With so much of the media buzz about office space focussing on city centre buildings, it’s easy to forget that for a significant number of businesses, it’s not about the bright lights of the big city. In fact for many companies the suburbs and regional centres are where it’s really at.
Last month the Manchester Office Agents Forum (MOAF) showed that office take-up in South Manchester is breaking records – helped in no small part by Royal London’s acquisition of 140,000 sq. ft. at our very own Alderley Park – while Trafford is also set to top its 2017 figures. In fact, office take-up in South Manchester is outstripping leasing figures in the whole of Birmingham. As progress on the 5 million sq. ft. Airport City continues – with wellbeing and beauty retailer The Hut Group the latest big name to confirm they’ll be taking advantage of the site’s global connections – this trend is set to continue.
Locating beyond the city limits certainly doesn’t mean settling for second best. In fact, businesses are reaping some very big benefits by positioning themselves out of the main hustle and bustle of our urban centres.
Out-of-town spaces can build competitive edge and help attract talent especially when they’re located within easy access of affluent hot spots like Stockton Heath. For those with children, living near where they work – close to schools and doctors – for example, can make the day-to-day juggle of work and family life much easier. Easy access to the region’s motorway network or proximity to the airport can be important for mobile workers and international businesses. And for start-ups and freelancers, looking for their first premises or a cool co-working space to collaborate in, out-of-town options offer exactly what they want at a reduced rate.
It also shouldn’t be forgotten that regeneration means some locations, such as Altrincham, increasingly pack a punch as thriving ‘destinations’ in their own right. Similarly, the geographical footprint outside the city centre gives certain locations an inspiring appeal that simply couldn’t be achieved elsewhere. In Knutsford at Booths Park we offer a range of workspaces in a stunning period drama style setting boasting Georgian architecture, 220 acres of beautiful Cheshire countryside and landscaped gardens that provide a sense of calm and tranquillity.
Other locations, such as business and science parks also offer the amazing benefit of clustering. Businesses in the same field can come together, connect and collaborate to solve problems, to generate new ideas, innovate, and disrupt. Alderley Park, for example, is a life sciences ecosystem, economic centre and community in its own right – home to everyone for multinationals to start-ups.
At Bruntwood we are now investing a lot to ensure these out-of-town spots meet the evolving demands of our customers. As well as offering restaurants, gyms, shops and outdoor relaxation areas right on the doorstep, they even benefit from things like workshops and lectures, social and networking events and even cricket clubs.
For example, our own Trafford House in Old Trafford – popular with customers because it offers easy access to the city centre offers a range of stimulating spaces alongside other amenities such as virtual fitness classes from Les Mills.
With Greater Manchester’s office space continuing to boom, we don’t anticipate the demand for out-of-town office space disappearing any time soon. The city and its surrounding areas continue to outperform other regional centres and with the region performing so well, and at the forefront of so many innovations, it’s no wonder that businesses is thriving in every part of it.