Office take-up ‘solid start’

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Sheffield’s office market has made a ‘solid start’ to the year with take-up in the first quarter exceeding the 2010 quarterly average, according to research by property consultancy Knight Frank.

The city was one of only three regional markets where office take-up in the first three months of the year increased – up by 51 per cent on the last quarter of 2011 in Sheffield to 68,104 sq ft and six per cent ahead of the average for the year.

Sheffield office partner, Tim Bottrill, said: “This is a solid start for 2011. Despite ongoing pressure on the public sector, 2011 is shaping up to see stronger take-up than 2010.”

Lettings in Ventana House, on Sheffield’s Digital Campus, between the railway station and the city centre, accounted for almost half of Sheffield’s first quarter take-up.

BSkyB has acquired 23,577 sq ft at the Sheaf Valley development, while the Coal Board Pension Trust and Michael Page took 5,773 sq ft and 2,932 sq ft in the building respectively.

Activity was quieter in the out-of-town market, where Wassenburg’s 8,000 sq ft acquisition at Smithy Wood Business Park was the largest out-of-town transaction .

Tim Bottrill added: “Looking ahead, we expect Grade A requirements to continue to be fulfilled through 2011. Although headline rents are unlikely to rise again this year, incentives will harden which should lead to rising rents in net effective terms.

“However, we expect continued downward pressure on rents in the Grade B market, due to weak demand together with increasing supply generated by market churn and rationalisation in the public sector.”