One Central Street 2
Castore took 22,100 sq ft at Kinrise's One Central

MOAF: Manchester office market stabilises after lockdown

Dan Whelan

City centre deals totalling 220,200 sq ft were signed in the second quarter of 2021, down slightly on the 234,258 sq ft transacted in the previous three-month period, according to the latest figures from the Manchester Office Agents Forum. 

The second quarter figures are an improvement year-on-year – just 76,000 sq ft was transacted in the second quarter of 2020 – but still below the 309,000 sq ft signed in 2019, before the pandemic. 

A spokesperson for MOAF said: “There is little surprise that we saw a relative plateau in the take-up in Q2 given post-Christmas lockdown and many occupiers are still trying to find their feet and look at the best way of working and the size, type and location of space they need to futureproof their businesses.”

Key city centre transactions in Q2 included workspace consultancy Instant Group taking 33,374 sq ft at Slater and Gordon’s 58 Mosley Street, and fashion brand Castore leasing 22,085 sq ft at Kinrise’s One Central. 

In addition, clothing wholesaler Whispering Smith acquired the 23,702 sq ft 274 Deansgate for £6.35m, and AutoTrader signed for 16,824 sq ft at One Tony Wilson Place. 

There has been a notable return of larger deals this year; six deals above 20,000 sq ft have completed in the first half of 2021, compared to seven in the whole of 2020. 

274 Deansgate

Wholesale clothing supplier Whispering Smith completed the purchase of 274 Deansgate in May

A total of 454,500 sq ft has been signed so far in 2021. 

South Manchester’s office market saw take-up climb to 117,535 sq ft, up from 92,797 sq ft the previous quarter. Mitie’s 33,567 sq ft letting at Pacific House at Atlas Business Park in Heald Green accounted for a sizable chunk of that total.

The Mitie deal was also the largest deal in Greater Manchester in the quarter. 

The Q2 figures for Salford Quays and Old Trafford dipped to 35,820 sq ft from 66,877 sq ft in the first three months of the year. 

Tech Mahindra’s 16,220 sq ft expansion at The Vic made up nearly half of the space taken during that period. The firm signed for an initial 23,000 sq ft in 2020.

Pacific House, Mitie, P.Inform Comms

Mitie’s 33,567 sq ft letting at Pacific House was the largest deal of Q2

The MOAF spokesperson added: “The city centre deals to Instant, Castore, Whispering Smith and AutoTrader demonstrate continued confidence in the market and, having already seen an uptick in enquiries and requirements in Q2, we expect this will translate into an increase in deals in the second half of the year.” 

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

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