What Is It About Portsmouth? With Tristan Samuels

23 Mar 2022
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What Is It About Portsmouth? With Tristan Samuels

What Is It About Portsmouth? With Tristan Samuels

Nella is joined by Tristan Samuels, Director of Regeneration at Portsmouth City Council for the 7th episode of Let’s Talk South Coast. They discuss what developments and opportunities are happening in Portsmouth, why investors should consider Portsmouth, and the Portsmouth carbon budget. The important takeaway from this episode is that Portsmouth City Council is heavily focused on bringing forward a very ambitious, sustainable future.

Key Insights From This Episode: 

  • The Shaping Portsmouth’s mission statement; Transforming Portsmouth Together. – Nella
  • Portsmouth is world class and unique, it is the only island city in the UK with a rich cultural heritage. – Tristan
  • From 75% of Portsmouth, you can get to the city centre within 15 minutes. – Tristan
  • When investing in Portsmouth, you are not just buying into Portsmouth, you are buying into a world-class region. – Tristan 
  • Portsmouth was ranked as the second coolest place to live. – Nella
  • Portsmouth City Council is heavily focused on bringing forward a very ambitious,  sustainable future. They will be the first council in the Southeast to have a carbon budget addressing the climate pressures. – Nella
  • Portsmouth declared a climate emergency in 2019 and committed to being carbon neutral by 2030. – Tristan
  • The evolution of the high street is a national issue. – Tristan 
  • Gunwharf Quays remain the second highest performing outlet village in the country and they are top five in Europe. You’ve got people who travel there from about two and a half hours away just to come down for a day of shopping or have a meal. It is a real destination. – Tristan

About Our Guests:

Tristan Samuels, Director of Regeneration at Portsmouth City Council. Tristan is an experienced chartered surveyor with a background of senior positions in both the public and private sectors.

His position as director of Regeneration at Portsmouth City Council is his second local authority role following nearly ten years as head of development, growth, planning and housing at Westminster City Council where he developed a pipeline of regeneration and commercial property projects with a GDV of circa £3bn.

While at Westminster Tristan was also invited to serve on the boards of two housing associations: the Dolphin Square Foundation, which focused on the delivery of key worker homes for people who lived and worked in Westminster; and Westminster Community Homes, the council’s housing charity which developed and held social and key worker housing to support the council’s regeneration ambitions.

Tristan’s most recent private sector experience came in his roles as technical director at Macob Properties, developing property in and around London, and as a senior project manager at Vinci Construction PLC, delivering larger complex projects including PFI schools, MoD works at RAF Northolt and central London offices in Smithfield Street market.

Tristan grew up in South Africa and will have lived in the UK for 20 years this July. He currently lives in Woking with his wife and two children.


[01:20] What have been your major successes since your appointment?

  • In the region we cover property investments, major development, planning, economic growth, skills, employment, transport infrastructure, and obviously business support. 
  • We’ve got around a quarter of a billion pounds worth of a grant for our sea defences.
  • We’ve been successful with a hundred million pounds worth of transport infrastructure grants. 
  • Lakeside and Dunsbury Park.
  • Freeports with a tax site and customs site. 

[05:15] Can you share more on the developments and opportunities that are happening in Portsmouth?

  • City centre redevelopments and regeneration opportunities with 5000-6000 new homes. 
  • Delancey sold us their assets so we’re now in control of things like the Tricorn.
  • A real focus on build to rent.

[08:45] Why do you think investors and occupiers should consider Portsmouth as a place to invest?

  • I would tell any investor that they need to come and see Portsmouth because it is world-class. 
  • Portsmouth has 500 years of Naval history and a commitment to aircraft carriers for 50 years. 
  • 85% of the island is flat, it is accessible. 
  • You are always close to nature, two high performing universities, naval presence which opens trade and the growing cruise market. 

[12:40] What is the strategy to best attract inward investment and take advantage of the tax initiatives that will be available in the Solent Freeport? 

  • We’ve got a custom site and the international port and Dunsbury Park is the tax site, which has been laid before parliament. 
  • Tax sites give a couple of benefits; enhanced capital allowances, enhanced structures  building allowance, stamp duty relief, employers national insurance contributions and business rate relief.
  • The maritime industry, the location of the Solent and those trade routes are going to make a different Freeport.

[15:00] How much are you quoting for Dunsbury Park? 

  • In terms are headline rent, £10.5 per square foot. 

[16:00] Portsmouth City Council is heavily focused on bringing forward a very ambitious, sustainable future. They will be the first council in the Southeast to have a carbon budget addressing the climate pressures. Can you tell us more about those plans? 

  • Portsmouth declared a climate emergency in 2019 and committed to being carbon neutral by 2030. 
  • We’re following a model that the LGA has suggested for producing the carbon budget.
  • We need to identify the areas that are carbon positive and identify what we’re going to do about it and then we need to focus on the areas that we’re going to be most effective.
  • The international ports pledged to be the first green maritime port. 

[18:55] How do you adapt to the ever evolving trends of online shopping and how does the high street change with it?

  • Rediscover Portsmouth is about supporting local businesses, it provides deals for people who are looking for specific services, meals, coffees, whatever, and promotes people to get out and spend money locally. 
  • The evolution of the high street is a national issue.
  • Gunwharf Quays has been resilient to it all. 
  • I describe our high street as transitioning. 
  • As a council we were one of four local authorities that were successful with future high street grant. 

[23:05] You mentioned Lakeside, which is one of Portsmouth City Council’s largest commercial assets, this has resulted in a number of occupiers relocating out of the town centre to the outskirts. What is the plan to encourage more offices back into the city centre?

  • We’ve had 11 new occupiers on the campus.
  • It needs to be more dependent on public transport, smaller footprint and greener buildings.

[24:50] Have you thought about partnering with co-working spaces or service operators that offer more than just an office? 

  • WeWork and what they promote is fantastic. 
  • As a council, we need to assess the market and come up with a solution. 

[26:10] What is the one thing that you would like to have to support the growth and to help you on your mission? 

  • Land banking is a national problem. Developers aren’t incentivised to deliver any more than they can sell and they aren’t incentivised to deliver to build anything when the market doesn’t support them. 
  • Developers should take risks. 
  • The city would be more successful with a stronger private sector involvement. 

[28:30] Quick-Fire Questions 

1.Who are the movers and shakers of our region? 

    • Shaping Portsmouth
    • Stef Nienaltowski
    • Mark Pendleton

2. What is the best thing you would say about living on the South Coast?

      • The water and the outdoors. 

3. What is your favourite mantra to live by? 

    • Look for the opportunity in every situation. 
    • When a door closes, another door opens. 


Companies Mentioned:

Shout Outs:

About Our Host

Nella Pang

I left the corporate world in 2020 and launched Omega RE a commercial advisory firm in a pandemic, whilst on maternity. Brave some people would say. 🚀

The pandemic has taught many of us a thing or two, particularly on how we can do business. I support businesses to navigate the complexities of Commercial Real Estate, so they can achieve their business objectives through their Real Estate decisions.

Lease negotiations can be a minefield. Even small mistakes can drive up costs. That’s why I will represent your interests every step of the way, ensuring you receive full value of our experience and market knowledge.

With over 18 years’ experience in the Commercial Property Market having worked for the big corporates Jones Lang LaSalle Limited, BNP Paribas Real Estate and Vail Williams.

I want to be able to share my corporate knowledge with my clients, whilst offering a more personal dedicated commercial advisory service.

Having acted for a wide range of clients from major pension funds to private investors, small businesses and individuals. I love meeting people and I am passionate about adding value to my clients business and watching their business thrive.

About Omega RE

Omega RE is commercial property advisory firm based on the South Coast. Providing expert advice to Landlords, Occupiers in the industrial, office and retail markets.

Omega RE is always thinking ‘Outside the Box’ in our advice to clients and the way we do business. We don’t settle for mediocre, we challenge the norm and are dedicated to finding solutions that is best for our clients.

We are a people business, based on strong relationships and partnerships, and we offer a personal level of service.

As the market evolves, we will too adapt to be successful and want the same for our clients. We are committed to finding innovative ways of marketing and how to do things more efficiently.

We will never stagnate.

We are disciplined in everything we do, we take time to understand the situation and set a bespoke strategy for each client. Not one size fits all. We do not cut corners or take short cuts and our integrity is undisputed.

Providing clients’ a hands on approach to finding the perfect property; office, industrial, warehouse or retail space to meet business needs and negotiating the best commercial lease terms, is what we do best.

We come to work because we’re passionate about providing expert, innovative, independent advice to clients. We want to help businesses navigate the complexities of Commercial Real Estate.

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