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Construction, Office Furniture, Refurbishment

Manchester’s refurbishment renaissance

This week, Savills released its ‘Spotlight on Manchester’ report, revealing that demand for Grade A stock is so high that it’s spilling into secondary stock and increasing rental values.

The trend is expected to continue and, in doing so, drive future demand for serviced offices and “light touch” refurbishment. James Evans, head of Savills’ Manchester office, also expects to see the city’s core office market expanding into “fringe” areas, including Ancoats, the Irwell Corridor and Oxford Road.

Demand for refurbished space has been increasing for some time –another Savills report back in June revealed 38 per cent of the total speculative space being delivered in the UK’s regional cities will be in the form of refurbishments.

At Aztec, we understand the benefits derived from an office refurbishment project, whether light-touch or a complete renovation. One of our most recent projects for Glenbrook Properties at Temple Square, Liverpool, is a case in point – Glenbrook acquired the Grade II listed building in June, appointing Aztec to undertake refurbishment of the 18,800 sq ft multi-let property. The result is impressive, reinvigorating the building.

For landlords, the refurbishment of an office building will both maximise rental income and enhance and protect the value of the asset in the future.

There was a time when refurbished space was viewed as inferior to new build, but thankfully that time has passed. Gone are the days of a cookie cutter approach, rows upon rows of desking and unimaginative design. We find that our ambitions are now very often matched by landlords, who appreciate the need to deliver space that is of a high standard and that allows the occupier to really make it their own – a reflection of their business and brand.

While shiny Grade A new build space will continue to be high on the occupier agenda, it’s positive that secondary stock is no longer considered the ugly sister; some of Manchester and Liverpool’s most impressive office spaces can be found within buildings categorised as secondary stock, with older buildings often providing interesting quirks and heritage features that design teams can work with when creating an inspiring environment for a business. These buildings are also often very well-located, close to transport links and amenities.

Manchester is a city not short of beautiful buildings, many of which haven’t seen a great deal of investment during the years when Grade A office space was more freely available. It will be positive to see some of these properties undergoing a face lift by forward-thinking landlords keen to realise their potential in occupier terms – and the quality of occupier, also.

With supply of Grade A stock so low, businesses and organisations that would ordinarily have chosen a new-build office will be looking elsewhere in the city.

Manchester’s leaders continue to work hard to attract world-class businesses to the city, while a raft of rapidly expanding, innovative new companies choose to call the city their home – Manchester has the highest start-up rate in the North West, with plans underway to turn the city into the “Shoreditch of the North”. It’s an exciting time for a city that continues to impress on the global stage.

With Manchester’s secondary stock in high demand, landlords that choose to undertake refurbishment works will no doubt reap the rewards.

Aztec benefits from 30 years’ experience delivering fit-out and refurbishment projects – you can trust that your project is safe in our hands, completed on time and on budget. Give us a call – we’d love to help.

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