INFRASTRUCTURE plays a hugely important role in the economic development of the best business park locations in the North-east. But what gives them the edge and makes them stand apart from the rest to be attractive to existing and new occupiers, whether they are large multi-nationals or small innovative start-up or growing businesses? Achieving the right blend Of course, occupiers come in all shapes and sizes, but they have all got one thing in common. They are all trying to achieve the right blend of high quality premises, adaptable floor plates, along with flexible and cost-effective lease terms. In addition, many may be seeking central services to help with business administration and car parking for employees. An attractive and sustainable environment is becoming increasingly important for discerning occupiers, with landlords paying more attention to features like landscaping, paths, and cycle tracks, in order to make the location more appealing for the people who work there. Transport connectivity Transport connectivity continues to play an important role, particularly around Aberdeen and the North-east. The long-awaited Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR) will bring substantial connectivity benefits to business locations across the entire region. It is likely to provide a boost to the North-east economy, with figures of around £6billion being quoted by the Scottish Government. Locations with good links to the AWPR are likely to prove popular with future occupiers seeking to achieve the best connectivity they possibly can. Smaller infrastructure projects are also bringing benefits - the new third Don crossing has opened up communication routes and reduced congestion and journey times, particularly around the Bridge of Don area. Power up Aberdeen However, the most important business consideration these days is the ability to harness high-speed internet capacity to optimise profitability and competitiveness. This high-speed connectivity is happening now, right here in the North-east, with Aberdeen being Scotland’s first Gigabit City. Construction started in March 2015 and now 18 months later, there is a 50km network spanning the city centre and key business locations, bringing a major digital upgrade to the North-east economy. The network will continue to expand to 90km and beyond over the next year. CityFibre has just installed new fibre broadband infrastructure at Aberdeen Energy Park, making the park one of the first locations in Aberdeen to have this high speed capability of up to 1 gigabit. Gigabit high-speed connectivity opens up a whole raft of leading-edge software and applications that could bring enormous business benefits. Occupiers are now expecting excellent broadband capabilities and connectivity - it is becoming a pre-requisite business requirement, and locations that can offer it will undoubtedly become more marketable to existing and future occupiers. Having future-proofed its IT infrastructure, Aberdeen can proudly boast itself as one of the best connected cities in the country, and importantly, ready to meet the growing technological needs of future generation of business occupiers. This, along with all the other infrastructure projects, will help the best locations grow and prosper.