Demand for flexibility is changing the Birmingham office market

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The demands of HS2 contractors for flexible office space continue to have a positive and potentially long-term transformational effect on the Birmingham office market in a quarter dominated by the largest pre-let for more than 10 years, according to Birmingham commercial property agents KWB.

Writing in KWB’s Birmingham city centre office market research for Q3 2017, Mark Robinson, Director in KWB’s office agency team, identifies the companies awarded HS2 contracts taking flexible space as a key factor in Birmingham office lettings in the third quarter of 2017.

Birmingham office market


Mark Robinson said: “Birmingham office lettings news was dominated by HMRC‘s landmark transaction at 3 Arena Central of 238,988 sq ft, which will account for nearly one third of the total office space transacted in the whole of 2017, but half the deals in the 10,000-25,000 sq ft bracket were for flexible office space.”

Of the six deals between 10,000 and 25,000 sq ft in Q3 2017, three were completed by managed office specialist, Instant Offices, which took traditional 10-year leases on office space in Cornerblock and 19 Cornwall Street, and then let this space as managed offices on flexible terms to HS2 contractors Laing O’Rourke/Murphy, Fusion and Kier.

Added to the space they took at Gateway House on behalf of Capita in Q2, Instant Offices’ procurements account for almost 50,000 sq ft (circa 8%) of the total office space transacted in the Birmingham office market so far this year.

Mark Robinson continued: “With HS2 contractors in particular, and office occupiers in general, looking for more flexibility in uncertain times, we could see Instant Offices begin to do for typical Birmingham city centre occupiers what they have done for HS2 contractors.

“Landlords who are prepared to be more flexible on their leasing terms will continue to do well, as Cornerblock has with its lettings to Arcadis, Beazley Insurance and Instant Offices, and Alpha with lettings of more than 11,000 sq ft to Allegis and Malcolm Hollis.”

Each quarter, KWB publishes research into the Birmingham city centre office market, listing all the office transactions and providing its view of the current and future market. KWB’s complete Q3 research for Birmingham city centre can be found here, and for the full list of transactions click here.

For information on the Birmingham office market, contact Mark Robinson on 0121 233 2330 or email