It’s been a long time coming, but the Government Property Unit’s Government Hubs programme, which aims to consolidate staff from multiple departments into larger, modern offices in a bid to cut costs and increase efficiency, is at last producing the goods.
In mid-August, it was announced that the GPU had signed up for 24,710 sq m in Cardiff, as well as a further 25,804 sq m in Liverpool, while in July it took space at Artisan Real Estate Investors’ New Waverley in Edinburgh. Then at the start of September it emerged that the organisation had agreed another letting at Taylor Clark Properties and BAM Property’s 27,871 sq m Atlantic Square development in Glasgow – one of the biggest deals in the city’s history.
Further deals are expected to follow shortly, with negotiations underway in Stratford, London – it was also announced over the summer that the British Council would move to the area – as well as Leeds, Birmingham and Belfast. All the potential deals would be of a similar size to those seen over recent months.
Then there are GPU requirements that have yet to be met in Nottingham and Newcastle – which suffers from a chronic lack of new grade A stock – as well as the huge 27,871 sq m requirement in Manchester that could in the future balloon to 83,612 sq m.
What remains to be seen is whether the deals will provide the shot in the arm for regional office markets that the GPU expects – or whether they will simply distort quarterly take-up figures.