Decline in lettings of city office space

Looking forward: Rob 'Darrington, head of office agency at Lambert Smith 'Hampton in Sheffield
Looking forward: Rob 'Darrington, head of office agency at Lambert Smith 'Hampton in Sheffield
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Take-up of city centre office space in Sheffield fell dramatically in the final quarter of 2012, but the outlook for the coming year is healthy.

That’s the verdict of Lambert Smith Hampton, in the property consultancy’s latest office report.

LSH says city centre office take-up fell from 83,895 sq ft in the last quarter of 2011 to 19,379 sq ft for the same period last year.

Meanwhile, the combined city centre and out of town figure fell by 46 per cent, from 350,410 sq ft in 2011 to 189,889 sq ft 2012.

Rob Darrington, LSH head of office agency in Sheffield, said: “Although the take-up for 2012 has been low, looking forward there are a good number of key requirements for Grade A space in Sheffield, ranging from 10,000 to 50,000 sq ft, promising a healthier take-up for 2013.

“The availability of Grade A space in Sheffield city centre remains low however with 180,000 sq ft of grade A space currently available.”

While the average size of deal halved, the number of transactions grew.

Total city centre availability increased from 440,904 sq ft in the fourth quarter of 2011 to 460, 704 sq ft in 2012 due to a number of large secondary office properties being vacated. However just 21 per cent of the available city centre accommodation is Grade A and most of that is in more peripheral locations.

LSH says the total supply in the Sheffield office market currently stands at 815,276 sq ft, but only a third of that is Grade A space.

Low levels of Grade A space and a lack of new city centre development has prompted occupiers to look elsewhere and that has been reflected in the fall in out of town availability from 373,272 sq ft in 2011 to 354,572 in 2012.

Highest rents recorded in the city centre continued to be for space in Sheffield Digital Campus, but, at £20 a square foot, they were still £13 a square foot below the national average.

LSH says the most significant occupational transaction during the fourth quarter of 2013 was the letting of 7,100 sq ft in the Synergy Building, on Hartshead, to Thompson Solicitors.