Industrial property firm HTA Real Estate appoints leading investment specialist

18th April 2024

North East industrial property firm HTA Real Estate has expanded its team with the strategic appointment of a leading property investment specialist.

Douglas Cranston has joined the Newcastle-based property consultancy as investment director, bringing over 20 years of industry experience following senior roles with firms including MCM Group, Knight Frank and JLL.

At HTA Real Estate, Douglas Cranston will lead the firm’s investment department, handling acquisitions and disposals on behalf of pension funds, property companies and private Individuals. He will also provide strategic asset management advice to property investors to help them enhance portfolio performance. 

According to Cranston, the commercial property investment market is at a turning point and poised for increased levels of activity following a challenging couple of years for the sector.

He said: “Inflation is now at its lowest level since September 2021 and there is an expectation that interest rates have peaked, with some rate cuts potentially on their way before the end of the year. These factors have improved market sentiment and with prices stabilising, after a lengthy period of correction, I expect to see transactional volumes increase through 2024. 

“The disparity in performance across property types is likely to persist in 2024. The priority in a polarised market is to identify those assets from both a sector and asset-quality perspective that will perform and provide the best returns in line with investor requirements.”

HTA was launched in 2013 by directors Nick Atkinson, Simon Hill and Russell Taylor and over the past decade the firm has had a key role in the success of some of the region’s most significant industrial development schemes. 

Since 2013 HTA Real Estate has transacted circa 11.5m sq.ft of industrial space including lettings to Energizer and Tor Coatings at Follingsby Park in Gateshead as well as a 265,000 sq.ft letting to Coveris at Drum Industrial Estate and the sale of the 340-acre former Alcan site in Northumberland.  

The firm is currently marketing new projects at Hillthorn and Turbine Business Parks in Washington and Greenbox Darlington which together are set to deliver over 930,000 sq.ft. of industrial accommodation in the coming years.

Douglas Cranston, who will concentrate primarily on the North East region, but has previously brokered investment deals in Yorkshire, North West, Midlands and Scotland, added: “HTA Real Estate is a market leading commercial property consultancy and I am delighted to be coming on board and building on the firm’s many successes over the past 10 years.”