Strong quarter for Bristol helps UK break office market records

Richard Kidd

GVA’s latest Big Nine report analysing the office occupier markets of the nine key UK regional cities, reveals that the UK has achieved its highest quarterly take-up total on record, assisted by Bristol’s own strong activity.

Professional and business services have dominated city centre activity in Bristol, which has seen the highest quarterly take-up for 2017.

As a result, this has reduced both prime and secondary stock levels, aided by the lack of new build and large number of conversions to alternative use.

It is not surprising therefore that the city has witnessed the setting of a new headline rent at £30.50 with Mewburn Ellis’ 13,300 sq ft pre-let at Cubex and Palmer Capital’s Aurora building.

Furthermore, the recently completed 58,500 sq ft refurbishment at One Cathedral Square is already rumoured to be under offer, with Dyson and the University of Bristol reportedly taking two floors each.

A further refurbishment under construction is Programme, an exposed-services fit-out that will deliver 50,000 sq ft this year and 70,000 sq ft next year.

According to the Big Nine report, total take-up of offices in Bristol city centre in Q3 was 173,022 sq ft, compared to a five year quarterly average of 155, 080 sq ft.

Out-of-town, Bristol has seen 134,456 sq ft of space taken-up, compared to a five year quarterly average of 75,143 sq ft.

The strong out-of-town office market is encouraging for the largest ever speculative refurbishment, 72,000 sq ft at 800 Aztec West, which completes in the spring.

GVA’s Richard Kidd says: “The challenge that we face in the city is a shortage of future space and this may well have an impact on occupiers looking to locate or expand in Bristol.

“We are also expecting to see an increase in serviced office demand, following the level of activity witnessed in London. There is an increasing shift in the way occupiers are looking to use space more flexibly as attitudes and technology change, with more co-working space requirements for the expanding knowledge sector as well as more traditional occupiers.”