Rare Commercial Property managing director Jonathan Mannings sees a new level of quality coming to the Thames Valley market which could see a new stage in what occupiers will pay.

Surely, the delivery of super-prime offices in the Thames Valley ought to lead to a step-change in office rents in the region?

There are so few examples of brand new, high quality office schemes of scale in the Thames Valley region right now, that those that do exist should make no apology for pushing the boundaries in setting new rental highs.

Many seem comfortable with accepting small, incremental changes in rent. Indeed, some almost appear opposed to significant changes.

Time and again we have seen rents increase at glacial rates. Yet, at a time when there are so few examples of truly brand new, groundbreaking space under construction (as opposed to simply tarted up, repositioned’ buildings), that the time has come to embrace super-prime in the region and push rents to never before seen levels, safe in the knowledge that occupiers seeking to occupy ‘best in class’ buildings in order to benefit from the competitive edge this provides them in the war on talent and in striving to meet their zero carbon aspirations, will be prepared to pay.

One outstanding example is One Station Hill which when completed will deliver 275,000 sq ft of the most technically advanced, amenity rich and inspirational space outside central London.

Commentators have suggested that rents for the scheme may be ‘approaching £50 per sq ft’ but surely, given its almost unassailable position as the ‘best the South East can offer outside central London’ rents should be more on a par with central London and instead of ‘pushing £50 per sq ft’ should be pushing £70/£80 even £90 per sq ft.

And if that sounds unrealistic and over ambitious simply ask where else is an occupier going to be able to claim that they occupy the ‘best’ space in the region? Period.

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