The popularity of the business
parks in Oxfordshire continues
unabated in attracting high tech
At MEPC’s Milton Park there is an
initiative to bring in a green travel
plan to help companies to inspire
their employees to make travel
changes by bringing in consultants to
advise businesses. The measures
include a free bike loan scheme,
upgraded car sharing, more electric
car charging points and the creation
of the Milton Park Travel Forum.
MEPC’s Philp Campbell said: “Our
green travel plan is all about helping
people who can change the way they
travel here to do so”. This, of course,
fits the image of high tech
companies in the region.
Oxfordshire business parks
generally are popular with high
An example of this is Rezatec, a
geospatial data analytics company,
that is relocating within Harwell
Campus and into the new Quad One
building which completes this year.
The company’s technology allows
businesses to make decisions about
their land based assets through the
analysis of complex Earth
Observation imagery and data.
William Cooper of Harwell Campus
said: “Rezatec is an important asset
to us within the space cluster at
Harwell. The success of the cluster
has brought the ‘Harwell effect’
which we are using as a model to
create new clusters in the HealthTech
and EnergyTech sectors”.
Retailing in Oxfordshire has been
given a fillip with the opening of the
Westgate in Oxford, designed by
Chapman Taylor, the largest new
shopping centre to open in the UK
this year. It is a joint venture between
Landsec and the Crown Estate.
The 74,320 sq.metres (800,000sq.ft.
is anchored by a John Lewis store
and has a range of blue chip retailers.
It has the city’s first public roof
garden and a range of eating places.
Phil Durrans of Chapman Taylor
said: “The Westgate Oxford
redevelopment is an exciting addition
to the city centre, offering a unique
world class shopping destination for
the students, residents and tourists
who visit the city every year”.
Seldom can a regional market
have so much to celebrate as is
true of Reading in achieving
record rents, a record forward
funding deal and top level year
of take up.
That is the message from
Haslams after last year’s record rent
in excess of £118.36 a sq.metre
(£11 psf), with trade counters even
better than that, and take up of
60,322 sq.metres (649,325sq.ft
31% above the five year average.
Even more impressive is that
Haslams reckons that take up
would have been even higher if not
for the lack of stock, particularly for
medium and smaller units.
Naturally enough the agent
anticipates that rents will continue
to increase this year because of the
endemic problem of a shortage of
stock together with strong demand,
which is being led by distribution
space for e-retailers.
There is more to come from
those that have been slow to adapt
to this demand factor. Among the
major lettings was a warehouse to
Argos at Island Road, south of
Reading which is close to Peel
Logistics’ big scheme.
This location is also attracting
new developments. Other major
projects in the pipeline are Kier
with a trade counter (a speciality of
theirs) and Aberdeen Standard at
Suttons Business Park as well as
McKay at Theale Logistics Park.
Even so, the chances are that
supply, which Haslams puts at
63,376 sq.metres (682,199sq.ft
will shrink further, particularly as a
substantial part of the availability is
in one large building at Island Road.
Interestingly, the record levels of
business were not reflected in the
investment market which had seen
a record in 2016, apart from the
forward funding by Exton Estates
with Equities Property Fund of
South Africa with an interest rate
of 4.25% (which Haslams believes
is a national record).
Haslams considers that
manufacturing could play a larger
part in the market with the push for
electrification of vehicles and
driverless cars. Also playing a major
part this year is the competitive
rate for Sterling which should
encourage foreign investors into
the region. Otherwise Haslams sees
2018 as a period of rising rents,
consolidating yields and slow
progress on new developments,
hindered by a shortage of land.
It is a landlords’ market with
declining incentives and pressure
on potential occupiers to take
longer term leases with 10 years
becoming more common.
Commercial Property Register
February - June 2018www.compropregister.com
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Another positive voice for a
firm market comes from
Savills that predicts companies
will have to make decisions
about their real estate needs
in 2018, having held back
Looking ahead, Savills believes
that the life sciences sector will
see significant take up as demand
remains strong and the sector
faces renewed focus as part of
the UK government’s new
industrial strategy. Indeed, the
largest requirements in the
market are from this sector, such
as Sanofi, Merck, UCB and Novartis.
Savills’ Jon Gardiner said: “We
are confident that larger corporate
occupiers will resume making
decisions in 2018 and commit to