City centre office market faltered in 2011, say agents

Take-up in the Manchester city centre office market fell last year and also dropped below the 10-year average.

New figures from the Manchester Office Agents Forum show 700,000 sq ft was let in 2011, down from 1.3 million sq ft in 2010, although this figure was buoyed by the pre-let of 325,000 sq ft to the Co-operative Group at Noma.

The biggest letting last year was the 63,000 sq ft pre-let agreed with KPMG at One St Peters Square.

Other major transactions included Aegis taking 35,000 sq ft at City Tower, Linder Myers purchase of 55 Spring Gardens at 47,500 sq ft, and the 25,000 sq ft letting to London School of Business and Finance at Linley House.

Richard Lace, associate at GVA and spokesman for MOAF, said: "Whilst take-up in the city centre is down on the 10-year average figure of circa. 900,000 sq ft, Manchester is showing some resilience against the difficult trading conditions.

"This is illustrated by the pre-let to KPMG which has allowed GMPVF and Argent to kick start the only predominantly speculative development outside of the London region. One St Peters Square will provide Manchester with much needed Grade 'A' supply which is being absorbed at a steady rate.

"Though 2012 will no doubt be another difficult year we are confident that occupier demand will remain steady with significant named requirements in the market on behalf of occupiers including Pannone, BUPA and Aviva."

South Manchester's office take up was 486,000 sq ft, representing an increase on the 2010 figure of 483,000 sq ft.

MOAF said the area surrounding Manchester Airport was particularly active with a number of major transactions including the Shell deal at Concord of 30,500 sq ft, the letting to Simon Carves of 33,000 sq ft at Atlas Business Park and the new 23,000 sq ft Etihad office at MAG's Voyager building.

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