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What is important for the market

in the region is that as many

towns as possible share in the

improvement.

For example, there has been

more activity in Basingstoke with

FCB Halesway, a leading healthcare

company, relocating from Andover

to the Midpoint building in a deal

brokered by JLL.

One major reason for the move

is to have access to the skilled

labour pool in and around London,

as well as more space for an

expanding work force.

Nella Pang of JLL said: “The

company is relocating to be near

communication links and local

amenities which means they will

have access to new skills and allow

them to grow the business”.

Another letting has been managed

by London Clancy with HC Group

moving to Network House, Basing

View. Mark Clancy said: “It is important

to keep such a company as HCR

within the Basing View Business

Area given their longstanding

connections with Basingstoke and

their extensive customer base”.

Even before Crossrail reaches it,

Reading is strengthening its top

position in the region, exemplified

by a large new development by

Hermes.

It has submitted plans for a

mixed use project of 111,480 sq.metres

(1.2 million

sq.ft

.) adjacent to

Reading station with eight buildings,

the tallest being 24 storeys.

Apart from a substantial amount

of residential accommodation, the

former Royal Mail Sorting Office

site will have 33,444 sq.metres

(360,000

sq.ft

.) of offices. The

attraction for potential tenants is

not only Crossrail when it is totally

completed in 2019, but also British

Rail’s plan to double the number of

services an hour into London to four.

Reading is, of course, the key

town in the Thames Valley with

Lambert Smith Hampton putting its

proportion of the regional office

market at a quarter. In 2016, 94%

of the space let was Grade A.

The popularity has pushed office

rents up to £395.43 a sq.metre

(£36.75 a

sq.ft

.) in the town centre

and only slightly less than that in

the out-town business parks.

Tom Fletcher of LSH commented:

“Reading has performed strongly

in 2016 and even more strongly in

the first quarter of this year. Those

buildings that offer a little more

quality and amenities continue to

attract the most attention”.

On the other hand, Reading has

the second highest vacancy rate in

the Thames Valley at 19% after

57,134 sq.metres (615,000

sq.ft

.)

of new space came onstream in

2016. LSH believes that take up this

year will be ahead of the average.

An example of a new occupier is

the recruitment firm Austin Fraser

who is the first tenant of the

Thames Tower, a landmark building

by Landid and Brockton Capital,

which has a restaurant, sky lounge

and large rooftop terrace.

James Silver, Development

Director at Landid, said: “We are

delighted to welcome Austin

Fraser. Their ethos matches our

own – lively, innovative and

focused on people”.

One new site on the market

which offers huge potential is the

BBC’s 93 acre historic Caversham

Park, being marketed by LSH,

whose Philip Hunter said: “This is a

prime site of scale and location in

the most affluent part of Reading,

just two miles from the railway

station”.

Commercial Property Register

October 2017 - February 2018

www.compropregister.com

8

NEWS

TOP

dog

BETTER IN

Basingstoke

Branson

Faced with so many question

marks about the future it is

rewarding to contemplate the

buoyancy of the Thames Valley.

It is not merely that the existing

towns are in rude health but also the

dynamic of the business parks in

many places, particularly Oxford.

The conventional view is that all the

high tech and science parks are

around Cambridge but Oxfordshire

belies that image.

At the home of the UK’s nuclear industry, Harwell is performing

strongly as a centre for high tech businesses, as is the ever popular

Milton Park which now has a new and formidable institutional investor

from Canada.

With its new Lexicon Shopping Centre, Bracknell should have a

renewed lease of life because it now offers local occupiers a much

improved offer through the rebuilding of one of the post war New Towns.

Also significant is the steady performance of Basingstoke with a

healthy leasing market.

However, the significant factor will be Crossrail and how it affects

development in the Thames Valley. History tells us that new stations

become nodal points for growth but in the case of Reading it also has

a much enhanced rail service.

Surely this improved transport will attract more companies to locate

there and increase the number of skilled jobs. That will mean more

business for Heathrow, once again putting pressure on its capacity.

Mark Clancy

Caversham Park

Thames Tower

Picture courtesy of Jack Hobhouse

Philip Hunter