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14th September 2023
Demand for high-quality, energy-efficient office refurbishment in central London is spreading to other major cities.
The July Glenigan Construction Review shows that detailed office planning approvals in London were worth £1,882 million in the second quarter, twice the value in the period a year earlier.
Major office renovation projects where work has started in the capital recently show how developers are adapting space to meet employers’ need for premium quality offices. They include the £72 million Adelaide House Refurbishment at London Bridge (Project ID: 20174994) and the £7.4 million conversion of the former Academy of Theatre Arts in Islington (Project ID: 22445725).
Trend for refurbishment
But the Glenigan Construction Review also points to a significant growth in office work in the pipeline in the regions which suggests the trend for refurbishment is extending beyond the capital.
Sharp increases in the value of detailed consents for office schemes in the second quarter were seen in the North West (where approvals doubled compared to last year to £444 million), the South East (doubled to £291 million), Wales (rising six-fold to £119 million) and Yorkshire & the Humber (more than tripled to £138 million).
Privately-owned Grosvenor Group is one major London-based developer which is taking advantage of the growing demand for high-quality space in the regions. It has recently launched a £35 million capital investment programme which it says will transform its 500,000 sq. ft. regional office portfolio, which includes seven offices in Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol, and Leeds. The aim, it says, is to create best-in-class office stock by improving environmental performance and on-site amenities.
Strong environmental performance
Grosvenor investment director Nathalie Hakim recently said: “Across the UK’s leading regional markets there is high demand and limited supply of prime office stock with first-class amenities and strong environmental performance…. we anticipate will be a growing demand for a market leading office product with low operational and embodied carbon.”
Work has recently started on Grosvenor’s largest refurb project, a £25.34 million scheme at 134 Edmund Street in Birmingham where a year-long programme of works includes an upgraded heating and cooling system, a new arrival area, a business lounge, café, and gym (Project ID: 22335027).
Meanwhile, one of the largest regional office projects in the country should get underway in Bristol next year when work is set to start on a £100 million refurbishment and extension of Dyson Technology’s building at 1 St George’s Square. Detailed plans have been submitted for the scheme - which includes landscaping and the installation of a water source heat pump - which is set to run for 12 months (Project ID: 23139932).
Growing demand for Grade A, energy-efficient office space is also generating opportunities for new renovation contracts in the North West. In Manchester, M&G Investments has recently submitted detailed plans for a major £50.65 million office extension/alteration project at 50 Moseley Street (pictured) in the city involving work over nearly 23,000 sq m of office space where work is set to start early in 2024 (Project ID: 23071330).
Elsewhere in the North West in Warrington, Tilbury Douglas has been appointed as the main contractor on Project Springboard, a £14.6 million office refurbishment for client Element Materials Technology. Work on the scheme has recently got underway and is set to run for eight months. (Project ID: 23240771).
Across the Pennines in Leeds, detailed plans have been submitted for a £13.6 million office extension at 31 Wellington Street for client Asset Capital involving the partial demolition of an existing building and construction of rear and rooftop extensions. Work is set to start early in 2024 and run for 13 months (Project ID: 23071319).
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