Basingstoke is ready to take advantage of strong occupier demand for quality office space in the Thames Valley, with a choice of new Grade A office schemes recently completed or under development, writes Kate Dean, project director (Basing View and commercial), Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council.
Massive new investment in offices and industrial space, housing and infrastructure is renewing the town and changing perceptions.
At Basing View, the town’s 65-acre central business district, work is starting on two major new development projects and a further speculative office scheme has just received planning consent.
Construction of a new 45,000 sq ft headquarters building for international pharmaceutical business Eli Lilly and Company will begin next year. The new building, which is being developed as part of the council’s regeneration partnership with Muse Developments, is scheduled for completion in 2020 and is the first to be supported by the borough council’s innovative Invest to Grow Fund.
Abstract Securities recently completed its new 60,000 sq ft Grade A Florence Building and Muse Developments has now been granted outline planning permission for Benchmark, a new 40,000 sq ft office development adjacent to the Lilly headquarters.
Provision of a high quality hotel is well on the way to being delivered at Basing View, with Village Hotels developing a 153-bedroom business-class hotel with conference and leisure facilities, restaurant and a coffee shop.
The combination of quality office space, new amenities and a location just five minutes’ walk from the town centre and train station, with fast links to central London, Reading and major regional cities, is very appealing to potential occupiers.
Since the start of the year, around 100,000 sq ft of office space has been let at Basing View, and more than 250,000 sq ft across Basingstoke as a whole, making it one of the Thames Valley’s best performing office areas. According to the latest RARE Seat survey, office rents in Basingstoke average £27.50 per sq ft compared to £38 per sq ft in Reading and cost effective rent levels alongside locational and quality of life benefits are among the town’s key attractions.
A number of existing office schemes at Basing View have undergone significant refurbishment over the past year, including the 95,000 sq ft Matrix House and Network House, which is now more than 80% occupied. The council is also planning to redevelop Norden House, after purchasing it earlier this year.
Working in partnership with the Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership, the council has established Basing View as a key site in the London and South Innovation Valley Enterprise Zone, a multi-site cluster across Surrey and Hampshire.
The Basing View Enterprise Zone covers around half of the business district and is attracting fast growing, successful companies, not just for the financial benefits, but also because enterprise zones are perceived to be exciting places to do business.
The 2018 Tech Nation report rated Basingstoke as one of the top five UK locations for productivity in the digital tech sector and one of 16 tech towns with above average levels of digital employment.
Basing View has a thriving tech community. The SETsquared Partnership operates an incubation hub for high-tech start-ups in Basingstoke and has supported around 30 start-ups. Basingstoke is also home to an open access 5G test bed, available to businesses, after the borough council joined forces with the University of Surrey’s 5G Innovation Centre.
Alongside the £500 million regeneration of Basing View, Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council is planning for the future with a new £300m leisure park and designer outlet village and one of the largest residential developments in the South East on land in public ownership, Manydown Garden Community.
Cllr John Izett, cabinet member responsible for property and development said: “Basingstoke is on the up. Its accessibility, quality of life and growth potential is increasingly being noticed. That is why we are attracting huge new investment from the likes of Urban&Civic, Wellcome Trust, New River and Abstract Securities, as well as funding from central government, to make the borough an even better place to live and work.”