Place North West understands English Cities Fund’s New Bailey is the frontrunner for BT’s 200,000 sq ft office, beating two other shortlisted sites to the coveted requirement.
BT’s requirement has been in the market since the start of the year and the company has narrowed its search to three locations – New Bailey in Salford; Bruntwood SciTech’s Circle Square; and Ask Real Estate’s First Street.
Several market sources have suggested a deal at New Bailey is imminent, with the site of the marketing suite being considered for a purpose-built office to accommodate 200,000 sq ft for BT. This plot next to One New Bailey has been earmarked for an office in developer ECF’s masterplan for some time.
At First Street, Ask had rejigged a previous consent for an office at Plot 9 with the BT requirement in mind. This building was originally planned at 16 storeys with 160,000 sq ft of offices on the 11 lower floors with a 205-bedroom Premier Inn above.
Ask put the office to the communications giant after redesigning the building to have larger floorplates of 30,000 sq ft over 10 floors.
Another of Ask’s developments, 100 Embankment, was previously considered by BT but ruled out given the building is now around nine months away from practical completion, and the company’s preference is for a design-and-build office.
At Circle Square, the proposed No3 was pitched as an option for BT. The design went to public consultation this summer and a planning application is understood to be imminent; the building will contain between 250,000 sq ft and 300,000 sq ft of offices.
The two offices already under construction at Circle Square were not in the running, with a number of deals here understood to be imminent, leaving less than 200,000 sq ft available across both buildings.
ECF – made up of developer Muse, Legal & General, and Homes England – has been contacted for comment.
One New Bailey was the first office to be delivered at the site in Salford and is near fully let. Two other offices at New Bailey are under construction: Two New Bailey, which includes 188,000 sq ft, 50,000 sq ft of which is pre-let to law firm Eversheds; and Three New Bailey, a 157,000 sq ft building pre-let to HMRC. Bowmer + Kirkland is on site at both schemes.
In preparation for its move, BT has signed a three-year deal with Regus’ co-working arm Spaces at 125 Deansgate. Under the deal, Spaces will manage the 116,000 sq ft office while BT prepares to move to a permanent base.
BT formerly occupied the 100,000 sq ft Grand Island office building, which was redeveloped by Ask into Number One First Street, departing in 2006 with staff being dispersed to other locations, most notably Chapel Street in Salford and Stockport.
JLL is advising BT; Cushman & Wakefield and JLL are joint agents on New Bailey.