Take-up 68,000 sq ft at Universal Square last year

Michael Hunt

Northern Way Properties reported total take-up at the Universal Square office scheme in Ardwick, near Piccadilly station in Manchester, was 68,198 sq ft last year.

This included Manchester City Council's Library Services signing up for 9,213 sq ft at the 280,000 sq ft regeneration scheme, while Cartel Client Review agreed to take 32,900 sq ft in March last year.

DTZ, retained agents for Universal Square, said a dozen existing tenants took additional space over the past 12 months and there were 11 new names added to the 50-strong occupier list.

Marlow-based Softcat opened its northern branch in August 2008 and after 12 months doubled the size of its office and now employs over 30 staff.

Gary Thomas, director at Northern Way Properties, said: "It is great to see our customers succeed in these difficult times and we will continue to support them by providing high quality services in head office grade space at competitive rates".

Universal Square was formerly the headquarters of Great Universal Stores and has been transformed over the last four years with over £11m spent on the extensive development and refurbishment programme.

The office scheme is currently 65% occupied and can accommodate companies seeking to locate anything up to 600 members of staff.

Chris Lloyd, associate director of DTZ, added: "It is the flexibility of both the occupational cost and range of suite sizes, together with the on-site site facilities that has allowed Universal Square to swim against the tide of the economic downturn and be one of the success stories of 2009".

Canning O'Neill is retained as joint agents with DTZ.

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