Manchester offices surge as large deals fall into place

The Manchester office market stepped up a gear in the year’s second quarter, with 284,000 sq ft transacted in the city centre alone according to the latest figures from the Manchester Office Agents Forum.

The Q2 figures represent a 27% increase on the same period in 2016. Following a first quarter that was busy if light on large deals, it means that the first half of 2017 has seen take-up of 492,700 sq ft in the central market, a 17% increase on the first half of 2016.

There were 68 deals in the city centre between April and June, with five transactions of more than 10,000 sq ft including existing city centre occupiers Kaplan Financial and CarFinance247 relocating to Universal Square and law firm Weightmans committing to No. 1 Spinningfields.

No. 1 Spinningfields also secured a 60,000 sq ft deal with co-working specialist WeWork, while another notable inward investment saw Swiss distribution firm Distrelec sign for a floor at 2 St Peter’s Square.

Andrew Rands, associate director at JLL and MOAF spokesman, said: “The letting to WeWork, their first operation in the UK outside of London, and to Distrelec at 2 St Peters Square, their first operation in the UK, are significant statements.

“Looking forward, there are a number of potential larger transactions in the pipeline which suggest total take-up for 2017 will exceed 1m sq ft for the fourth consecutive year.”

South Manchester also enjoyed a fruitful quarter, with 192,000 sq ft let in the quarter, 38% up on Q1. The largest letting was at Pacific House where Vodafone took 33,600 sq ft. In a freehold deal, car dealer Lookers acquired the 21,000 sq ft Aspect House in Altrincham.

The combined Salford Quays and Old Trafford take-up figure was 84,000 sq ft. MOAF said that this reflects diminishing stock levels as buildings continue to be converted for residential use. The largest letting was 21,200 sq ft at Regent Place, Salford to Convergys.

Formed in 2009, MOAF members include, JLL, CBRE, Colliers, Canning O’Neill, Cushman & Wakefield, Edwards & Co, GVA, Hallams, Knight Frank, LSH, Matthews & Goodman, OBI Property, Savills, Sixteen Real Estate, TSG Property Consultants, WHR and BE Group.

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