Opportunities in Serviced Offices

Colliers International has published a new report on the serviced or flexible workspace sector. Colliers outline how the workplace solutions providers have been hoovering up office space in London at a faster rate than any other sector apart from tech and media.

Flexible office providers have accounted for 18% of take-up across London during 2017 date. Central London is now home to over 7.8 million sq ft of flexible workspace from 4.5 million sq ft in 2009. This is a rise of 73% in eight years, although flexible workspace space currently only represents 4% of total London office stock.

2017 is set to deliver up to 15,000 desks by year end. Serviced office lettings appeared to have peaked at 1.4 million sq ft in 2015, however, 2017 is set to see that figure eclipsed with 1.2 million already let and a further 750,000 sq ft under offer.

WeWork has taken over 1.25 million sq ft of office space within the past 12 months. Blackstone and British Land have both begun in-house flexibile solution without leasing space to major providers like WeWork or Regus.

Paddington and City fringe, have seen increasing vacancy rates below 5,000 sq ft, and Victoria and parts of Midtown have seen void periods double in 2017. The City core has held up, but also seen activity from providers such as WeWork, Prospect Business Centres, i2, Regus and LEO.

Metropolis has researched nearly 20 specific requirements for medium/large London serviced offices in recent months. These new searches come on top of 25 recent transactions for space. Opportunities exist for agents recruiting occupiers for the large new flexible work centres, for fit-out contractors refurbishing usually previously vacant space, for furniture providers and removal firms handling the myriad moves to the new buildings.

Colliers say the need for short leases and flexible space, particularly since the Brexit vote, is driving demand for increasing volumes of flexible workspace space. Although, flexible workspace only represents 4% of London office stock, it looks set to become an important slice of the market, not just in London, but increasingly in regional cities too.

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Central London Lettings – August 2017

Central London office lettings in August 2017 reached an exceptional 1.57m sq ft of deals from 58 mid-large size transactions (5,000 sq ft+) during the month. The August figure exceeds the current monthly average of just under 1m sq ft .

August was characterised by 13 office deals over 20,000 sq ft, which included Deutsche Bank’s 470,000 sq ft pre-let at 21 Moorfields, EC2: WeWork’s two pre-lets at The Stage, EC2 and the nearby ‘Shoreditch Exchange’; Kings College London took 73,000 sq ft at Roman Wall House, EC3, and Atos took 42,000 sq ft at Mid City Place, WC1.

Financial services topped the table of lettings by sector, underpinned by the Deutsche Bank deal. This was followed by business services with large deals involvingWeWork. IT services also performed well, helped by the lettings to OpenText and Kobalt. Office deals ‘under offer’ in central London held steady at 3.5m sq ft and pending deal volumes are healthy in nearly all sub-markets.

By area, the City accounted for 68pc of the office floorspace let in August at 1,066,000 sq ft. The West End saw 233,000 sq ft of take-up. Midtown contributed 145,000 sq ft of lettings. Current London office demand is calculated to be around 3.3m sq ft in the City and 2.9m sq ft in the West End.

The volume of grade A (newly built or refurbished office space) let during the month reached 1.2m sq ft (77% of the monthly total), as transactions for new space resumed their recent strong showing.

Metropolis research is currently monitoring 600 London requirements, with deals for space of up to 2.5m sq ft due to sign in the next few months.

Cityoffices and Metropolis are working on an autumn 2017 update to their twice yearly London Skyline report. The update will contain details of dozens of new office schemes under construction, planning applications and consents, with scheme by scheme detail on the Cityoffices.net website. Details on Cityoffices from Andy King at andy@metroinfo.co.uk

Future Office Demand in Cambridge

Savills has just published a report on the Cambridge market. It reveals that 262,000 sq ft of office and laboratory space was let in the first half of 2017. This includes major deals to Amazon, Heptares and Astex Pharmaceuticals.

Metropolis has recently reported on 30 major planned relocations in Cambridge, including PWC’s pre-let at Station Square, CIE’s huge relocation and a consolidation by Citrix. The Maurice Wilkes headquarters building has a further floor under offer.

In recent years, annual office and laboratory space take-up has reached 620,000 sq ft. Demand is being driven by inward investing and expanding global R&D businesses. With an additional 2,200 office- and laboratory-based jobs forecast over the next five years, some 300,000 sq ft of additional office space is required.

Cambridge’s ability to attract multinational office and lab occupiers in recent years has allowed it to compete with other global cities as a biosciences and pharmaceutical hub.

Recently, £40 million was invested in the cancer treatment firm Bicycle Therapeutics, at Babraham. Of the 10 largest biotech companies in Boston, USA, eight have a Cambridge UK presence.

Savills say that over the next three years, around two million sq ft of office and laboratory developments will be delivered in the Cambridge market. However, only 385,000 sq ft of this is speculative, with the majority lined up for local occupiers. The bulk of speculative space is scheduled to deliver during 2019.

Biomed Realty is developing 108,000 sq ft of speculative grow-on space at Babraham, set to complete during 2019, while more space is also planned at Granta Park. The Bradfield Centre, currently under construction in Cambridge Science Park, will provide 40,000 sq ft of space.

The outlook for the Cambridge office market appears to be continued expansion. Recent announcements and requirements tracked by Metropolis have included growth by the likes of AstraZeneca, Abcam, ARM, Open Cloud, Cambridge Epigenetix, Jellycat, Marshall Aerospace,  CyanConnode and Burall InfoSmart.

Office Relocations Planned in August

Metropolis ran 645 business leads on ‘office movers’ in the month of August 2017. 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 284 leads during month, but there were also strong showings from the South East (62), North West (62), Yorkshire (49) and Scotland (42). IT services, professional and financial were the largest business sectors planning relocations or agreeing moves during the month.

The business leads covered the whole UK and provided details of the size of the office occupier, its 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 580 July leads, included those on Deutsche Bank, EBRD, Medicines and Healthcare Agency and TK Maxx.

The August 2017 leads included 214 ‘identified requirements’. Which means that the company confirmed to researchers that it has current or future plans to search for alternative office space. Of these 214 searches, 130 were new office searches, not previously notified to clients.

The most recent research also included 161 ‘potential movers’ which were mainly longer-term leads on occupiers, considering a relocation, but have yet to make a final decision on whether to search.

Most of the remaining stories covered companies that have 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.

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

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Cityoffices.net, the sister property leads service to Metropolis, saw a further 25 stories posted in August, covering new development opportunities planning applications, consents, construction starts and development teams in London and major cities. The database now covers over 200 office schemes in the pipeline for construction starts in 2017-2020.

For more information on Cityoffices, email Andy at andy@metroinfo.co.uk

Central London Lettings – July 2017

Central London office lettings in July 2017 sustained a healthy 820,000 sq ft of deals from 48 mid-large size transactions (5,000 sq ft+) during the month. The July figure is close to the current monthly average of just under 1m sq ft .

July was characterised by 14 office deals over 20,000 sq ft, which included Spotify’s 104,000 sq ft deal at the Adelphi Building, WC2: law firm Withers pre-let 60,000 sq ft at 20 Old Bailey, EC4; Yahoo/AOL took 43,000 sq ft at Mid City Place, WC1 and HSBC pre-let 36,000 sq ft at 7 Cork Street in W1.

IT and tech services topped the table of lettings by sector, underpinned by the Spotify and Yahoo deals. This was followed by professional services with large deals involving Withers and Bazalgette Tunnel. Financial services also performed well, helped by the lettings to HSBC and Redington. Office deals ‘under offer’ in central London held steady at 3.4m sq ft and pending deal volumes are healthy in nearly all sub-markets.

By area, the City accounted for 31pc of the office floorspace let in July at 250,000 sq ft. The West End saw 177,000 sq ft of take-up. Midtown contributed 300,000 sq ft of lettings. Current London office demand is calculated to be around 3.2m sq ft in the City and 3m sq ft in the West End.

The volume of grade A (newly built or refurbished office space) let during the month reached 480,000 sq ft (58% of the monthly total), as transactions for new space resumed their recent strong showing.

Metropolis research is currently monitoring 600 London requirements, with deals for space of up to 3m sq ft due to sign in the next few months.

Cityoffices and Metropolis have just released releasing their twice yearly Skyline report on the London office construction market. The summer report features analysis of the 100 schemes under construction and the trends for the next wave of schemes. Details on Cityoffices from Andy King at andy@metroinfo.co.uk

Patchy Leeds Demand

Demand for office space in Leeds for the first half of 2017 remains similar to the 12 months that preceded it, but trailed the five year average by 18 per cent, according to new research.

The CBRE Leeds office marketview report found that office take-up in the city was 237,165 sq ft in the first six months of 2017.

There were three lettings over 20,000 sq ft; a 46,058 sq ft letting to Burberry at 6 Queen Street, 25,968 sq ft to Willis Towers Watson at 5 Wellington Place and 22,441 sq ft to BW Legal at 1 Apex View.

The majority of take-up in the city was in the sub 5,000 sq ft size band.

Despite the lower level of enquiries in all size ranges, annual take-up is still likely to be a record for Leeds city centre if the pre-let of 350,000 – 380,000 sq ft at Wellington Place to the Government Property Unit goes ahead.

Looking to the second half of the year, demand is expected to be patchy for at least another quarter.

Metropolis has run nearly 40 new requirements for Leeds office space this year, however most searches are small.

3 Wellington Place (109,000 sq ft) is the only new development completing within the next 12 months. Refurbishments available this year, include ‘Platform’ (120,000 sq ft) and 7 Park Row (40,000 sq ft),
which will help the dwindling Grade A market.

Manchester’s Top Future Relocations

Lambert Smith Hampton has just released its Manchester office market report for Q2 2017. City centre office take-up for reached 284,497 sq ft across 68 transactions, a 23.3% increase on the same quarter in 2016. The cumulative 492,730 sq ft for the first half of 2017 is an increase of 14.6% on 2016.

The latest big relocations, movers and inward investments included: co-working giant We Work taking 55,802 sq ft offices at No.1 Spinningfields. Weightmans took 17,949 sq ft at the same building. EY is taking 40,000 sq ft at 2 St Peters Square; Car Finance 247 is relocating to 40,000 sq ft at Universal Building, Devonshire Street North; Distrelec is taking 17,000 sq ft at 2 St Peter’s Square, while Vodafone signed for 33,000 sq ft at Atlantic House.  Lookers acquired the 21,000 sq ft Aspect House in Altrincham,  21,200 sq ft was let at Regent Place, Salford to Convergys and Kaplan Financial also agreed a 10,000 sq ft move. Deals under 3,000 sq ft still accounted for 40% of take up

LSH secured the largest office deal this year outside of the city centre by acquiring 47,149 sq ft at 106 Dalton Avenue at Patrizia UK’s Birchwood Park, Warrington for Cavendish Nuclear. Business Services, consumer services and leisure and banking and finance have been the strongest sectors for take-up in the first half of the year. These three sectors accounted for 34%, 20% and 18% of take-up respectively

Metropolis is monitoring around 50 current office requirements in Manchester and around 60 ‘potential movers’, that is companies approaching lease expiries or with expansion plans, which have not decided whether to move yet.

Looking ahead, Manchester is expected to see faster office based employment growth over the next five years than Greater London and all of the major UK regional cities. Office based employment is
expected to grow by 6% over the next five years, significantly above the UK average of 3.5%.