Strong office take-up predicted during 2020

Two New Bailey Square

Manchester city centre enjoyed another strong year of office take-up in 2019, with more than 1.45m sq ft of workspace let across 261 transactions.

While lower than the record figures of 2018, according to the Manchester Office Agents Forum (MOAF), this is still above the five-year average of 1.35m sq ft.

2019 also saw a new record rent of £36.50 psf achieved when JLL acquired the 10th floor at Landmark, which completed at the end of last year.

The figures include some notable transactions, including the latest pre-let at Enterprise City where WPP have committed to 82,000 sq ft at the Globe & Simpson building and at 2 New Bailey Square, which performed exceptionally well, attracting Eversheds Sutherland and BLM to 47,465 sq ft and 70,782 sq ft, respectively.

The managed workspace market remained active, with Spaces’ acquisition of the 121,000 sq ft, 125 Deansgate the largest deal concluded in the city centre last year.

Other operators to commit to workspace in the city include WeWork at Hyphen (51,000 sq ft), Huckletree (25,800 sq ft) at the Express Building in Ancoats and Regus (26,350 sq ft) at St James’s Tower.

MOAF is predicting strong take-up in 2020, with a number of high-profile transactions due to complete in the first half of the year.

Outside the city centre, Salford Quays and Old Trafford performed strongly with 102 transactions totalling 292,071 sq ft.

Meanwhile, South Manchester saw 253 transactions, totalling 594,490 sq ft.

The largest transactions being the pre-let of 62,000 sq ft to Portswigger at Booths Park, Knutsford and the 61,000 sq ft acquisition of Dovecote, Sale by Verastar.

Other notable transactions included BASF committing to 21,434 sq ft in Muse/Stockport Council’s new development 2 Stockport Exchange, and Dow Chemical taking a pre-let of 24,715 at Cheadle Royal.

Richard Lace, OBI and Rob Yates, Cushman & Wakefield, joint representatives for MOAF, said: “Manchester’s office market continued to perform robustly, despite the political uncertainty and a diminishing lack of readily-available Grade A supply.

“As we move in to 2020, with a strong supply of new development delivering high-quality workspace to the market and a more stable economic backdrop, we expect a strong start to the year with a number of high-profile transactions in the pipeline.”

They added: “In totality, the out-of-town markets MOAF monitor, South Manchester, Salford Quays and Warrington transacted a total of 1,199,248 sq ft in 445 transaction demonstrating the vast extent and depth of the Greater Manchester office market.”

MOAF is made up of Avison Young, BE Group, CBRE, Colliers International, Canning O’Neill, Cushman and Wakefield, Edwards and Co, GVA, Hallam Property Consultants, JLL, Knight Frank, LSH, Matthews & Goodman, OBI, Savills, Sixteen and TSG Property Consultants.

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