Liverpool will fall a long way short of the 500,000 sq ft average office take-up it has established in recent years if the anticipated Merseytravel 130,000 sq ft prelet does not complete in the coming days.
Office agents contacted this week said Liverpool would do well to hit 350,000 sq ft without the Merseytravel deal.
The transport authority has been in talks with Mann Island developers Neptune and Countryside all year, with the deal in solicitors' hands since the summer. Merseytravel plans to take the entire office element of the waterfront scheme on a 30-year lease. CBRE is advising Merseytravel.
City centre office take-up for the first half of 2008 was 160,000 sq ft, according to The Mersey Property Forum. Stuart Keppie, of surveyor Keppie Massie, is chairman of the MPF and said he is still calculating the full year figures for publication jointly with Liverpool Vision in the New Year.
Keppie said the figure would be 'well down' without Merseytravel.
The city centre market is increasingly turning to refurbished stock as a spate of new-build speculative development dries up. English Cities Fund is expected to kick-start supply of Grade A space with the third and final building at St Paul's Square in the first quarter of 2009.
Currently, only parts of Rumford's 20 Chapel Street, completed two years ago, and the second St Paul's block offer new space to the market.