City centre flexible working space in strong demand

Flexible working space in the centre of Manchester is in strong demand, says diversified real estate investment manager, Barings, and flexible workplace provider Industrious.

They said their Industrious St Peter’s Square flex centre at Landmark Manchester is now 86% occupied less than 18 months after its launch.

The 32,000 sq ft premium flexible workplace, which is operated by Industrious, is located across the ground, second and third floors of Barings’ 180,000 sq ft Landmark development at St Peter’s Square.

Since its launch, the space has attracted high profile occupiers including JPMorgan Chase & Co, HSBC, Nordcloud (part of IBM) and CMC, resulting in high occupancy levels.

Ralph Dorey, managing director UK, at Industrious, said: “Flex space continues to be in strong demand and we’re finding that businesses have much clearer requirements for space and will come to us with exact desk needs and hours of meeting room space per month which is in contrast to previous years when there was more uncertainty.

“Many have a two-year commitment with internal reviews after 12 months and we’re seeing demand polarised with most requirements for either 50-200 desks or at the smaller end of two-10 desks.

“Regardless of the size, though, it’s the perks that all the companies want in terms of the catering and hospitality offering, the events, the wellness programme and exercise facilities, without having to compromise on a central location.”

The benefits offered by the centre have proven so popular that the team has now launched a community membership scheme for occupiers on traditional leases in Landmark, which include Vanguard, Starling Bank, Santander, Xero, RSM, Allianz Insurance, Grant Thornton and JLL, to benefit from the hospitality and wellbeing programme on offer as well as discounts on meeting rooms and conference facilities.

Ian Mayhew, managing director, UK asset management at Barings, said: “The flex centre has always supported Landmark’s traditional occupiers with overflow meeting and coworking space, and the ability to expand into flexible private offices as needed.

“However, the new community membership initiative allows them to benefit from daily breakfast, coffee, tea and snacks, and a weekly calendar of virtual and in-person programming and events, which can be invaluable in the attraction and retention of staff.”

He added: “One of our new occupiers, Santander who have signed a lease for 11 years, is moving to Landmark from another Industrious centre and we know that the community membership offered by Industrious was an important factor in their decision making. It’s also a good example of how the partnership between Barings and Industrious is operating for the benefit of the building as a whole.”

The flex market hasn’t reached saturation according to Dorey: “We’re actively looking for new locations for our flex centres.

“If you have the right building with the ability to deliver the best set up then the demand will be there. As a premium provider of space, one of the key factors for us has always been the detail on aspects such as sound attenuation. This has been critical for organisations such as HSBC UK who require that level of privacy. We have a formula that works and are looking into more partnership agreements to continue to roll out the centres.”

Industrious operates four locations across the U.K. The centre at Landmark offers 23 private offices accommodating one to 300+ people (Industrious Team), multiple conference rooms with the technology to accommodate in-person and hybrid work (Industrious Meet), and coworking spaces for individual workers (Industrious Share).

Private offices come with an array of branding options for occupiers, enterprise-grade technology and customisable layouts. The space also features a cafe, multiple lounge and seating areas, suited for group meetings and collaboration.

In a commitment to providing an engaging workplace experience, in addition to the hospitality and wellbeing programme, members can expect high-speed and secure Wi-Fi, mailing and printing capabilities, on-site support from a dedicated community manager, access to a global network of workspace and more.

Completed in 2020, the 180,000 sq ft Landmark development offers 14 floors of BREEAM Excellent and Wired Score Platinum certified, office space in Manchester city centre.

Leasing agents on Landmark are CBRE, Colliers and JLL.

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