Wellington Place, Leeds city centre.
Wellington Place, Leeds city centre.
Nick Hill

Leeds city centre office take-up surpasses one million sq ft for first time ever

2017 was a record breaking year for Leeds city centre office take-up, according data compiled by the Leeds Office Agents’ Forum (LOAF).

According to new figures, Leeds city centre occupier activity last year totalled 1,014,615 sq ft across 141 office transactions, marking the first time the million sq ft mark has ever been reached.

A big contributor to occupier take-up reaching this milestone was the government’s decision to locate HMRC and NHS Digital to the city. In the largest office deal in Leeds and also outside of London last year, a 380,000 sq ft pre-let was secured at Wellington Place.

Other notable deals included the sale of Sovereign House (80,654 sq ft) to a confidential occupier, Burberry leasing 46,000 sq ft at 6 Queen Street and Sky Subscription Services taking 26,000 sq ft at Central Square.

In the last three months of 2017, five city centre deals over 10,000 sq ft, including the 80,654 sq ft freehold acquisition of Sovereign House and the 19,600 sq ft letting to Tech Hub at Platform, helped drive Q4 take-up to 216,893 sq ft, an 98% increase on the same period last year.

Richard Dunn from Sanderson Weatherall and spokesperson for LOAF, said: “With total Leeds city centre take-up surpassing full year transactional levels seen in Birmingham, Bristol and Glasgow last year, this activity reinforces our city as a major office location outside of London.”

In Q4 2017, the out-of-town office market recorded take-up of 51,354 sq ft, which was on a par with the same quarter last year. Of the 25 deals to complete, the largest was the 7,856 sq ft freehold purchase by Priestley Homes of Shepherd House, Elland Road.

In total, 322,954 sq ft was transacted in this market last year, compared with 312,000 sq ft in 2016.

Adam Varley from LSH concluded: “The speculative development pipeline has been active however the completion of 3 Wellington Place means that there is no speculative space on site due to complete this year which could make this record breaking take-up harder to replicate in 2018.

“Occupiers will increasingly need to come to market earlier to look at pre-let options and refurbishments will help to fill the gap.”

The Leeds Office Agents’ Forum was established in 2010. LOAF’s members include BNP Paribas, Carter Towler, Carter Jonas, CBRE, Colliers International, Cushman & Wakefield, Eddisons, Fox Lloyd Jones, JLL, Knight Frank, Lambert Smith Hampton, Ryden, Sanderson Weatherall, Savills and WSB.

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