Office market in ‘solid start’

Sheffield’s office market has made a ‘solid start’ to 2011 with take-up in the first quarter exceeding the 2010 quarterly average, according to a research report.

Data from Knight Frank’s Regional Office Market Presentation research (ROMP) reveals that total office take-up was 68,104 sq ft for the first quarter of 2011 – a 51% improvement on the last quarter of 2010.

Sheffield was also one of only three UK regional markets where Q1 take-up exceeded last year’s quarterly average, increasing by 6%.

Ventana House, located in the heart of the city centre, accounted for almost half of Sheffield’s Q1 take-up alone. BSkyB has acquired 23,577 sq ft at the Sheaf Valley development, while the Coal Board Pension Trust and Michael Page took 5,773 sq ft and 2,932 sq ft at the building respectively.

Based on the ROMP findings, commercial property expert Knight Frank is now predicting an even stronger level of take-up in quarter two of this year.

Tim Bottrill, partner at the Knight Frank’s Sheffield office, said: “This is a solid start for 2011. Despite ongoing pressure on the public sector, 2011 is shaping up to see stronger take-up than 2010.” Notable deals currently in the pipeline include key buildings such as Aspect Court offering 38,000 sq ft in the city centre and Carbrook House, with 35,000 sq ft out-of-town space.

Activity was quieter for the out-of-town market in Q1, accounting for less than a quarter of Q1 take-up compared with nearly half the total in 2010. Wassenburg’s 8,000 sq ft acquisition at Smithy Wood Business Park was the largest out-of-town transaction in the quarter.

Following recent lettings, no Grade A space remains at Ventana House and St Paul’s Place, although development opportunities are available via pre-let arrangements.

Mr Bottill added: “Looking ahead, we expect Grade A requirements to continue to be fulfilled through 2011.”