Occupiers returning to the office are using the opportunity to upgrade – and in some cases driving record rents.

Deals completed in recent months have included firms moving to smaller, but better, space prompting a flight to quality.

Windsor has proved a hotspot for Grade A space, driven in part by a lack of stock in the town following several years of conversion of older office stock to residential accommodation.

National property media has reported a record Thames Valley rent at Windsor Two where Neilson Financial Services took 7,600 sq ft of £43.50 per sq ft, shortly after InterContinental Hotels took 58,000 sq ft Windsor One at a rumoured £42 per sq ft.

Also in Windsor, One Victoria Street, a 48,000 sq ft office, was let to InterSystems in a deal completed by Vail Williams at £43 per sq ft.

Vail Williams partner Charlie Nicholson said, rather than choosing to reduce their space, a number of occupiers are opting instead to swap the possible savings for better quality accommodation.

He said: “One Victoria Street was the first new build speculative office development in Windsor for 20 years. It was a fantastic result to see this through from planning to completion and leasing within weeks of practical completion on such good terms was testament to the quality of the product.

“We are seeing the flight to quality every week, as employers look to make the office environment as welcoming as possible. We have seen, on average, the headline rent paid by occupiers jump around 40 per cent on their previous passing rent level as they secure the best-in-class space.”

Four-storey One Victoria Street has features such as boutique hotel-style finishes in the common areas and commuter services areas along with private roof terraces overlooking Windsor Castle on the top two floors.

Mr Nicholson said environmental, social and governance (ESG) credentials were key to the decision to speculatively develop the building during the pandemic.

He added: “One Victoria Street was designed with sustainability and wellbeing at its heart with EPC A and BREEAM Excellent ratings, a sedum roof, photovoltaic solar panels on the roof, extensive planters and electric car charging ports to meet the modern occupiers’ requirements as well as delivering long term value for property investors.

“Given the pandemic, the majority of forward-thinking occupiers are putting employee health, wellbeing and productivity to the top of the agenda.  In another first for the Thames Valley, the reception area features a designated wellness room, complementing the feel of nearby Windsor Great Park, a short walk from the building.

“To respond to the evolving wants and needs of the modern office occupier, the development also incorporated the latest technology and connectivity standards, receiving a WiredScore Platinum rating.”

Some of the world’s largest businesses including Centrica, Nintendo and Konami have been attracted to the Royal town by its transport links and access to Heathrow Airport.

Image shows the wellness room at One Victoria Street.

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