in London. Cycling has also become more popular in the city and there are a number of cycling routes in and around Sunderland.
Office space to rent in Sunderland
The office market in Sunderland is supply-led and quite dependant on investment from the public sector. There is a shortage of Grade A office space in the city centre, with much of the area’s office space to be found in the city’s outlying business and technology parks such as Doxford International. Work has recently started on the Rainton Bridge Business Park, intended as a rival to Doxford, which will supply an added 80,000 square feet of office space once completed.