Communications giant BT is circling the Manchester office market with a live requirement of around 200,000 sq ft.
Place North West understands that JLL has been appointed by BT to find the business a Manchester location, along with similar size requirements in Glasgow and Birmingham. BT is seeking around 150,000 sq ft to 200,000 sq ft in each city, with Manchester said to be at the top end of that range.
The appointment follows JLL’s work on behalf of the Government Property Unit on the regional super-hubs project, much of which involved rationalising HMRC locations into 13 city locations – New Bailey in Salford and India Buildings in Liverpool being the chosen locations in the North West.
Requests for proposals have been circulated to those agents or developers with suitable holdings to accommodate the requirement, Place understands. With such a large requirement, much may depend on how urgent BT’s timeline is.
With up to 1.65m sq ft of offices in the masterplan, Mayfield would be an obvious contender, but with a planning application yet to be lodged, may be beyond the timescale required. Several agents have cited NOMA as a contender, along with Allied London’s Enterprise City and Bruntwood’s Circle Square, where 400,000 sq ft of office space is under construction.
Middlewood Locks has been floated as a possibility by one agent, while another pointed out that the next phase of First Street, with some finessing, could accommodate BT.
BT formerly occupied the 100,000 sq ft Grand Island office building that was redeveloped by Ask into Number One First Street, departing in 2006 with staff being dispersed to other locations, most notably Chapel Street Salford and Stockport.
JLL declined to comment.