Few people know more about commercial property in Windsor than Christopher Thomas, managing director of property consultancy Christopher Thomas. Following a report in CoStar News of record Thames Valley rent at Canmoor’s Windsor Two, we asked him to explain what is really happening in the Royal town.

With the latest news of headline office rent records in Windsor, the jewel in the Thames Valley office market, it is worth reminding ourselves of the journey over the past five years.

The highest Windsor – and possibly Thames Valley – office rent was set at Morgan House by specialist agent Christopher Thomas, just before the June 2016 Brexit referendum, at £42.50 per sq ft.

This came with a relatively short rent-free period. The big overriding rents are the preferred benchmark, although the sub deals behind these – incentives such as break clauses, break penalties and other variables, often left unmentioned, – are important and produce a net rental figure.

Even during the pandemic, transactions were taking place in Windsor. Examples include York House, the 24,000 sq ft refurbished and extended offices, one of the first to take advantage of occupiers’ flight to quality space.

A rent of £30 per sq ft was achieved in the depth of the pandemic last year, followed by £35 per sq ft earlier this year. These rents came with lower incentive packages than the highest rents, more recently quoted at the Windsor Dials scheme (now called Windsor One and Two) and One Victoria Street, although with a similar net effective figure once all is taken into account.

With the amount of office space lost to residential conversion exceeding 100,000 sq ft, it’s encouraging to see the true, net rents at Grade A transactions are now very close to the overall record level set in 2016.

Windsor Dials, One Victoria Street and York House have all added space back into the market, combating the erosion of office space which had been taking place and moving the market forward positively, with good market traction and competing demand.

There is some additional and exciting office space coming to the market too. For example, Riverside House, two floors, each around 8,000 sq ft, totalling 16,684 sq ft and having excellent parking. Christopher Thomas and JLL are joint agents.

Also available is Saxon House which is currently being refurbished and provides a self-contained 13,100 sq ft.

Images (interior image): Morgan House

Images (exterior): York House

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