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31st January 2020
Recent research by Savills has highlighted office market activity in Guildford and the wider Surrey area. The report reveals that the town has become a creative and tech powerhouse, which has driven a higher rate of economic growth than comparable towns, however that growth could be dented in the future if occupiers relocate away from the area.
Research by Metropolis has revealed that medium/large office moves totalling nearly 700,000 sq ft have been signed in Surrey so far in 2019, including big moves for Gartner in Staines, Discovery Financial in Farnborough and GRENKE in Guildford. Recent leads from Metropolis have highlighted more than 80 occupiers searching, preparing to search, or agreeing moves in the county, including over a dozen in Guildford and others considering the town.
Savills say that a major contributor to Guildford’s success story in recent years has been the University of Surrey, through scientific and technological research, with a strong reputation in health, medicine, space, environment and mobile communications.
Surrey Research Park, attached to the university, encompasses 700,000 sq ft of office, research and development space, and is home to over 140 companies. One sector that has benefited from the tech focus of the area, is the gaming industry. Guildford is home to the largest cluster of video gaming companies in the UK, with over 60 studios and more than 1,000 employees in the sector, with further growth plans. Guildford’s gaming community was further strengthened recently when Electronic Arts committed their future to the town by consolidating Onslow House and expanding to lease a further 22,000 sq. ft. in 2019. There are now proposals for the research park is set to be extended with an extra 325,000 sq ft of space planned, as part of the Blackwell Farm extension.
The central Guildford market has benefited from Beltane Asset Management’s recently developed 42,000 sq ft at 255 High Street, and M&G Real Estate comprehensively refurbished London Square (much of which taken by Grenke), while Investra are speculatively developing 30,000 sq ft at Riverworks which is due to complete later this year. Savills say there is a threat of occupiers been drawn to the Oxford-Cambridge corridor and the M4. There have been several corporate relocations from Guildford since 2018 including Ericsson and Sanofi both moving to Reading.
Metropolis is talking to nearly 250 Surrey occupiers (50 in Guildford) that are approaching lease expiries in the next two years.
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