'˜Brexit to blame for empty floors'

Brexit is being blamed for a lack of occupiers in a '¨Â£25 million Sheffield office block - which opened on the day Britain voted to leave the EU.

Thursday, 23rd February 2017, 9:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 28th February 2017, 11:34 am
3 St. Pauls Place, Sheffield. Picture: Marie Caley NSTB 3 St Pauls MC 6

3 St Paul’s Place has just two occupiers eight months after it opened. It means eight of the 10 floors are empty.

The building, which received £6.8m of public money, opened on Friday, June 24, 2016, the day after the Referendum in which 51.9 per cent of 17.4m voters chose to leave the European Union.

Building firm Arup was the first occupier, taking most of the top two floors. Handelsbanken announced in November it was taking part of one floor.

David Topham, managing director of developers CTP, said there were a number of deals in the pipeline. But the mood of uncertainty after the Brexit vote had hit take-up of office space across the North.

He added: “At the moment there are two quality occupiers in the building, Arup and Handelsbanken, and there are a number of deals in the pipeline which could prove transformative.

“There is strong interest in the building, which is very encouraging. We should remember Sheffield needs prime office stock to attract and retain business in the city.

“Clearly there is a mood of uncertainty after the Brexit vote and take-up of office space across all northern cities is slow. St Paul’s Place is no exception. Companies are thinking twice before moving. But it would be unfair and wrong to blame anybody apart from the occupational market itself for the slow take-up of office space in Sheffield.”

The project received £6.8m from the £23m ‘Jessica’ property fund which received cash from the Local Enterprise Partnership and Europe.

Mr Topham added: “The fund was instrumental in the development of 3 St Paul’s Place and played a pivotal part in creating the best office space in Sheffield. It was a brave move to develop a speculative office building in the middle of a recession and CTP remains content with the fund’s support.

“It is important to recognise this is the final phase of a hugely successful development, the Heart of the City.”