Thames Valley growing

Recent research by CBRE concluded that 900,000 sq ft of office deals were signed in the Thames Valley in the last months of 2014. The total for the whole year was 1.7m sq ft of office transactions. The consensus view is that a lot of deals that could have been done, have been delayed. A number of large requirements are now likely to be satisfied in 2015 and agents forecast over 2m sq ft of deals this year.

Deals that did complete in 2014 included: PepsiCo taking 104,870 sq ft at 450 South Oak Way, Green Park, Reading. IMG acquired 72,250 sq ft at Building 6, Chiswick, VM Ware taking 63,000 sq ft in Staines, whilst Gilead Sciences took 51,132 sq ft on Stockley Park, to add to the 47,000 sq ft it occupies in the adjoining building. Philip Morris & Co. took the remaining 34,230 sq ft at 10 Hammersmith Grove, London, W6 and the Highways Agency took 38,000 sq ft in Guildford. Recent 2015 moves listed on Metropolis include Capita in Reading, Oxford Policy Management and Isis Innovation.

Live requirements include Discovery Communications looking for 150,000 sq ft, Universal has a 100,000 sq ft requirement in West London and UCB Pharma is shortlisting for a 200,000 sq ft search in the M4 corridor. In addition, Maersk and Acenden are under offer on offices along the Thames Valley. In total it is calculated that there are over 4m sq ft of live office requirements for towns in the M4 corridor.

There are a number of speculative office schemes under construction including four in Reading, together with schemes at Chiswick Park, Hammersmith, Farnborough, Slough and Leatherhead.

Future growth is expected in advance of the completion of Crossrail in 2018, especially Slough and Maidenhead which will have stations, but also centres such as Reading, Bracknell and Basingstoke, as businesses position themselves to appeal to high calibre staff. In addition, with central London office rents rising faster than outside London the Thames Valley is starting to see some cost-driven relocations.

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