Manchester Goods Yard, Allied London, P.planning Docs
Cloud Imperium has signed for 87,000 sq ft at Manchester Goods Yard. Credit: via planning documents

MOAF: Manchester office take-up heading for 1m sq ft for the year 

Dan Whelan

City centre deals totalling 257,164 sq ft were completed in the third quarter of 2021, taking the total space signed for the year to 712,000 sq ft, according to the latest take-up figures from the Manchester Office Agents Forum. 

The Q3 figures for 2021 are a significant improvement year-on-year, with just 69,106 sq ft transacted in the same three-month period in 2020. 

Major transactions of note during the quarter include: 

  • Cloud Imperium Games taking 87,130 sq ft at Allied London’s Manchester Goods Yard 
  • Deliveroo committing to 10,002 sq ft at 5 New York Street 
  • Accenture taking 25,000 sq ft at Bruntwood’s Sci Tech’s Circle Square scheme on Oxford Road

“Achieving 1m sq ft of city centre take-up for 2021 is still a very realistic target,” said Matt Pickersgill, associate director at Avison Young. 

“Cloud Imperium Games, an international independent game company, has committed to the largest deal of the year, demonstrating its confidence in the office market by moving its whole UK operation into the city centre.”

In 2020, the impact of the pandemic saw transactions drop to 800,000 sq ft for the year, the first time total annual take-up in the city centre has dropped below 1m sq ft since 2013. 

However, Manchester’s office market seems to be bouncing back after the year’s most active quarter so far.

The 257,164 sq ft transacted between July and September exceeded the 234,258 sq ft signed in the first quarter of the year and the 220,200 sq ft recorded in Q2.

“An almost 17% rise in just one quarter highlights the fact that the Manchester office market is back with a vengeance”, said Steve Brittle, partner at Matthews & Goodman. 

“Manchester is one of the most active commercial centres in the country, we think this trend will continue.” 

Circle Square No.1

There are a number of deals in the pipeline at Circle Square that are expected to complete in Q4. Credit: via planning documents

Looking ahead, a raft of deals lined up at Bruntwood SciTech’s Circle Square could help nudge Manchester city centre towards the 1m sq ft mark.

Roku, Autocab, Ofcom and Octopus Energy are understood to be under offer on a combined 160,000 sq ft at the Oxford Road development.  

Pickersgill added: “As we move into Q4 and beyond this will, of course, continue to breed confidence across a number of larger corporate occupiers that are continuing to think about their own ongoing office requirements. We also anticipate several further announcements of large Grade A deals before year end and as a result”. 

However, even if Manchester’s office deals do reach seven figures, that total will be some way behind both 2018 and 2019, when 1.75m sq ft and 1.5m sq ft of deals were signed respectively. 

In South Manchester, 110,511 sq ft was transacted across 68 deals in Q3. This total is marginally below the 117,065 sq ft achieved in the previous quarter. 

Transactions included Comlit Group acquiring 12,238 sq ft at Waterside in Baguley from Pin Property, and Circular 1 Health committing to 12,000 sq ft at Egerton House in Didsbury. 

The Q3 figures for Salford Quays and Old Trafford increased to 65,755 sq ft from 35,820 sq ft in the previous quarter. 

The largest deal saw In the Style take 23,500 sq ft at Maple House at M60 Business Park.

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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And to think that a high number of commenters said that offices and Manchester in particular would be dead

By Anonymous

I think those commenters were saying what they were hoping for rather than informed predictions

By Dave

Ha!..so much for armchair experts! But I suppose if they were actual experts they’d be in the industry and wouldn’t have to write nonsense.

By Anonymous

I wonder where Dan/Cal has gone? He was the one saying Manchester’s office market would die out…

By Anonymous

Darren Born Bred, where art thou? As expected Manchester’s offices are booming and many more required.

By Big Dub

The Former CIS Tower and associated site has just added another 420000 + sq ft (not all of it office) to Manchester’s already burgeoning office space. What with all the business districts that have sprung up from New Bailey to Circle square and everything in between it seems the office is in very good health and they seem to filling them which is just adds to the local economy.

By Anonymous

Lovely stuff.

By Ron Prescott

‘Build it and they will come’ goes the saying. Looks like they did and they have. Great stuff.

By Simon