Amazon Looks To Manchester For First U.K. Regional HQ
Amazon is hunting for a 70K SF Manchester city centre base as the Northern Powerhouse city’s tech sector rows ahead.
The fast-growing e-commerce firm could add its first U.K. regional HQ to its existing North West portfolio of warehouses, according to the Manchester Evening News.
It is thought to have looked closely at a number of city centre offices, including Deka’s 271K SF No. 1 St. Peter’s Square, where 80K SF is vacant.
Amazon is already investing heavily in the city, adding floor space at a fulfillment centre at the Manchester Airport City development. The 260K SF warehouse developed by Manchester Airports Group and logistics specialist Stoford has been extended with two internal mezzanine levels, adding 654K SF.
Manchester’s tech sector head count has been expanding fast. According to TechCity data Manchester has around 63,000 tech jobs – almost as many as the combined total for the other Northern Powerhouse cities of Liverpool (23,000), Leeds (24,000) and Sheffield (19,000).
Data from Knight Frank shows the tech sector eating Manchester office floor space. Tecnology, media and telecommunications accounted for 39% of Manchester city office take-up in the first quarter. This represents a sharp increase from 28% in 2016.
Rapid expansion has taken tech occupiers out of edgy districts like the city’s Northern Quarter and into the central business district.
CBD landlords that focus on the tech sector are being rewarded with rising rents. Manchester-based landlord Bruntwood invested £8M in the refurbishment of a 12-storey block in the city’s central business district.
Five months after the letting campaign began, the 52K SF Neo scheme is expected to be fully let this autumn with top rents around £30/SF, close to the city’s peak at £34/SF.
Allied London has been appealing to a similar market in the speculative new-build XYZ building. The 240K SF property is in one of the city’s prime professional districts, Spinningfields, another sign tech is creeping into areas traditionally dominated by finance and professionals.
“The rapid growth of tech — practically doubling year on year — is prompting landlords to rethink how they approach CBD office blocks," said Mark Shufflebottom, office agency specialist at Knight Frank in Manchester.
"The results have been some good rents on higher floors and a massive reduction in void periods after speculative development. Where they might have planned for 12 months void, it's now down to six months or less,” Shufflebottom said.
“This is a real testament to a sector that’s growing fast and pushing into the CBD from the Northern Quarter and other hangouts like Salford’s Media City.”