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Stellar year for Bristol office market

Tuesday, 03 January 2017

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Alex Riddell, Associate at commercial property adviser GVA in Bristol predicts another year of growth for the city’s office market

2016 has been another bumper year for Bristol’s office market with take-up likely to be around 800,000 sq ft, well above the five-year average of 533,000 sq ft.

Despite a relatively turbulent year in the wider economy with an EU referendum, the two major political parties electing new leaders and Bank of England cutting the base rate, Bristol appears to have weathered the storm of uncertainty relatively well, with continued good levels of occupier demand.

Overall sentiment remains very positive in the city centre with a number of new refurbishments now completed in the form of 1 Brunswick Square, Freshford House, Prince House, Augustine’s Courtyard and 31 Great George Street. All of these are looking to capitalise on the historically low levels of grade A and good grade B stock.

In addition to these refurbishments, we have seen the first speculative office development for some time with Cubex Land’s development of Aurora at Finzel’s Reach, which will provide 90,000 sq ft of grade A space, targeted to complete by the end of 2017.

Key transactions that are likely to grab the headlines in early 2017 are HMRC’s requirement for 110,000 sq ft which is likely to be housed in the pre-let deal at 3 Glasswharf and Arup’s requirement for 40,000 sq ft, who are in advanced talks with Complex Developments Redcliff Wharf. If agreed this is likely to set a new headline rent for the city.

The outlook for 2017 is positive, we expect to see a continued trend of growth within the tech and media sectors within the city centre and we anticipate the supply chain for Hinkley Point, the largest single construction project in Europe, to bring new occupier activity to the out-town market. With this said, there is still an air of caution within the marketplace given the on-going negotiations around Britain’s EU exit, concerns over Italian banks, forthcoming European elections, impact of President Trump coming to office, to name but a few.