WHR has added to the ongoing debate over the true symbolic heart of Manchester's city centre office market, claiming a spate of recent deals in the traditional core means Spinningfields has not grabbed the title despite what many might say.
Will Lewis, associate partner of WHR, said: "We have recently secured a number of new lettings including a 13,500 sq ft sub-lease to Glaisyers Solicitors who actually relocated from the Spinningfields region to take space at One St James's Square, located within the prime core and paid in excess of £21.00/sq ft.
"McGrigors Solicitors are one of Scotland's largest practices and they have set up their new Manchester operation in taking 2,640 sq ft at The Pinnacle, King Street at a prime rent of £28.80/sq ft. Magnus have undertaken an impressive Grade A refurbishment of 19 Spring Gardens and has already agreed a pre-let to Insurance broker, Locktons. They signed a 15-year lease for 5,300 sq ft where rents are from £25/sq ft."
WHR is not instructed on Allied London's highly successful Spinningfields buildings, where Jones Lang LaSalle and DTZ are retained. The latest office there, 3 Hardman Street, totalling 342,000 sq ft, has dominated take-up figures for the city centre in 2008, with 220,000 sq ft of deals and only 40,000 sq ft left to let.
Lewis adds: "Within six months of its completion, Bruntwood's 70,000 sq ft Lowry House, just off Spring Gardens is also now fully let following the most recent lettings to Tokio Marine and Zeus Private Equity who both took circa 1,500 sq ft at £22.50/sq ft on 5-year leases.
"This letting activity is proof that the majority of occupiers are still convinced that the traditional commercial core is the place to operate successful business."
Lewis goes on: "Location is paramount to a business. 2008 has seen a number of large scale businesses relocate to fringe locations of the city but there is a danger they may have been a little hasty in their decision as we are seeing a resurgence of the prime commercial core. Although some of these fringe schemes have been successful in securing large lettings which have been driven by huge financial concessions, if you look at the actual number of lettings concluded then the core still outperforms any area of the city. Occupiers appreciate the buzz and high quality amenities, together with immediate proximity to numerous forms of public transport, which can only be found in the heart of the city centre."