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News - 19/12/2016

Grade A ambition: transforming space to attract tenants

Wales regional head of agency, Steve Matheson, looks at how creating well designed business space can boost a region's economic prospects.

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Happier and more productive employees, regenerated city regions and growing companies creating job opportunities. That may sound like a wish list but in fact it is what is evidenced once the right commercial space is made available, says Steve Matheson, LSH regional head of agency in Wales.

In Wales, the importance of providing the ‘right’ space is something that LSH understands, and its relationship with Paramount Interiors, a local family owned business that designs and fits out offices, has resulted in a number of upgraded units and an improved offer to attract new tenants. 

One example is the first generation industrial units at St Mellons on the outskirts of Cardiff, which recently signed up new tenants including Capital Symonds and Quantum following a refurbishment of the space.

“Essentially it took on units that were no longer fit for modern business use,” explains Steve.  “Following a new design and fit out, the tenants were willing to commit to long-term leases and at a price which made the space viable for the landlord.”

Refurbishment that factors in today’s office requirements can command a premium, he adds, creating space that will be let at £15 sq ft compared to £4 per sq ft for stock that has not kept pace with modern demands.

The Q1 and Q2 buildings on Imperial Way to the west of Newport city centre are further examples. The location benefits from proximity to the main road networks but it took redevelopment to lift the property’s potential.

By creating large open plan space, with natural daylight provided by the feature atrium, the aim is to attract more businesses to the park that is already home to financial services software developers Target and commercial legal firm DAC Beachcroft LLP.

In Wales, the service sector is crucial, with the government reporting earlier this year that 33,000 people are employed in financial services, with a further 24,000 working in associated professional services – all of which will have an impact on the demand for commercial space.  Greater numbers employed in a certain area proves a boost for local businesses too, such as shops and cafes, which is why city centre developments bring wider benefits. 

Further west, in Swansea, the hope is that Alexandra House in Swansea will continue to build on the positive changes Coastal Housing developments have had on the city’s High Street. The multi-let office complex is set over thirteen floors with ground floor and basement car parking and to date, the building has attracted Tui Travel and Virgin Atlantic as occupiers.

"It is vital for our cities and wider regions that the space is there to match the commercial ambitions of business,” Matheson says.  “The right space attracts companies able to play their part in transforming our region’s prospects."


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