News | 25/02/19

Office Market Review shows record growth 

Office take-up in Liverpool’s Commercial District during 2018 increased by an impressive 46.8% compared to 2017, the highest take-up since records began, according to new figures released by Liverpool BID Company.

According to the latest Commercial Office Market Review, produced in partnership between Liverpool BID Company and Professional Liverpool,  there is now an extra 582,084 sq ft of occupied office space in the city’s commercial hub located around Old Hall Street.

Likewise, 2018 was also a record year for Liverpool City Region as a whole, with 867,586 sq ft being transacted, representing a rise of 32.7% on 2017.

This is the seventh year running that take-up has achieved in excess of 500,000 sq ft and shows continued confidence within the region.

Bill Addy, chief executive of Liverpool BID Company, welcomed the figures, but said there were challenges ahead, particularly the lack of Grade A office space availability.

Bill Addy commented: It is fantastic to see that Liverpool City Region’s office market continues to prosper, a scenario echoed here in the Commercial District, which recorded a record take-up. This is great news and again shows the Commercial District as the preferred destination of choice in the city region for the professional sector and creative and digital industries.

“However, the report does highlight the challenges we face. The fact that there is now no vacant Grade A office space remaining in the Commercial District is a major concern for the sustainability of the district. But work to reverse this is in play.

“Our investment in the Commercial District SRF (Spatial Regeneration Framework) and our participation in MIPIM demonstrate our ongoing commitment in safeguarding the future growth of Commercial District BID for the benefit of our levy payers and wider city economy. It’s also encouraging to see the ambitious vision for the creation of Grade A office stock in Pall Mall now taking a step closer to realisation.

“Driving investment into the area, promoting sustainable employment and its connectivity with other key developments across the city region, such as Liverpool Waters, remains our utmost priority for Commercial District BID over the coming years.”

Andrew Byrne, head of Property Group at Professional Liverpool, the body responsible for collating the date for the Office Market Review, said: The report once again highlights the challenges faced in the market, with lack of Grade A availability and the limitations which the existing stock has for filling this void. However, for the first time since 2011 we are seeing active development of Grade A offices within the fringe of the city, which is hopefully the start of the next phase of growth within the region.

“Despite having no Grade A availability, the Commercial District has once again dominated take-up and 2019 is shaping up to be another positive year for the district. However, the refurbished stock is unable to mask the lack of new build for much longer. It is vital we see development within the Commercial District in the not too distant future.

Liverpool City Council, along with the BID and Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), have instructed a consultant team led by Arup to produce an SRF for the Commercial District to attract new investment and allow planners to guide future development.

The team have spent the last three months undertaking consultation with local businesses, interest groups and LCC members to understand the site and identify issues and opportunities. The SRF will establish a vision with fundamental principles including a new identity, improved connectivity, innovative transportation modes and guidance to renew existing stock and protect opportunity plots for future commercial development.

The SRF aims to undergo a five-week consultation exercise this year to gauge the thoughts of the general public, local stakeholders and users of the Commercial District.