Birmingham city centre office take-up hits 153,550 sq ft as demand for top quality space continues

With education occupiers taking the largest space, the Birmingham city centre office market achieved a respectable 153,550 sq ft during Q1 2023 despite economic challenges.

Despite just 18 deals taking place, the total square footage achieved was in line with average take-up.

Education occupiers are top of the class

The two largest transactions of the quarter were both to education sector occupiers. This sector’s prominence has been growing in Birmingham over recent years.

Recently refurbished, Louisa Ryland House where education occupier, QAHE took the largest letting of the Birmingham office market in Q1 2023
Reception at Louisa Ryland House

The largest deal saw QA Higher Education (QAHE) take 45,180 sq ft of Grade A office space at Louisa Ryland House on Newhall Street, which has recently undergone a multi-million pound refurbishment.

The second largest letting saw Aston University taking 27,006 sq ft at The Citadel on Corporation Street – the last space remaining at the building – which is being refurbished.

The Citadel where Aston University has taken space in Q1 2023 as education occupiers were responsible for the largest deals
The Citadel, Corporation Street

 

High demand for high quality

The flight to quality continues to be a key trend in the Birmingham city centre market, as employers look to attract and retain the best staff, target ESG objectives and improve operational efficiencies by relocating to higher quality offices.

Other companies upgrading their office space during Q1 included insurance company AON, which took 22,709 sq ft at The Colmore Building, and Reach Media, taking 11,983 sq ft at 3 Brindleyplace.

Legal firm Weightmans also relocated to a smaller 12,158 sq ft base at 103 Colmore Row, which is one of the last remaining floorplates at the landmark office building.

Malcolm Jones, Director of KWB Office Agency, said: “The trend towards the highest quality stock remains present in Birmingham’s office market. Despite a current shortage, we’re fortunately seeing commercial property landlords and investors bringing forward more refurbished, high quality office space to help meet demand.

“This includes the 171,834 sq ft Colmore Gate, purchased by Ashtrom Properties in September who will refurbish the property inside and out.

CGI of Drum, Birmingham at the former John Lewis site at Grand Central as investors and developers bring forward high quality office stock to meet market demand
Drum, Birmingham, at former John Lewis site

“200,000 sq ft is also planned at Drum, the former John Lewis store at Grand Central, and Lendlease has plans for a £1.9bn regeneration project at the Smithfield site, where 330,000 sq ft of office space would be delivered in the first phase.”

“The outlook for Birmingham’s office market this year is positive, and we can almost certainly expect to see some larger transactions throughout 2023.”

For KWB’s full Birmingham office market research for Q1 2023, click here.

KWB is the leading independent firm of commercial property consultants for offices in Birmingham and the West Midlands. If you are looking for new offices or have vacant space to market, please contact Malcolm Jones on 0121 233 2330 or email mjones@kwboffice.com.

    Malcolm Jones, Director of Office Agency, KWB Birmingham and Solihull