Assessing the ‘New Normal’

The Birmingham city centre office market recorded 61,474 sq ft across 5 deals, with the DWP taking 48,787 sq ft at B1 accounting for the majority of the take-up. This can be seen as a positive result for Birmingham in what was always going to be a challenging quarter. Shutting down large parts of the economy overnight was going to have drastic effects on economic activity at least in the short term.

The focus will now turn to how well businesses recover following the period of enforced economic slowdown, the coming months will soon reveal any casualties from this crisis.

45 Church Street

103 Colmore Row

Live Occupier Requirements

Pause for Thought

Encouragingly those occupiers with larger requirements (10,000 sq ft+) have pressed ahead over the lockdown period, albeit at a slower pace. However we are seeing several SME’s occupiers opting to stay put rather than commit to a new building as they brace themselves for the potential oncoming financial challenges that this crisis is likely to throw up at least over the short term. SME’s tend to work to shorter timescales which is also likely to have played a role in them retaining a holding stance with nobody yet knowing when offices can be occupied at their full capacity.

Construction Sector Gets Back to Work

Following a short hiatus and having adapted working practises to enable social distancing. The following schemes were quickly back on site:

  • 103 Colmore Row: Delivering 230,000 sq ft of Grade A office space in Q3 2021

The lockdown has resulted in a short delay to when these schemes will reach practical completion.

Shape Shifters

On the whole we haven’t yet seen occupiers make drastic changes to the amount of space they require. We expect this exercise of assessing future needs to be part of a much longer process when we do ease back to normality rather than a knee jerk reaction at this point in time. We think that reports within the media are largely exaggerated and we would expect many occupiers to reduce their footprints marginally going forward.