Nottingham’s Lace Market Still a Hub for Commerce

12th December 2011

More than 150 years after it was the epicenter of Nottingham’s textile industry, the historic Lace Market is still a hub for commerce. JONATHON SEDDON of NG Chartered Surveyors explains why – and how landlords can increase its attraction to prospective tenants

It was created well over a century ago to house Nottingham’s burgeoning lace industry and today, it continues to appeal to businesses – and particularly those that are creative and cutting edge. So just what is the secret of the Lace Market’s success?

It’s just a quarter mile square and in 2011, still brimming with fantastic firms. Characterised by its beautiful red-brick Georgian buildings, quiet streets, iron railings, red phone boxes and Victorian lamps, unless you hit lunch hour, wandering around it can be hard to believe it’s a commercial district.

But while the Lace Market has remained a hive of profit-making activity, the nature of that activity has certainly undergone changes. Originally created as temples to 19th century hard toil, the Lace Market became a focus for leisure – known for its members clubs in the late 80s and 90s, with the Lizard Lounge and Beatroot among its well-known venues.

A perfect example of this re-tasking of purpose is the deconsecrated Unitarian church, High Pavement Chapel, which became a Pitcher & Piano wine bar in the mid 1990s and remains a popular landmark today. In 2000 and beyond, many bars and pubs sprung up, anchored by the smart Lace Market Hotel.

It’s in the last five years that the Lace Market’s reputation as a commercial centre has grown. Having been based in first Weekday Cross and then Stoney Street, NG Chartered Surveyors know very well the allure of the area.

Jonathon Seddon of NG said: “Without doubt, the Lace Market is appealing to young, ambitious companies. Not only is the area a really attractive place to work, close to the city centre, but the traditional buildings – many of which have been divided into smaller areas – appeal to smaller, niche firms.

“Nearly all of the old warehouses that were once run down during the recession years have been cleaned and renovated and have found new uses such as luxury apartments, high-spec offices and academic buildings.

“Large loft spaces became fashionable studio apartments, with a birds’ eye view of the action. But in recent years the trend has turned again, with fewer nightspots and more creative, property and media industry firms.”

In the past few weeks, Sunny Landa of NG has let space in the prestigious former mill building in St Mary’s Gate to Blueprint, the specialist regeneration developer.

John Long, one of the project directors at Blueprint, said they were delighted with their new location. “We liked the fact we were right on the fringe of the city centre, on the doorstep of everything that you need but in a place with character, it’s a very historic area of town.”

John thinks this heritage, combined with up-to-date amenities, is key to why there are so many creatives in the Lace Market. “I think they like the narrative of the history. You have the best of both worlds with that and a functional, modernised workspace. Our office is open plan and everything we could ask for to suit our needs.”

Blueprint isn’t the only property company which NG has helped move into the Lace Market recently. Residential property agency Walton and Allen has taken a five year lease of the ground floor suite of 37 Stoney Street in a deal managed by Jonathon Seddon on behalf of the landlord.

Richard Sutton of NG recently let The Loft at 3 Plumptre Street to SEO company Angel. “The space is simply the most stylish place I have seen in the Lace Market. The photographs say it all. I believe that this is how Lace Market landlords need to sell themselves. This is the sort of thing that landlords in the Lace Market can do to really attract high end tenants.

“The Lace Market has become a vibrant working environment for Nottingham’s more creative companies including architects, advertising agencies, PR companies and designers. It also offers a fantastic range of amenities such as the Lace Market Hotel, Nottingham Contemporary Gallery and a range of bars and restaurants to include the Living Room, Brass Monkey and Piccolino.

“The Loft, with its dark wood and light and airy space is a fantastic example of what is available, and can be done in the Lace Market. I would encourage landlords in the Lace Market to look at ways of providing similar spaces. This is the sort of office which attracts great tenants.”

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