Jason Rockett outlines why he chose to become MD of business park owner, operator, and developer, Potter Space.
I became a great admirer of family run businesses from the day I ‘knocked on’ Kevin McCabe’s door, the owner of Scarborough Property Group. I asked if I could work for his company, on my days off, when I was playing for Scarborough Football Club.
An injury brought it home that football was not a long-term career and, having gained a degree in Urban Land Economics from Sheffield Hallam University, I wanted to put it to good use.
I became the development director in London, responsible for the growth and management of a £350 million+ management portfolio within London, the south of England and Wales.
I then moved to Sheffield United, where as CEO, I initiated the strategy to expand and diversify off-field businesses, including property, to create non-football related income streams. During the credit crunch I co-founded Gentian Development Group, a property development vehicle to source, fund and execute projects from £1m to £10m across industrial, residential, retail, office, and mixed-use schemes in the south of England. During the next ten years we built a £25m portfolio of completed projects with a development pipeline of more than £50m.
After a decade of commuting to London and Winchester from my home in Yorkshire, we opened a northern office closer to my home in Sheffield. It was around this time that I was approached by Potter Space about the managing director role.
The opportunity certainly made me sit up and take notice. Potter Space has so much going for it and it presented me with the perfect opportunity to utilise the property experience and diversity I had acquired.
Potter Space is a family business built up over 55 years by a shrewd, entrepreneurial Yorkshireman, Derrick Potter. From driving a single grain truck, he evolved and built a phenomenal business, which recently transformed successfully from an award-winning logistics company into a national business park owner, operator, and developer. Potter Space has five locations across the UK, comprising more than 250 acres and in excess of £1.6m square feet of commercial space. Over the years, Derrick has maintained a controlled and sensible approach, being careful not to over-stretch the company.
The result is that Potter Space is built on sound financial foundations with excellent cash reserves; an enviable position in today’s market where banks are reluctant to lend, especially to the property sector.
It also has a high occupancy rate, with over 40 different customers, from blue chip to local businesses, across a range of sectors. This provides an excellent income stream, which is carefully managed and reinvested in order to develop and increase the value of the estates, as well as looking after the interests of our customers.
Our business parks are incredibly diverse. All are strategically placed in strong locations serving the south east, the Midlands, north west and north east; with three of them having rail links, namely Ely, Knowsley and Selby.
There is huge potential for the company, with approximately 350,000 square feet of planned consented development across the estates, and excellent cash reserves. Through sensible development and proactive asset management of the existing property portfolio, we will continue to grow the Potter Space business and build on the success of the last couple of years.
As featured in October’s 2020 Business Insider Yorkshire.