MOAF: Take-up exceeds 1m sq ft in 2021 

Manchester saw a 31% rise in the amount of office space signed for last year, up from 800,000 sq ft in 2020 but down on the 1.45m sq ft recorded in 2019.

Having predicted take-up would exceed 1m sq ft in 2021, Manchester Office Agents Forum expects to see the city creep closer towards the 1.5m sq ft 10-year average in 2022.

There are currently 650,000 sq ft of active requirements in the city, MOAF added. 

The big deals 

There were 10 deals in excess of 20,000 sq ft that drove overall take-up beyond seven figures to 1,052,746 sq ft in 2021.  

These included Roku’s 115,000 sq ft letting at Circle Square in Q4, and Cloud Imperium’s 81,130 sq ft deal at Allied London’s Manchester Goods Yard in Q3. 

The Roku deal saw take-up in the final three months of 2021 reach 347,000 sq ft, making it the most active quarter of the year.

Additionally, Octopus Energy took 38,114 sq ft at Circle Square, while Castore signed for 22,000 sq ft at Kinrise’s One Central. 

The sub-5,000 sq ft market remains the most active, accounting for more than 75% of total transactions in 2021. 

Circle Square, Manchester, P.Citypress

Roku, Autocab and Octopus Energy all signed at Circle Square in 2021. Credit: via Citypress

“One of the most compelling trends [driving take-up] is the flight to quality and the ‘hotelisation’ of office space,” said Amelia Barratt, associate at Sixteen. 

“Proactive landlords are making more strategic investments in their assets with the aim of providing exclusive workspaces that occupiers can be proud of. This alongside enhanced ‘Cat A’ or turnkey solutions are aiding the return-to-work movement and as a result, the Landlords who do invest are seeing improvements in their headline rents.” 

Manchester appeal

Inward Investment continues to play a huge role in Manchester’s city centre office market, accounting for 33% of total take-up, according to MOAF. 

Richard Dinsdale, director at Edwards & Co, said: “Inward Investment accounts for an impressive 33% of the total take-up in 2021, which is a genuine reflection of the success and desirability of Manchester as a city to live, work and invest in.” 

“The emerging districts will continue to play an important part to attract and accommodate companies such as Cloud Imperium, which has chosen Manchester as their UK HQ from California. We envisage this growth to accelerate as we emerge from the pandemic, it is an exciting time for the Manchester office market.” 

The picture elsewhere 

Outside of the city centre, South Manchester saw an 82% increase in take-up compared to 2020.  

A total of 496,000 sq ft of deals were signed including by Mitie, which took 33,567 at Atlas Park and  O’Neill Patient, which signed for 22,836 sq ft at 2 Stockport Exchange  

At Salford Quays, the largest deal saw the NHS take 30,000 sq ft at St James’s House. Take-up at Salford Quays totalled 272,000 sq ft in 2021. 

MOAF comprises commercial property agencies Avison Young, BE Group, CBRE, Colliers International, Canning O’Neill, Cushman and Wakefield, Edwards and Co, Hallam Property Consultants, JLL, Knight Frank, LSH, Matthews & Goodman, OBI, Savills, Sixteen and TSG Property Consultants. 

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Well Done.

By A Gent

Excellent news and lots more to come as well. Just walking around the city you can feel the place buzzing.

By Bob

Everyone back to the office!

By Boris

Impressive take up especially given the circumstances where Doom mongers and armchair experts would love to tell us the office is dead. Great that the high tech companies continue to invest in the city too, there’s an awful lot of them now.

By JohnP

Exciting times for Manchester. Money goes to money. This has been happening in London for decades and is accelerating in Manchester, with deals announced almost daily.

By Elephant

Circle Square is pretty fantastic in the flesh and suits Manchester’s as a city. That area is much better than before anyway and Oxford Road really is looking class in some parts. Exciting times.

By Anonymous

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