Alexandra Page, business space surveyor, takes a look at the Solent property scene.
Over the past few years offices in the region have either been demolished or converted for alternative uses – primarily in the residential sector. This, combined with the lack of any new construction of office buildings, has led to a shortage of office space.
However, in spite of recent uncertainty and ongoing concerns around Brexit for some businesses, we are, in fact, starting to see the number of enquiries pick up – particularly for smaller office spaces ranging from 1,500-3,000 sq ft.
These are generally smaller companies that are looking to expand, which is positive news for the local economy in the Solent and surrounding area.
While there is very little in the way of newly-constructed offices in the area, we are seeing secondary stock being refurbished to a very high standard.
This is beneficial for the occupier, seeking an increasingly high specification, but is also good news for the investor or landlord, who can achieve higher rents – something we’ve witnessed at recently refurbished Grosvenor Place and the White Building.
As we’ve seen through our work advising on a number of industrial estates in the region, there is a buzz around the industrial market in the Solent with new industrial developments at Mountpark and South Central in Southampton, Alpha Park in Chandler’s Ford and Merlin and Pioneer Park in Portsmouth.
It is great to see these new developments happen but there remains a lack of supply of new build, smaller sheds to assist the new, growing businesses.
Demand was proven on the recent development on Hilsea Industrial Estate, a small unit scheme developed by Portsmouth City Council and a new development at Cobham Business Centre in Ferndown, where several units have been reserved, during its construction.
At Pioneer Park, there has been good take-up and there remain just two units from nine. Construction on the pre-let scheme at Dunsbury Park is also underway, but these are being built on demand.
This increase in future stock is much needed and should free up secondary stock, which can then be refurbished and given a new lease of life.
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