Edinburgh’s Strong 2nd Quarter

Recent research by CBRE Scotland has pointed to a strong second quarter for Edinburgh’s office market, after a slow start to the year. Figures show a Q2 take-up of 351,916 sq ft of take-up – a 150% increase in take-up from Q1 2018, bringing office take-up in the first half of 2018 in Edinburgh to just under half a million sq ft (491,885 sq ft).

The recently announced pre-let to asset management firm Baillie Gifford taking over 60,000 sq ft at the newly developed Mint Building in St Andrew Square was possibly the stand out deal of the quarter, followed by other large lettings including 43,801 sq ft at 11-12 Lochside Place to Diageo and 14,832 sq ft at Atria One to EDP Renewables. The largest deal of the quarter was Edinburgh Palette (a workspace facility) occupying 109,153 sq ft of space at 525 Ferry Road, albeit on a short-term lease.

Metropolis is tracking around 40 occupiers searching for office space in Edinburgh. In general, tenant demand is considered to be buoyant, with a number of existing occupiers approaching lease expiries and seeking to relocate.

Meanwhile in the mid size range: The Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) took 16,568 sq ft of out of town space at Bridgeside House, a Smart development at MacDonald Road, while Instant Offices, the serviced office provider, took 2,230 sq m (24,000 sq ft) of offices at the Cornerstone Building in South Gyle.

Total Edinburgh office supply remains at a low level at 923,540 sq ft, with 225,231 sq ft for city centre Grade A space. This represents a 30% decrease on the available space from the same period in 2017. The next scheme to complete is 2 Semple Street in Edinburgh city centre, which is due to be ready for occupation at the end of July 2018,  providing 38,648 sq ft of Grade A office accommodation across six floors.

CBRE say that there continues to be a number of larger, unsatisfied requirements for Edinburgh city centre.

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London Office Lettings in May 2018

Central London office lettings in May 2018 reached over 1.3m sq ft from 45 mid-large size office transactions (5,000 sq ft+) during the month. The May 2018 figure is above the current monthly London average of 1m sq ft.

May was characterised by 14 office deals over 20,000 sq ft, which were led by the Chinesse Embassy’s deal to take Royal Mint in EC3; The Office Group’s 83,000 sq ft letting at One Canada Square, E14 and Epiris Advisers’ 59,000 sq ft at The Forum in Gutter Lane, EC2.

Public Services topped the table of lettings by sector, underpinned by Chinese Embassy deal. This was followed by business services led by a number of lettings by serviced office operators. Financial services, technology and media were also well represented. Office deals ‘under offer’ in central London increased to 3.4m sq ft, and pending deal volumes are healthy in nearly all sub-markets, with a large number of deals pending.

By area, the City accounted for 70pc of the office floorspace let in April 2018 at 912,,000 sq ft. The West End saw 209,000 sq ft of take-up. Midtown contributed 57,000 sq ft of lettings, plus 83,000 sq ft of Docklands deals. Current London office demand is calculated to be around 3.2m sq ft in the City and 2.6m sq ft in the West End.

The volume of grade A (newly built or refurbished office space) let during the month reached 1m sq ft sq ft (77% of the monthly total), as transactions for new space resumed their recent strong showing. Availability is dominated by secondhand space in all London markets.

Metropolis research is currently monitoring 640 ‘live’ London requirements, with deals for space of up to 1.8m sq ft due to sign in the next few months.

Cityoffices is working on its current ‘Skyline Survey’ in London. Further details of office scheme planning applications and consents, with scheme by scheme detail are listed on the Cityoffices.net website. Details on the report and the Cityoffices database from Andy King at andy@metroinfo.co.uk

Metropolis Law Sector Report 2018

Initial findings from the 2018 Metropolis report on office relocation in the UK Law sector revealed that 360 legal sector firms were involved in office property decisions in the year to end 2018.

The survey also found that over 7m sq ft of office space was transacted or required by occupiers searching for alternative space over the last year by law sector firms.

The report found over 120 firms searching for space that were interviewed by Metropolis researchers. Over a half of requirements were prompted by upcoming lease expiries, backed by expansions, mergers and restructuring.

The biggest law sector office deals in London involved leases signed for HQ relocations by Freshfields, DLA Piper, Sidley Austin and Minster Law.

Outside of London, Clyde & Co had the biggest office transaction, with a deal to occupy 69,000 sq ft in the Royal Exchange, Manchester. Simmons & Simmons signed a 12-year lease to occupy the top two floors (27,000 sq ft) of the Aurora building in Finzels Reach, Bristol, from January. Hogan Lovells will take over the eighth floor (23,388 sq ft) of The Colmore Building in Birmingham’s business district, where it currently occupies 7,620 sq ft on the tenth floor.

Leeds will house a relocation by Walker Morris, which announced that its 500 staff, who are currently split across two buildings in King Street, will relocate to a flagship office in 33 Wellington Street next summer. The building, in the city’s business district, is currently undergoing a comprehensive £10m refurbishment.

In a sign of things to come, Knight Frank points out that magic circle firm Allen & Overy has developed its Fuse incubator in its London headquarters while Mishcon De Reya has created MDR Lab – its programme for tech start-ups in the legal sphere – in its London office.

Pre-lets on the rise

JLL’s recent London office report reveals that London office take-up reached 2.4 million sq ft in Q1 (Metropolis registered 3m sq ft), lower than the quarterly average but ahead of both the equivalent period in 2017 and the 10 year average for the first quarter.

JLL say that The West End was the strongest performing market, with take-up reaching 932,000 sq ft, the strongest Q1 for three years. City leasing volumes were robust at 1.3 million sq ft, marginally ahead of the equivalent period in 2017.

Pre-letting was a major feature of the market, accounting for nearly a third of quarterly take-up. JLL say that this will remain a feature of the market throughout the year with 45% of the 3.5 million sq ft currently under offer.

Metropolis saw around 40% of office space let being accounted for by pre-lets in the first months of 2018.

Across central London development completions have continued to be quickly absorbed, with 70% of quarterly completions pre-leased or let shortly after completion.

In The City, banking and finance sectors were most active with a 28% share of take-up, buoyed by the largest transaction of the quarter, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation Europe’s pre-let of 161,000 sq ft at 100 Liverpool Street, EC2. The service industries and professional services sectors were also prominent, accounting for 27% and 25% of quarterly take-up respectively, including major transactions to Sidley Austin LLP, Charles Taylor and Prudential.

In the West End, The TMT and services sectors had the largest share of quarterly take-up with 33% and 25% respectively. Within the services sector, the majority of take-up (63%) involved flexible office providers indicating that this sector is continuing to expand.

To conclude, JLL say that business sentiment remains robust and employment continues to rise strongly

Metropolis Leads in May 2018

Metropolis ran 557 business leads on ‘office movers’ in May 2018. If all reported moves were added together the total would exceed 17 million sq ft of office searches and transactions, researched by Metropolis’ unique market led intelligence research team. London was the largest region with 245 business leads during month, but there were also strong showings from the South East (71),  North West (45), Yorkshire (39) and Scotland (37) . Business services and financials services were the largest business sectors planning relocations or agreeing moves during the month.

The relocation leads covered the whole UK and provided details of the size of the office occupier, company likely move dates, a description of the reasons for the move, its business sector and full contact details including an address for written inquiries, at least one telephone number and in most cases an email address. Some of the largest planned moves and top picks amongst the 557 May leads, included those on occupiers Chinese embassy, Barclays Bank, Telehouse, Societe Generale and Publicis.

The May 2018 leads included 154 ‘identified requirements’, including 83 in London. Which means that the company confirmed to researchers that it has current or future plans to search for alternative office space. Of these 154 searches, 110 were newly posted office searches, not previously notified to clients.

The most recent research also included 166 ‘potential movers’ which were mainly longer-term leads on occupiers, considering a relocation, but the occupier has yet to make a final decision on whether to search.

Most of the remaining stories covered companies that have just signed for new office space and have set a move date, including some large pre-lets and companies inviting tenders for fit-out contracts. The shortest planned move date is just over a month away, whilst the longest was late 2020.

Recent research by Metropolis concluded that a conservative estimate of ‘live’ business tender opportunities on the database in recent months, exceeded £1bn of business.

If you would like some information on flexible Metropolis subscription packages, then please email Andy at andy@metroinfo.co.uk

Fit-Out Market Review

CBRE has just published its latest 2018 European Fit-Out Cost Review. Amongst its conclusions are:

Nearly three quarters of companies in the region have looked to boost the space efficiency of existing buildings in the past year, according to CBRE’s Occupier Survey. CBRE expect further evolution of workplace strategies and new approaches to flexible working over the coming years.

Trends include: Space designed to foster more effective collaboration (generating ideas and driving innovation); Space with improved environmental qualities (temperature, lighting, décor, etc.), more attention to ‘wellness’ and smarter use of technology.

In terms of furniture, CBRE say careful planning and programming is essential. This usually involves a move consultant working with client to identify and understand the current set-up, to plan for and accommodate activities critical for business continuity, movement of employees, furniture and equipment. The move consultant will implement a comprehensive communications plan.

In terms of removals CBRE estimate costs in central London vary between 24 euros for a basic move (agile working) within a floor to 136 euros per person for a full desk and IT move between buildings.

In terms of Lease reinstatement (also known as‘dilapidations’), CBRE estimate 200-240 euros per square metre in central London.  assuming moderate wear based on a 1,000 sq m office.

In terms of procurement and interior build, CBRE estimate 25-30 weeks for a UK location for a medium specification 1,000 sq m fit-out project.

CBRE also outline the implications of potential tax savings across various EMEA countries, based on a total expenditure of €2,500,000 for a CAT B fit-out.

CBRE estimate that typical fit-out costs for a 1,000 sq m office range from 1,000 euros per sq m for a low budget move to 2,200 euros per sq m for a high budget London move. These costs would include Cat B fit-out, furniture, security, AV, IT, fees and contingency.  These costs would be around 20% cheaper in Manchester or Glasgow.

Metropolis leads provide a stream of notifications on fit-out tendering opportunities and contract awards. It has published 100 such leads in the last 3 months.

London Office Lettings in April 2018

Central London office lettings in April 2018 reached almost 800,000 sq ft from 35 mid-large size transactions (5,000 sq ft+) during the month. The April 2018 figure is broadly in line with the current monthly average of 1m sq ft.

April was characterised by 13 office deals over 20,000 sq ft, which included Berwin Leighton Paisner’s 125,000 sq ft letting at Governor’s House, 5 Laurence Pountney Hill; St James’s Place’s 57,000 sq ft pre-letting at 30 Lombard Street, EC3 and KKR’s pre-let of 57,000 sq ft at 18 Hanover Square, W1.

Professional Services topped the table of lettings by sector, underpinned by BLP and KKR deals. This was followed by business services underpinned by a number of lettings by serviced office operators. Financial services, technology and media were also well represented. Office deals ‘under offer’ in central London increased to 3.6m sq ft, and pending deal volumes are healthy in nearly all sub-markets, with over 25 deals pending.

By area, the City accounted for 54pc of the office floorspace let in April 2018 at 433,000 sq ft. The West End saw 140,000 sq ft of take-up. Midtown contributed 80,000 sq ft of lettings, plus 45,000 sq ft of Docklands deals. Current London office demand is calculated to be around 3.3m sq ft in the City and 2.7m sq ft in the West End.

The volume of grade A (newly built or refurbished office space) let during the month reached 375,000 sq ft (47% of the monthly total), as transactions for new space resumed their recent strong showing. Availability is dominated by secondhand space in all London markets.

Metropolis research is currently monitoring 635 ‘live’ London requirements, with deals for space of up to 1.8m sq ft due to sign in the next few months.

Cityoffices is working on its current ‘Skyline Survey’ in London. Further details of office scheme planning applications and consents, with scheme by scheme detail are listed on the Cityoffices.net website. Details on the report and the Cityoffices database from Andy King at andy@metroinfo.co.uk