Recently in Offices Category
Yesterday, bathed in sunshine, both Mills and Reeve's landmark building and Microsoft's new European HQ were both looking particularly lovely.
Mills and Reeve's Cambridge HQ at the end of Station Road is the closest to completion but Microsoft's office just a hop, skip and a jump towards the station on Brookgate's CB1 site isn't far behind. We hear the IT giant will be handed its keys just days before Christmas, although that deadline will probably slip into the New Year. You can see the boxes through the window in the picture so work onthe fit-out is definitely cracking on.
At Mills and Reeve it is now official that a floor has been sublet to KPMG, a deal we've been tipping since the start of the year. What happens to the accountants existing headquarters on Hills Road, is less clear but it's rumoured that the building is under offer. A likely contender is Pace Investment's Johnny Vincent, owner of the site the new Mills and Reeve office sits on.
We haven't backed that up at present but it's not a huge leap of imagination and it would mirror the deal that Johnny did with Mills and Reeve to secure it's requirement.
Both buildings were prelets although there is probably going to be some speculative development very soon when Brookgate cracks on with the Mott MacDonald prelet it secured back in July at CB1. If they do, then they'll probably do well. The lure of having Microsoft on your doorstep, in a city centre location, next to the station, in a new Grade A office, in Cambridge will be too big an opportunity to miss out on for many smaller occupiers in the market.
Figures released today by officebroker.com - and seen here for the first time - show that the number of businesses signing up for space in the city is up 24% on the same period a year ago.
But, they are signing up for less space. The report says that tenants are taking 40% less space (just under five desks) when compared to a year ago.
What's unclear in the report is whether these are fledgling firms being drawn to the local market (a good thing - little acorns and all that) or whether it's the same firms that have always eyed the city as a good location simply needing less space (decidedly less good).
Officebroker think it's the latter. It hopes that the figures show an 'influx of smaller, less established firms, hoping to get a foothold in the city'.
Yes, officebroker would say that, but the final quarter of this year might hold the key. It says Q4 is typically the strongest in terms of new entrants to the market. If those figures are up maybe Glasgow really is at the start of something good, and, as companies grow, put down roots then that's a boost for all those office agents with space to let.
Prices are on the way up, indicating that there is strength in the market. The average cost per workstation has risen to £231 per month (up £11), which, says Chris Meredith, head of UK sales at officebroker.com, means that costs now: "sit just above the Scottish average which indicates that a central Glasgow postcode is something business owners are willing to pay a little extra for."
Picture by Tedmurphy on Flickr
The GLA published the London Office Policy Review this week - LOPR 2012. It's the latest in a research series that stretches back over 20 years and includes data/forecasts spanning more than 40 years, between 1990 and 2031. Sandra Jones of Ramidus Consulting which worked on the report highlights some of the key findings.
"LOPR 2012 comes a pivotal time for the London office market. Even before the recession, thirty years of rapid expansion in the office economy was reaching a natural end. Office employment in London is forecast to grow at half the rate of the past two decades. Thus, there is little need for expansion of the office market beyond what is already in the pipeline.
But LOPR highlights other dynamics that will drive demand for new formats of office and related employment space, including: changing workstyles; technological innovation; infrastructure investment; loss of office stock to other uses and London's role in the global economy.
The big question for LOPR is whether the London Plan enables the development industry to deliver 'the right space, in the right place, at the right time, at a manageable cost to occupiers'.
"As the market returns from its summer break there is speculation that record office rents are being achieved and that the market is somehow exploding into a brave new world where £100 per sq ft rents are commonplace.
There is no doubt that 30 Berkeley Square (EGi news £) will offer a truly exceptional product, looking down, as it does, across Berkeley Square, the most prime address in Mayfair. There is no doubt records could be broken, particularly if it was let floor by floor or on shortish leases.
It has seemed hard, at times, to explain why, with relatively fragile demand through the recent recession, top rents have continued to rise, particularly at the very top end. It is partly because landlords have not felt the need to cut rents in order to facilitate lettings. They look at the lack of future supply and are prepared to sit out the difficult times and wait for the high rent paying tenants, rather than off load space at rents below their expectations.
This has meant a lack of evidence of any rental decline and a continuing picture of rental growth that has masked the paucity of demand. Behind the deals done there is the time that it has taken to achieve these lettings and traditional letting voids of 6 to 12 months being exceeded, with over two years being witnessed in some instances.
Ah, Project Digital. The 188,000sq ft Manchester requirement so secret, only four people in the city know who it is, writes Simon Binns.
Other media outlets have made a lazy stab at Apple, but other names including Cisco, Intel, Google and Microsoft have been thrown around in recent weeks.
But what will it actually be? All signs seem to be pointing towards an enlarged use of holographic modelling, extended toward a B2B audience that would usually be unable to afford access to the technology. Thin glass screens and white walls will be used to grab and store data as global colleagues push, pull and spin virtual environments in front of their very eyes. Imagine a verson of Minority Report set in a branch of Rymans. Possibly.
Simon Binns is Estates Gazette's North England correspondent.
Picture by eyeliam on Flickr
Just as technology companies have clustered around the 'silicon roundabout' of Old Street, record companies have begun to cluster in one area: Kensington and Chelsea writes Corey Kitchener.
Four major UK labels collectively fill more than a quarter of a million square feet of office space in the upmarket London district. Proportionally that's even more room then Mariah Carey's entourage takes up on a first class flight.
Warner Music, EMI, Sony and Universal occupy 266,000 sq ft of space in the W8 and W14 postcodes. The research, compiled by Frost Meadowcroft with additional research from EGi data, also shows that the four companies are spaced less than a mile apart around Kensington High Street.
Of course this is good news for all X Factor hopefuls who may be considering traipsing between labels in the hope of a record deal.
Celebrity spotters should note that there are eight major recording studios in similar postcodes, including the private recording studio of Bryan Ferry on Avonmore Road and Metropolis Studios on Chiswick High Road, where Kate Moss was surreptitiously filmed sniffing a line of white powder.
The UK's biggest ticketing company Livenation is also now based in the area.
Photo courtesy of p_a_h : http://www.flickr.com/photos/pahudson/
There are a few contenders for 'the big show' in Manchester right now, writes Simon Binns. Argent's One St Peter's Square is on site; Sheik Mansour is helpfully transforming the area around the home of his new toy, also known as Manchester City FC, and Realty Estates is demolishing the former BBC building on Oxford Road to make way for...well, who knows what.
The City Council is doing its bit too, spending £150m on the refurbishment of the Town Hall extension and the adjoining Central Library. Ask Developments will argue the significance of the nearby First Street.
But at the Northern end of the city centre, next to Victoria Station, the Co-operative has taken on 20 acres. Twenty. Acres.
The first phase of NOMA is its own brand new HQ, One Angel Square, is ready for occupation from early November - but EG got to have a look around before a single stapler has been moved across the road from New Century House.
This may only resonate with fewer than one per cent of the EG readership, but it looks exactly like the Hilton in Almaty, Kazakhstan. This is a compliment. It's five star and everything.
For those who haven't had the pleasure, it's big, bright and 14-storeys of impressiveness.
A huge central atrium - it can hold more than 300 people should it need to - is at the heart of the new building, which will be BREEAM outstanding and powered by rapeseed oil produced on Co-operative farms. Really.
There's a great-looking roof terrace on the 9th floor, as well as the one beneath it that forms part of the staff canteen. The latter is shielded from the elements by a huge glass fin but both give breathtaking views of the city. Light shoots around the building and you can pretty much see every floor from every vantage point.
The meeting rooms are decorated with reminders of the Co-op's past, present and future, and the firm has adapted the BBC at MediaCity-like policy of colour coding different areas depending in their function - concentrate, collaborate or create.
It's all very modern and progressive, and Co-op Estates team had looked at other companies' working practices, including the London offices of Virgin and PWC. It's a totally paperless office too, which has already been piloted in the old HQ and has met with mixed results, by all accounts.
Take a look at the gallery below and compare it to your own office. Or Kazakhstan hotels. Your choice.
Simon Binns is North of England correspondent for EG, firstname.lastname@example.org