Office agents report uptick in number of city centre deals

Andrew Cooke

According to Manchester Office Agents Forum (MOAF), 28 office deals took place in Manchester city centre in the third quarter of this year, rising from 20 in the second quarter, with the market experiencing an uptick in activity as lockdown came to an end.

The deals resulted in 69,106 sq ft of office take up being recorded in Manchester city centre in quarter three, in comparison with 295,379 sq ft in the same period last year, as the wider economic challenges caused by COVID-19 continue to impact the sector.

This brings total take up for the year to 450,675 sq ft.

September saw 15 deals complete, the highest monthly figure since restrictions came into force in March, although the biggest letting of the quarter took place in August with the Spanish Consulate acquiring 11,001 sq ft at Topland’s The Chancery.

Other notable deals for quarter three include 9,063 sq ft let to Isio at Royal London’s 3 Hardman Street and 5,665 sq ft to Palatine at NFU Mutual Life’s Chancery Place.

Andrew Cooke, associate of the office agency team at Savills Manchester, said: “Despite another challenging quarter we remain positive that take up activity will rebound in 2021.

“Enquiry demand picked up during Q3 and whilst the vast majority of these have been SME’s, we have seen the likes of BT committing to 175,000 sq ft recently at the beginning of Q4, and anticipate seeing other large corporates making decisions on their real estate strategy over the coming months.”

Outside of the city centre, South Manchester continued to feel the effects of the current climate, recording a total take up of 39,9174 sq ft across 42 transactions.

Salford Quays and Old Trafford, however, remained resilient and saw another solid quarter of letting activity following on from its consistent first half performance with a further 45,272 sq ft transacting across quarter three.

Salford Quays also recorded the largest deal of the quarter with global technology company Tech Mahindra taking a substantial 23,580 sq ft at ‘The Vic’, Peel’s latest Grade A refurbished office scheme.

Matt Pickersgill, office advisory at LSH, said on behalf of MOAF: “The pandemic is, of course, continuing to have an effect on the overall performance of the office market, not just in Greater Manchester but also nationally, we are, however, encouraged by the fact we are still seeing commitment from global occupiers such as Tech Mahindra and BT with a number of larger corporate occupiers also still looking to complete on deals before the end of the year.

“This, alongside the continued demand from smaller occupiers across all locations, will hopefully lead to some more momentum as we move into the final part of the year and beyond.”