With no sign of a slowdown in demand for office space, Bristol’s acute shortage of office space has the potential to hinder business growth in the city, says JLL.
Ian Wills, director of office agency at property consultancy JLL in Bristol, made the comments after the Office Agents Society (OAS) released its latest office statistics for the third quarter of the year.
Take-up of office space in Q3 in greater Bristol – which includes the city centre and out-of-town market – was 307,000 sq ft, 29% up on the quarterly average for the last five years, which was 238,000 sq ft.
In the city centre, big names like Grant Thornton, Amazon, Standard Life and PwC all took new space during the period.
Wills said: “It is very encouraging that we are seeing no slowdown in demand for office space in Bristol, despite the political uncertainty nationally. It would be easy to assume that take-up in the office market might be declining due to macroeconomic challenges, but third quarter take-up was robust and we expect this demand to continue.
“Our concern is the lack of office space and the impact this might have on the Bristol economy. Indeed, there is only 3,000 sq ft immediately available new-build office space in the city centre. That is space for just 30 or 40 staff.”
Following the sale of the 230,000 sq ft former Somerfield supermarket headquarters in south Bristol, there are now signs that out-of-town business park space is set to be increasingly converted to residential – a trend that has already been widespread in the city centre and one that could tighten supply further.