February 9, 2017
Researchers at the University of Birmingham have developed a way of investigating or diagnosing the challenges facing their home city that could be used to help improve the lives of city dwellers around the world. And the blueprint they are working with could help city policy makers and other countries to take more effective actions to boost the quality of life for residents by providing better outcomes. Project leaders are already looking at how the work might be applied in countries like India, Brazil and South Africa. The first part of the Urban Living Birmingham pilot project used a wide range of data and evidence used by city leaders to inform policy combined with an analysis of 248 datasets – identifying the challenges facing Birmingham.
February 3, 2017
Developers Knight Dragon have unveiled the details of a landmark £1 billion project as part of the Greenwich Peninsula regeneration in East London. Designed by architect and engineering firm Santiago Calatrava, the Peninsula Place development marks the latest shift in London’s shift eastwards. The scheme will total 1.4 million sq ft including a new tube and bus station, theatre, cinema and performance venue, bars, shops and a wellbeing hub. Above this will rise three office towers, apartments and hotels, all connected to the Thames by a new land bridge. The developers claim that Greenwich Peninsula is London’s largest single regeneration project. Over the coming years, the £8.4 billion transformation of the Peninsula will provide 15,720 new homes in seven new neighbourhoods: home to central London’s first major film studio, a new design district, schools, offices, health services and public spaces.
February 3, 2017
Commercial construction activity in the UK for the 12 months to the end of 2016 fell to £16.7 billion, down 14.1 percent on the previous quarter, according to JLL and Glenigan’s Q4 2016 UK Commercial Construction Activity Index. In London, activity declined in a quarterly comparison but increased 2.7 percent compared to the same period a year ago. Construction started at 22 Bishopsgate in London City which will provide a total of 1.3 million sq ft of office space, and is scheduled to complete in 2019. The 70,000 sq ft office refurbishment of 33 Gutter Lane also commenced in Q4 with completion scheduled for the second half of the year. Elsewhere it was a mixed picture across the regions with commercial construction activity increasing in the North East, South West and Wales, albeit from a relatively low base; but activity was more subdued in other regions, particularly in Yorkshire and the Humber were the level of construction activity fell 22.0 percent y-o-y.
January 31, 2017
London continues to be the region with the highest number of advertised vacancies (248,605) and the highest average salaries (£38,449), but its previously unassailable supremacy may soon be challenged, a new survey suggests. According to the latest UK Job Market Report from Adzuna real-time jobs data average salaries in the capital have fallen more (-3.9 percent) than any other region in the UK in the past year as salary growth in the rest of the UK catches up at a more consistent rate. This also represents a wider shift in the jobs market as the Government creates a solid post-Brexit UK economy that drives growth across the whole country. It is likely growing trends such as companies relocating their headquarters to cities outside the capital such as Manchester will continue as well as reinvestments into northern powerhouses to revitalise former struggling areas and industries. With competition for jobs per jobseeker per vacancy rising from 0.43 to 0.45 in January, jobseekers in the capital may have two hurdles ahead in the shape of a more competitive job market and pedestrian salary growth.
January 26, 2017
Demand for commercial property in the UK continues to grow even as the country prepares to leave the European Union, according to the latest quarterly Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) market survey. The report for Q4 2016 suggests that a large proportion of the increase was linked to the attractiveness of UK commercial property for foreign investors. But there are signs of trouble ahead, as the report acknowledges some negative expectations for London commercial property values amid fears the capital will bear the brunt of any Brexit-led departure of firms. Over the fourth quarter, overall investment enquiries were flat in the London office sector. Although the UK market has largely recovered from its post-Brexit slump, London has underperformed the wider market, with some projects being put on hold, property companies cutting rental growth forecasts and rents beginning to stagnate.
December 20, 2016
A rise in the cost of renting commercial property in Bristol is being driven by increased demand from TMT, professional and energy occupiers looking for office space in the city, with take up levels of Bristol city centre offices predicted to reach 800,000 sq ft (74,322 sq m) in 2016. This is 50 percent above the five year average of 533,000 sq ft (49,517 sq m), according to Savills. This influx has resulted in a significant decrease in the supply of city centre Grade A stock, with levels currently at 117,116 sq ft (10,880 sq m). In order to cope with the demand landlords, particularly those with TMT tenants are refurbishing their offices, with the refurbishment/redevelopment pipeline at an estimated 300,000 sq ft (27,871 sq m). Savills notes that as a result of increased demand rental growth has been seen in both Grade A and B stock in Bristol. Refurbished office space is now reaching rents of £27 per sq ft (£291 per sq m) in Grade B stock, just below the headline rent of £28.50 per sq ft (£307 per sq m). It is predicted that in 2017 rents on Grade A space will reach and exceed £30 per sq ft (£323 per sq m).
December 14, 2016
London commercial property has managed to weather the Brexit storm with a late surge of City deals over the past three weeks set to see Central London take-up in line with its long-term average level of 10 million sq ft in 2016. According to the latest figures from JLL, despite take-up in Central London being subdued in the lead-up to and immediate aftermath of the referendum, City take-up has surged during the last quarter, and is expected to reach 5.3 million sq ft by year end, just 6 percent below the long term average. This is offset by strong take-up in East London, where the recent deal to the GPU at Canary Wharf propelled take-up to 8 percent above its long term average level. The most notable deals of 2016 included – The Government Property Unit (GPUK) took 542,000 sq ft at 20 Cabot Square, E14 which was a sub-lease from Barclays; Apple pre-let 500,000 sq ft at Battersea Power Station, SW8 and will be paying a rent in the high £50 per sq ft; Thompson Reuters acquired 315,362 sq ft at 5 Canada Square, E14, paying a rent of £40 per sq ft; 33 Central, EC4 was pre-let to Wells Fargo who took the entire building, totalling 227,689 sq ft and New Look pre-leasing 127,096 sq ft at R7 Handyside Street, N1C for £77.50 per sq ft.
December 9, 2016
Major companies including Barclays and Vodafone were among more than 40 leading businesses, universities and business networks which pledged their support and backed the promotion of the Northern Powerhouse economy during a ’partnership’ conference held in Liverpool yesterday (8 December 2016). The North has over one million businesses, seven international airports and four of the world’s top universities, the conference heard. Its economy was worth £304 billion in 2014, similar to the whole of Belgium, while last year employment growth in the North East was the fastest in the UK. To help support the initiative a new dedicated Northern Powerhouse website has been launched to share the latest news, views and opportunities for established businesses and new investors. In addition, a Northern Powerhouse Partnership Programme aims to encourage businesses to focus on the key strengths and areas of development across the North – from connectivity to transport, skills to science and from culture to devolution. more…
November 24, 2016
Changes in business rates announced in yesterday’s Autumn Statement are likely to hit hardest the areas in the Capital such as Shoreditch and Fitzrovia where innovative tech companies are located, commented Jon Neale, head of UK Research, JLL. “The impact will no doubt undermine government plans to boost tech investment under its ‘Industrial Strategy’ announced earlier this week,” he said. “Meanwhile, office costs are high in London and post Brexit we need to minimise the risk that companies, will see cheaper continental cities such as Berlin as better bet place to set up shop.” He did add however that the promised “£1.3bn to improve roads and ease congestion is welcome and is likely to unlock development sites and promote economic development in many parts of the country. If the UK is to really address the challenges and opportunities of Brexit, investment in infrastructure needs to be more ambitious as well as more focused on an increasingly digital, hi-tech future. Green and smart city technology, new tram and underground networks and truly high-speed broadband would help provide precisely the platform UK business needs.”
November 23, 2016
The UK Government is at last to invest properly in the next generation of technological infrastructure to ensure the company keeps pace with developments in broadband, the Internet of Things and 5G. It is to invite the country’s major cities to bid for a chance to pilot 5G from next year. The technology is a key enabler of the Internet of Things (IoT) because it is up to a hundred times faster and more reliable than existing 4G connections. In turn, the IoT will boost the application of game changing technology such as driverless cars and smart building systems. Although the Government has recently focussed on headline physical projects such as HS2, it has come under sustained criticism for the country’s often creaking technological infrastructure.
November 15, 2016
Take-up of prime office space in central Manchester is on course to hit 1 million sq ft in 2016 and could be influenced by the impact of Brexit. The latest research by Colliers International suggests that overseas investors retained an interest in prime Manchester office space partly because of the devaluation of sterling following the Referendum vote for the UK to leave the EU – as proven by the recent £164m acquisition of the 288,000 sq ft One St Peter’s Square by global real estate investor Deka Immobilien. There have been a series of other major deals, including an insurance firm taking 165,000 sq ft of Grade A office scheme, a global law firm moving its global centre into an 80,848 sq ft development; and a government department negotiating a 60,000 sq ft deal. The legal sector accounted for almost 25 percent of total office take-up so far in 2016, followed by media and technology (16 percent) and business services (15 percent). However, all this activity may result in a lack of ready to occupy space in the city by early 2017.
November 8, 2016
The majority of UK cities and Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) areas are now outperforming their pre-financial crisis peak, according to the latest 2016 Good Growth for Cities index, produced by PwC and the think-tank, Demos. However, a number of cities that have previously scored highly terms of jobs, incomes and business start-ups are beginning to experience growing pressures on housing affordability, transportation and work-life balance. The report also warns that the elements of the Good Growth index could be impacted by Brexit, with housing, jobs and income potentially seeing the largest effects. However, it also points to post-Brexit opportunities including revised trade relations and regulations and the potential of new markets beyond the EU. Published today, the fifth annual Good Growth for Cities index measures the performance of 42 of the UK’s largest cities, England’s Local Enterprise Partnerships LEPs and the new Combined Authorities against a basket of categories defined by the public and business as key to local socio-economic success.