Simon Fryer, director of Fryer Commercial, reports on the success of the Bracknell office market where the town is bucking the trend of almost all other centres in the region.

The Bracknell office market has seen something of a renaissance since last Autumn.

In excess of 90,000 sq ft has been let, sold, or is currently under offer, in what many regard as tough market conditions.

First off, the NHS, represented by Fryer Commercial, took a lease on the 14,000 sq ft London House in London Road. The building subsequently sold to a private local investor for £3.4 million.

Then BioHorizons took 5,700 sq ft in Reflex, overlooking Farleymoor Lake in Western Road, a building with a large restaurant and tenants’ gym.

Just 11,000 sq ft remains in the 107,000 sq ft Reflex.

At One Arlington Square (pictured), lettings totalling 21,000 sq ft have occurred to SCC, Scholl, and, very recently, Tempestas Capital at £34.50 per sq ft – a new record for Bracknell – following a major upgrade. A further 3,750 sq ft is under offer.

At Phoenix House, off Western Road, all 18,000 sq ft, has just been sold to an expanding local occupier, subject to the lease of half of the space to the Department of Work & Pensions.

There is currently a combined total of 38,000 sq ft under offer at One Arlington Square, Greenwood in London Road, Maxis, One Station Square and 329 Bracknell in Doncastle Road. The agents involved in these deals include, among other, Fryer Commercial, Vail Williams, Bray Fox Smith and Savills.

The reasons for this activity, which are unique to Bracknell, are:

  1. There is a relative shortage of good Grade A stock, due to residential conversions of more than one million sq ft. This, along with a certain amount of take up, leaves tenants in the market with less choice than in other towns. The total of the best available Grade A stock stands at a little over 300,000 sq ft with around 200,000 sq ft of good Grade B stock. Ten years ago, the total figure stood at two million sq ft.
  2. Following Covid, working patterns changed and several Bracknell landlords have dug deep to significantly improve the quality of their buildings. A notable example is Capital London, owners of One Arlington Square, who have created a 5,500 sq ft restaurant/amenity zone and Grade A+ office space. Many landlords are trying to enable tenants to attract employees back to their offices, by giving the office more of a ‘home from home’ feel.
  3. Finally, unlike some of its larger neighbours, Bracknell is easily accessible to and from two motorways and has no traffic congestion, even in rush hours. The Lexicon Centre has also gone a long way to enhancing the town’s offer.
  4. Bracknell has its own BID area which is improving the physical environment in the areas concerned.

So there is currently an adequate stock of top quality offices in Bracknell with excellent in-house amenities, but a promising level of take up is eroding it fast.

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