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North West Commercial Property News - Monday, September 25, 2017

Issue #81


North West News

Such is the pressure on the government to make a success of the Northern Powerhouse, pressurised by the elected mayors, that hopes are high for transport improvements that will make it a success.

Manchester is leading the way with the growth of its technology sector and the development of new commercial spaces.

Some of the transport improvements have been, or are about to be, made such as the vital Ordsal rail link between Piccadilly and Victoria stations. This is due for completion in December and will be part of a £1 billion investment by Network Rail in the North. As a result, there will be more frequent trains to key destinations such as Manchester Airport, which is undergoing a major investment programme.

But the real need is for the high-speed line from Liverpool through the Pennines to Leeds and Yorkshire.

At least the HS2 line from London via Birmingham to the north has been agreed, despite a battery of objections from groups who oppose many of the infrastructure improvements in the UK.

The importance of the Northern Powerhouse is being increasingly recognised by companies.

For example, Lambert Smith Hampton (LSH) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the government to become a member of the Northern Partnership Programme.

LSH’s Matthew Scrimshaw said: “Since the initiative was launched in 2014, confidence across the North of England has grown exponentially and we’ve witnessed a significant rise in investment volumes, record levels of occupier take-up and more development starts than any previous cycle."

That optimistic picture is reinforced by the statistics for the second quarter with take-up in Manchester city centre up by 27% compared with same period of 2016, reported the Manchester Office Agents’ Forum (MOAF).

Take-up of offices in the first half was 45,775 sq metres (492,730 sq ft), a rise on the first half of 2016. A good way of assessing the figures is that there were 68 transactions in the period April-June.

Andrew Rands of JLL, who is the spokesman for MOAF, commented: “We continue to see strong levels of demand across the city centre from both existing occupiers and inward investors."

He noted the arrival of WeWork to Spinningfields and Distrelec to 2 St Peters Square, two significant new arrivals. “There are a number of potential larger transactions in the pipeline which suggest that take-up in 2017 will exceed 92,900 sq metres (1 million sq ft) for the fourth consecutive year."

While calling the office market “steady with a declining amount of stock”, Mark Canning of Canning O’Neill stressed the importance of linking the major cities in the north with the HS3 line to “reduce commuter times, take cars off the roads and boost the economy."

Andrew Gardiner of TSG Property Consultants said: “The half year figures for out of town offices are encouraging and with the quantity of existing requirement, take-up should go well during the remainder of the year.”


North West News

As part of the radical change in Manchester over the past decade, there has been a major expansion of residential property in the centre.

That has broadened the appeal of Manchester (as has happened in other northern cities), bolstering the expansion of retailing and leisure facilities and adding pressure for transport improvements.

However, now Manchester has a problem with the under-supply of housing, said JLL, which it expects to continue for 5 years. Demand is being fuelled by increased population in the city and the move to more city centre living, particularly by young people. The estimate from Manchester Place is that the city centre population will reach 80,000 by 2024.

JLL’s Stephen Hogg said: “Manchester is attracting - and retaining -more graduates, young professionals and direct investment. Last year 47 firms set up and created jobs for the first time or expanded their existing operations, all of which is contributing to demand for city centre living.” In his view, the current development pipeline means the city cannot keep pace with demand.


North West News

Colliers International are continuing to see increasing levels of occupational demand in the office sector within Manchester City Centre, coming from businesses outside the region, according to Dominic Pozzoni, Director National Offices, Colliers International.

“We are seeing more and more National and International corporate occupiers and clients giving serious consideration to both relocating and expanding into Manchester City Centre and the wider region. This is owing to a number of factors including a highly qualified and strong workforce, high student retention post-graduation, a mixture of house price affordability, a comprehensive transport infrastructure, a fantastic cultural offering and an ever expanding International Airport.

With more and more businesses looking at cost control and with Grade A rents in Manchester City Centre currently at £35 psf, it offers a compelling reason to focus on Manchester. Although the digital sector continues to see growth within the region, other traditional sectors including financial services, legal and professional services continue to be focussing on relocation to Manchester.”

High Tech FOCUS

North West News

One of the factors giving Manchester an edge in growing its economy and competing on a worldwide basis is the strength of the technology sector which is helped by the presence of top universities.

The city is bracketed with Glasgow, Leeds and Liverpool as the digital start-ups’ hotspots of the future as they ranked highest of any UK city for a combination of most affordable property, number of digital tech jobs and the growth potential of their digital economies, said HouseSimple.com.

In fact, Manchester came out on top in the rankings with digital jobs and a tech sector growth potential of 85%, one of the highest in the UK.

Reinforcing this analysis, Manchester is the best placed regional location for the creative industries, said CBRE, although Bracknell has the highest concentration of employees working in the creative industries.

Tom Newns of MIDAS, Manchester’s inward investment agency, commented: “One of our unique selling points is the way our businesses collaborate across sectors and universities to drive the next wave of innovation across the industry.” Indeed, on the CBRE analysis. Manchester is way ahead of any other northern city with Newcastle next in 14th spot followed by Warrington at 15 (where Birchwood Park plays such a significant role).

In the first half of 2017, Patrizia, the UK manager of Birchwood Park, let 6,503 sq metres (70,000 sq ft), up 45% on the same period of last year. The park has pulled in 20 new companies, many of them international groups such as Ricoh. In particular, the park’s speciality in nuclear engineering has attracted companies, boosted by the launch of the Cheshire Science Corridor Enterprise Zone.

One of these companies was Cavendish Nuclear which leased 4,380 sq metres (47,149 sq ft). It is worth noting that the park has 94% occupancy.

Martin O’Rourke of Birchwood said: “Despite market uncertainties we have continued to see a high level of demand from businesses looking to set up in the North West, ranging from start-ups and SMEs, to global corporates. What has been particularly interesting since June 2016 has been the interest from international companies looking to locate here."

He added that “with 65,050 sq metres (700,000 sq ft) of development land with outline planning permission, there is also huge potential here for businesses looking for bespoke office or warehouse space.”


North West News

Leading industrial developer, Chancerygate has continued its site acquisition programme with the purchase of 16 acres of development land at Parkgate Industrial Estate in Knutsford, Cheshire Mike Walker, Development Director for Chancerygate in the North West, comments: “This is one of the prime locations in South Manchester and Cheshire that we have been targeting. We are planning a 300,000 sq ft development in total that will be of interest to a number of national and local businesses. We have already had strong occupier interest. The scheme will probably be done in 3 phases.

“The first phase of speculative development will provide around 85,000 sq ft of industrial and warehousing space in units of various sizes which will be able to accommodate a wide spectrum of end users. We believe it will appeal to a number of local businesses and potentially to multi-national occupiers because of the proximity of Manchester Airport."

The site was acquired from Oliver Valves - one of the world’s leading manufacturers of instrumentation, subsea and pipeline valves for the global energy sectors.

The new project adds to Chancerygate’s current UK development pipeline of around 2.2m sq ft.

Oliver Valves was represented in the sale by Gerald Eve while Chancerygate was advised by Williams Sillitoe. Both agents have been retained as agents on the new development.

PROPERTY profile

North West News

4M, Manchester Airport Name of Property/Address: 4M, Chicago Avenue, Manchester Airport, M90 3RR Information: Self-contained and compact, Manchester Airport is a business destination in its own right. It’s open all day, every day and provides a secure infrastructure you won’t find anywhere else in the region. It’s also home to a choice of quality work environments, so whether you’re looking for cost effective offices for just two people or space across multiple floors, we’ve got the match for your business needs.

Existing office space at 4M is currently available from 1,000 to 45,000 sq ft, offering you the opportunity to take space for between 10 to 500 people.

4M at Manchester Airport is purposely designed to connect people with places. Locate your business here and enjoy the transport benefits of an international airport as standard. So, whether your travelling by car, train, tram, air or bus, the airport can make your commute as convenient and stress free as possible.

All enquires to: CBRE – 0161 455 7666 or Savills – 0161 236 8644

InBrief #1

North West News

One scheme designed to meet the demand for residential property, is footballers Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs’ plan for a mixed-use tower of 29 storeys, which has a new design following objections to the earlier version’s impact on historic buildings. The design is for 13,661 sq metres of commercial space as well as substantial areas for leisure, 170 flats and a 200-bedroom hotel.


North West News

Manchester Airport is one of the most ambitious airports in the world and is proving it with plans to double passenger numbers as well as providing significant amounts of commercial space for local and international companies.

The key elements in the plans are: • Expanding Terminal 2 by 140% with a direct link to a revamped Terminal 3 increasing the potential passenger capacity from 25 to 50 million; • New aircraft transfer facilities that will allow passengers to walk directly from aircraft to terminal; • New links so connecting passengers do not have to leave the airport; • Increased stands and piers for aircraft; • Improved bag check in and faster security and the overall aim of getting passengers through immigration, customs and agricultural inspection.

Included in these changes will be improved infrastructure around the airport with good connections to the £800 million Airport City.

SUCCESS - appeel

North West News

As important as Manchester is to the economic health of the north - and the rest of the UK - the North West has the added strength of a revived Liverpool.

As much as anything else, this is due to the efforts of Peel to develop new commercial space at Liverpool Waters and capitalise on the city’s fine Merseyside location and proliferation of fine listed buildings.

With planning permission in place for Plaza 1821 at Princes Dock, it will now provide the space for Regenda Group and Your Housing Group. The £5.5 billion Liverpool Waters continues to set the pace and has the Lexington building scheduled for development in the near future.

Neil Baumber of Peel commented: “Our vision is to create a waterfront for the world, bringing life back to the historic docklands. Plaza 1821 will be a high-quality development with spectacular views of the River Mersey and the surrounding waterfront."

One of the recent arrivals at Princes Dock is Pure Business Group, a legal services provider, which has taken the 4th floor at 8 Princes Dock. Phil Hodgkinson of Pure said: “We looked at a lot of places but nothing could match the setting here at Liverpool Waters, while also providing us with the top-quality office space that we need to continue our expansion."

One aspect of opening a business in Liverpool is its sporting legacy. A survey by ESPN, a sports site, together with the University of Bath, ranked Liverpool as the UK’s greatest sporting city for 2017.

Manchester is in second place.

However, the development in Liverpool has not been all plain sailing because the Liverpool City Council has stepped in on one Chinese led scheme with legal action. It is against Chinatown Development Company over a stalled £200 million project in the city centre. The plan was for 790 residential units, 11,148 sq metres (120,000 sq ft) of offices, a Chinese shopping area and a 140 bedroom hotel.

The council’s case is for the developer to forfeit two leases on the site.


North West News

HMRC has taken the next step in creating a network of 13 state-of-the-art regional centres, by signing a 25-year lease to let 270,000 sq ft at India Buildings in Liverpool.

The move is part of the wider Government Hubs programme, led by the Government Property Unit (GPU), which is reforming how the government uses property. JLL is advising the GPU.

India Buildings was selected for its easy-to-reach location and excellent transport links while an extensive refurbishment will provide the digital infrastructure required by HMRC.

HMRC will take over the whole building with staff moving in 2019 and as many as 3,500 HMRC staff will work there.

Steven Boyd, HMRC Estates Director, HMRC said: “HMRC’s move into India Buildings will see us sensitively restore and refurbish this magnificent building to bring it back to its former glory, while transforming it into a state-of-the-art facility fit for a modern tax authority. This agreement marks a significant, long-term commitment to this city and this region."

Richard Wharton, JLL director of office agency, who advised the Government, added: “We carried out a measured selection process which took in to account wide ranging factors including cost efficiency. HMRC’s decision to move to India Buildings, which has been an iconic feature of Liverpool’s skyline since the 1930s, is a huge boost for the city.”


North West News

Icon Industrial, a joint venture between TPG Real Estate and Stoford Developments, has bought a 45 acre site at Global Logistics which will add a further 92,900 sq metres (1 million sq ft) within Airport City That will bring another 5,000 jobs to the 2,000 already at Airport City, which currently has 76,271 sq metres (821,000 sq ft) of space. The fact that 75 out of the 130 acres for Airport City has been committed for development points to a successful outcome for the joint venture that owns it.

Lynda Shillaw of MAG Property, one of the joint venture partners, said: “The sale of the 45 acres is a significant milestone and builds upon the £30 million investment made by the joint venture to date. The transaction comes at a time when momentum is building around the first new offices and hotels planned to start on site."

James Dickinson of Canning O’Neill said: “Both the airport and adjacent business parks have had a tremendous two or three years with rising rents and new investment. Many of the buildings have been bought by local property companies who understand the market. In many ways, the airport is now the South Manchester market itself."

Typical is the performance of Manchester Green, where Canning O’Neill is the agent, with a letting of 1,394 sq metres (15,000 sq ft) to Assetz Capital due to complete soon and where there is only one building left to let.

One of the biggest South Manchester success stories in recent years is Property Alliance’s Trident office development on Styal Road, Manchester Airport. Alliance acquired the 8,361 sq metres (90,000 sq. ft.) dilapidated scheme in February 2015 and immediately commenced a comprehensive Grade A office refurbishment incorporating staff amenities such as a dedicated gym, on site café, lounge area and free shuttle bus to and from the local train, tram and bus stops. Within 12 months of completion of the works Alliance had let all but 279 sq m (3,000 sq. ft.) of the scheme to tenants such as Avecto, MPM Products and Renold Engineering and have now acquired the 1,672 sq m (18,000 sq. ft.) adjacent building named The Landing to carry out a similar refurbishment.

We understand a sale of the development is now close to being agreed but Property Alliance were unavailable for comment

InBrief #2

North West News

Ryden is the latest agent to be drawn to Manchester by the buoyant market. The office will be led by Andrew Richardson who is joining from Capita. Bill Duguid of Ryden said: “London and Manchester are arguably the UK’s most active property markets and represent huge opportunities for Ryden and our clients.”

RETAIL therapy

North West News

One interesting aspect of the economy in the North West is the strength of retailing in some towns and cities.

An example of this is research from Savills that estimated Manchester has the potential for nearly 13,935 sq metres (150,000 aq ft) of extra out-of-town fashion retail space to add to the existing 40,221 sq metres (432,948 sq ft) dedicated to the sector.

With 1.3 million shoppers, the city is attractive to retailers such as Paul Smith who has opened a new store in New Cathedral Street, a scheme owned by a joint venture of M&G Real Estate and intu.

The investment market for shopping centres remains healthy and MCR Property Group has bought the 15,143 sq metres (163,000 sq ft) Wheatsheaf Shopping Centre in Rochdale for an undisclosed sum. It adjoins the £100 million Rochdale Riverside Shopping Centre.

Chris Taylor of MCR said: “The purchase comes ahead of a significant shift in the retail landscape within Rochdale town centre."

Meanwhile, Land Securities is offering the 16,351 sq metres (176,000 sq ft) Greyhound Retail Park in Chester for sale with an asking price of £64 million and a yield of 6.7%. The park is anchored by a John Lewis store and is on a 16-acre freehold site with a similar amount of land available for development. It is being marketed by Cushman & Wakefield.


North West News

The growing market for flexible office space has drawn WeWork to a new operation in Manchester, its first move outside London.

It has taken a 5,574 sq metres (60,000 sq ft) co-working centre in Allied London’s soon to be completed 1 Spinningfields, a 27,870 sq metres (300,000 sq ft) scheme, which is the tallest office building in the city.

What has attracted the US company is the growing media and technology sectors in the city.

It will join the law firm Weightmans, which is taking 1,672 sq metres (18,000 sq ft) in the complex, bringing together its staff from two other offices and promising to pioneer new ways of working and technology.

Rob Yates of Cushman & Wakefield, who advise Weightmans, said: “Weightmans realised that the supply and demand dynamics of the Manchester market presented challenges due to the shortage of high quality opportunities."

He added that they moved quickly to take the space.

Always tuned to market changes, Northern Trust has made flexibility the watchword of its refurbishment of Beehive, Shadworth, Blackburn.

The refurbishment has brought a range of high quality office space and its agent, Whittle Jones, has pulled instream a flow of new occupiers. Phil Hume of Whittle Jones said: “The refurbishment has seen the creation of a break out area, meeting room, 24 hour CCTV and a new reception area. We have secured letting for half of the new office suites."

The Beehive is close to the entrance to Shadworth Business Park, a short distance from the M65 and two miles from the centre of Blackburn.


North West News

M-SParc, Wales’ first dedicated Science Park, is on course to open its doors in early 2018.

The build on the £20m project on Anglesey is progressing within time and budget.

M-SParc offers 2,900m2 of lettable space configured as 45 office spaces ranging from 14.5m2-250m2 (two person to 30/35 person offices), 23 laboratories for between three and eight researchers and two 140m2 double-height workshops.

Ieuan Wyn Jones, Director of M-SParc, said: “M-SParc’s vision is to drive knowledge-based science linked to research expertise. This will be achieved by stimulating an entrepreneurial culture linking innovation in key sectors such as low carbon energy, the environment and ICT. We hope to develop an area of innovation in North West Wales with the science park being a catalyst for innovative ideas in the region.

“M-SParc is directly adjacent to Junction 7 of the A55 so we are especially accessible for companies from across the North Wales and North West regions.

“We aim to cater for the brightest and the best companies. The most important criterion for us is that companies are innovative and are looking to bring a new product or system to market. In return we offer highly competitive rates, excellent connectivity through two fibre cables and dedicated business support.

Neil Rowlands, Chair of Anglesey Enterprise Zone Advisory Board, said: “It is truly exciting to see M-SParc progressing as it is. The vision for Anglesey Enterprise Zone is to create a world-renowned centre of excellence for the production, demonstration and servicing of low carbon energy. The opening of M-SParc will contribute enormously to this vision.


North West News

Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, said that Greater Manchester and the North West is competing on an international stage. He added that the airport is helping by attracting inward and outward investment.

He said that the airport expansion will be the “biggest single construction project that Greater Manchester has ever seen. It provides jobs for 20,000 people on site and a further 25,000 indirectly."

Charlie Cornish, Chief Executive of the airport, also stressed the economic importance of the airport to the region, saying that “it already serves more than 70 airlines and 210 destinations, brings £1.8 billion to the regional economy every year and is the only UK airport outside London with direct routes to Miami, Hong Kong, Singapore, Atlanta, Washington and Boston.”


North West News

A Mark of the attractions of Global Logistics as one of the prime logistics locations in the North West is that it has pulled in such blue chip companies as Amazon and DHL. A vital part of the investment in the airport is the construction of the £15 million Enterprise Way which is due for completion early next year.

The road will connect offices and hotel developments within Airport City North to the rest of the site and the wide transport network. When the whole project is completed it will have 464,500 sq metres (5 million sq ft) of premium office space, hotels, advanced manufacturing, logistics and ancillary retail.

One interesting part of Airport City is the creation of a new social destination which will host community and networking events alongside industry debates. It is located in Manchester Airport Transport Interchange.

To cater for the increased numbers of people using and working at the airport there will be at least 50 food and drink outlets.

Charlie Cornish emphasised how important the construction of HS2 and HS3 fast railway lines were to the airport and its key role in the success of the Northern Powerhouse

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