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MOAF: Office lettings near 1.5m sq ft in 2019

Sarah Townsend

Occupiers leased more than 1.45m sq ft of city centre office space last year, slightly below the record in 2018, according to the Manchester Office Agents Forum.

The city centre saw 261 office lease transactions and a new record rent of £36.50 per sq ft when property consultancy JLL signed a 15-year lease to occupy the 11,900 sq ft 10th floor at Baring’s Landmark development in July.

While the total lettings figure for 2019 is lower than MOAF’s record of 1.75m sq ft in 2018 – it is still above the five-year average of 1.35m sq ft.

In 2018, the city saw 314 transactions, with the final quarter proving especially strong with 513,000 sq ft of deals, including Amazon’s 90,000 sq ft deal at Hanover House in Noma.

Notable lettings for 2019 include the latest pre-let at Enterprise City where WPP agreed to take 82,000 sq ft at the Globe & Simpson building, and law firm Eversheds’ 47,465 sq ft deal at English Cities Fund’s 2 New Bailey Square, where BLM also leased 70,782 sq ft.

Other lettings include WeWork’s 51,000 sq ft deal at Hyphen, Huckletree’s 25,800 sq ft deal at the Express Building in Ancoats and Regus taking 26,350 sq ft at St James’s Tower.

Richard Lace, director at OBI, and Rob Yates, partner at Cushman & Wakefield, who are joint representatives for MOAF, said: “Manchester’s office market continued to perform robustly despite political uncertainty and a diminishing lack of readily available Grade A supply.

“As we move in to 2020, with a strong supply of new development delivering high quality workspace to the market and a more stable economic backdrop, we expect a strong start to the year, with a number of high-profile transactions in the pipeline.”

The managed workspace market also remained active, with Spaces’ 121,000 sq ft letting at 125 Deansgate the largest such deal in Manchester city centre last year.

Outside the city centre, Salford Quays and Old Trafford were the best performing neighbourhoods, recording 102 transactions totalling 292,071 sq ft, MOAF’s figures show.

South Manchester saw 253 transactions totalling 594,490 sq ft. The largest deals were Portswigger’s 62,000 sq ft prelet at Booths Park in Knutsford and Verastar’s 61,000 sq ft deal at Dovecote in Sale.

BASF committed to take 21,434 sq ft at Muse Development and Stockport Council’s 2 Stockport Exchange – a deal that completed last week – while Dow Chemical took a 24,715 sq ft pre-let at Cheadle Royal.

MOAF is made up of Avison Young, BE Group, CBRE, Colliers International, Canning O’Neill, Cushman and Wakefield, Edwards and Co, GVA, Hallam Property Consultants, JLL, Knight Frank, LSH, Matthews & Goodman, OBI, Savills, Sixteen and TSG Property Consultants.

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