New era of office space to shake up market

Jeremy Richards

Jeremy Richards

 

A new era of Grade A office space is set to shake up the Bristol market, according to leading property consultancy JLL, as businesses seek out next-generation ‘white-collar factories’ to house their operations.

Demand for quirky ‘factory-style’ space – with ‘smart services’ and low running costs – is likely to come from creative businesses in expansion mode, while it could also be boosted by employers looking at near-shoring their operations to regional cities such as Bristol to escape rising costs in the Capital.

These predictions, revealed today (January 29) at JLL’s South West Market Review, themed ‘smart future’, come after “a real breakthrough” for Bristol’s office market in 2014, said Ian Wills, director, office agency, at JLL in the city.

He comments: “Bristol’s office market rose like a ‘phoenix from the ashes’ in 2014 and we expect demand to continue this year, with more speculative city centre development in the pipeline.

“There will be continued demand for conventional, Grade A space in Bristol, but we predict a shift in the marketplace as businesses seek out a different kind of space.”

Bristol needs to cater for rising demand for office space akin to White Collar Factory in London, a scheme being built in the city’s ‘silicon roundabout’ tech quarter with a focus on innovative and sustainable design.

Jeremy Richards, head of the Bristol office of JLL, said that a move towards ‘smart’ factory-style office space could represent the biggest shake-up of Bristol’s office market since the introduction of large floorplates, which came with the opening of Portwall Place in 2008, at the time billed as the city’s first ‘London-style super office’”

He adds: “The impact of advancements in technology on the property market is likely to be significant as the requirements of a multitude of sectors including logistics, retail, healthcare and more shift as innovative, ‘smart’ ways of working and living are embraced.

“The challenge for the property market is to keep pace with the changing face of technology; the latter is currently moved faster than the built environment can adapt.”

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