The UK regional office market is currently seeing steady levels of demand with Chelmsford receiving a surge of investor confidence. The city has been singled out as a prime spot for inward investment having recently retained two major businesses which have relocated their headquarters in Chelmsford – Amlin insurers and US owned cosmetics company, Benefit.
Amlin, is one of Chelmsford's biggest employers and is looking to double its employees when it moves into its new £13.5m development in the city.
The globally renowned specialist insurer’s decision to position their head office in the city is a clear indication to other businesses of the benefits of setting up in the county.
Highlighted as an economic hotspot
The city has also just been named the sixth most expensive place in the UK to run a small business outside London in a survey by the Alliance and Leicester's Commercial Bank which business leaders say is another affirmation of its success.
Chelmsford's primary business location, on the doorstep of London and Cambridge with easy access to London Stansted airport, is reflected in the market value for its property.
“In general expensive business locations are successful locations. Where better to do business than where the chances are you will be successful. Chelmsford is up there in good company in the top ten with centres like Milton Keynes, Cambridge and Oxford.”
Richard Bailey, Inward Investment Manager, INVEST Essex
Demand for office space outstripping supply
With London's West End once again topping the global list of the most expensive places in the world to rent offices, ahead of Hong Kong and New York, and with an average price of more than £1,443 per sq m per year in 2014, companies are looking for regional alternatives.
According to Cushman & Wakefield's annual report on global office space, predictions are that investment domestically and internationally is set to continue in 2015 with demand for the real estate market far outstripping supply.
As a result, rising demand and limited availability of grade A space will trigger interest but rents will be kept under pressure due to supply shortages.
Reasons to be positioned in Chelmsford
With grade A office space let between approx. £25-£27sq ft, as opposed to £62.50 - £115 per sq ft in London, Chelmsford is proving to be a very viable and attractive option to businesses looking to be within close proximity of the capital.
There are already 11,870 businesses in the area with Chelmsford, the biggest business base in Essex according to consumer insight experts, Experian. The financial sector, business administration and support services are well represented with International Financial Data Services, QBE, Royal & Sun Alliance, Royal Bank of Scotland, Amlin, Cofunds & Coutts, whilst science and technology companies such as e2v and BAE Systems take advantage of the city’s close position to Higher Education institutions as well as easy access to London, Cambridge and Europe.
There are currently numerous large scale office developments underway in Chelmsford with commercial development in the city focusing on almost 100,000 sq. m of office floor space.
Developments such as the Bellway/Marconi Evolution and Genesis/City Park West will see prime office locations available in the city centre from now up until 2017. Office space of up to 10,000 sqft will be available to smaller businesses whilst another site is offering 60,000 sq ft suitable for corporate or regional headquarters.
The growth in the city is not confined to commercial ventures with a large retail and leisure development also due for completion in Autumn 2016. Bond Street Chelmsford has a projected spend of £120million and is estimated to bring £67 million to the local economy and create 450 jobs. It will include a 300,000 sq ft shopping development with the John Lewis department store at the forefront.
This development will result in the city being known as a Premium Major Centre, sitting alongside other major shopping destinations such as York, Maidstone, Solihull and Tunbridge Wells.
About INVEST Essex
INVEST Essex promote the commercial opportunities of the county to businesses across the globe who could benefit from the county’s strategic location and proximity to London, Cambridge and one of the largest consumer economies in Europe.
INVEST Essex works with its commercial partners to ensure that potential investors have the best service and are assisted at all points through their journey to move and set up in the UK. They work with accountants, banks, solicitors, commercial relocation companies, fit out companies to give companies a quality end-to-end service and help them make the most out of their location decision.
The Alliance and Leicester Business Cost Monitor
The Alliance and Leicester Business Cost Monitor compares operating costs for small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in towns and cities across the UK, outside of Greater London. It scores each area according to the financial issues that impact on local small businesses from labour costs, business rates and rental values to housing costs and quality of life.
See here for more information on INVEST Essex