The Forgotten Market?

With London and the main regional cities grabbing most of the headlines, it is often forgotten that the UK’s business parks also account for a large slice of office relocation activity.

GVA Bilfinger’s 2015 Business Park Review highlights that a total of 2.3 million sq ft of take-up was recorded on UK business parks during the first half of 2015. This infers that in a full year, as much as 5m sq ft of office deals are concluded, which would make business parks as important an office market as the City of London.

Research by Metropolis indicates nearly 200 business park office moves or requirements planned for 2016, with a further 60 lined up for 2017.

In the Midlands 460,000 sq ft of 2015 transactions included significant lettings at Birmingham Business Park to VM Housing for 27,100 sq ft and Changan Automotive for 24,800 sq ft. Worldwide Clinical Trials, the pharmaceutical research company, signed for 26,000 sq ft at Beeston Business Park.

In the North East, over 470,000 sq ft of deals included: Andrew James International taking 72,000 sq ft at Lighthouse View Business Park . At nearby Spectrum Business Park, Great Annual Savings Company Limited took 13,279 sq ft and Durham Housing group took 13,953 sq ft.

In the North West, AMEC took 27,247 sq ft at Washington House at Birchwood Park and Swiss agricultural business Syngenta is taking 33,000 sq ft at The Towers, Didsbury.

In Scotland, Amey Utility and Black & Veatch took space at Buchanan Gate Business Park at Strathclyde Business Park, while Advance Construction purchased Radstock House, taking 18,000 sq ft.

In the South West, NGA Human Resources and Aqualogy both took 10,000 sq ft at Aztec West Business Park in Bristol; Sword Apak, took 20,000 sq ft at Nibley Court on Westerleigh Business Park in Yate and EE and Northgate took further space at Aztec West.

In the South East a key deal was the 100,000 sq ft letting of the Leonardo building at Manor Royal Business Park to Virgin Atlantic Holdings. Sita UK took 29,100 sq ft at CSC’s Royal Pavilion, Aldershot; BTG took 15,993 sq ft at Lakeview on SEGRO’s Watchmoor Park, Camberley. Meanwhile, Gilead took 97,000 sq ft at 2 Roundwood Avenue, Stockley Park, and 10,700 sq ft went to Alexion Pharma at 3 Furzeground Way, Stockley Park.

Business park construction activity is around 1.7m sq ft. However completions during early 2015 amounted to 730,000 sq ft, which is the highest level since December 2009. Current projects include the 140,000 sq ft refurbishment of The Bower, 4 Roundwood Avenue, Stockley Park; 36,400 sq ft at Walnut Tree Park in Guildford and at Farnborough Business Park, 108,200 sq ft of speculative office space is nearing completion.

Metropolis is currently monitoring 208 companies with requirements to relocate to or from office space on UK business parks, from mid 2016 onwards.

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