By David Cran Director Bradley Hall
EY’s latest Regional Economic Forecast recently revealed that Yorkshire and the Humber’s economy was the least impacted by the initial economic impact of the pandemic. Developers, businesses and organisations in our resilient and obust region continue to defy the odds and continue to create high quality and innovative direct, indirect and induced opportunities for occupiers, workers and
visors alike. The published report reflects positively on the future of our local economy, stating that; “Looking ahead, Leeds is forecast to bounce back between 2022-25 with annual GVA growth of 2.7%, in line with Harrogate (2.7%) and followed by Barnsley and Sheffield (both 2.6%).” The favourable outlook for Leeds is underpinned by a reassuring mix of sectors and gains in the administrative & support service and professional, scientific & technical sectors.
The professional services sector in Leeds is currently showing high levels of interest and acquisition of space in the city centre. Most significantly the legal sector is making big moves to new modern,
contemporary and sustainable offices – all staying ahead of trends and recognising the importance for collaborative, impressive flexible and futureproof space. Developments in the city centre are now
including state-of-the-art sustainable buildings that offer outstanding amenities
which support a holistic approach to physical and mental wellbeing which support the values of firms on an environmental, social and corporate level. The 202% year-on-year rise in office
space taken by law firms was driven by the biggest deal of the year by DLA Piper’s 83,000 sq ft pre-let at City Square House, a new building close to Leeds City Station which is being designed to support the
wellbeing and productivity of employees. There is also a clear post-pandemic strategy now in many businesses of prioritising both employee wellbeing as well as recruiting and retaining talent. Offices which reflect these approaches are often much more spacious and incorporate a variety of flexible workspaces like breakout areas, ‘quiet’ spaces, meeting and video meeting rooms.
Further driving investment in major firms creating larger and more significant routes in Leeds city centre is the decline in the lure of the capital. Big firms no longer need to hold a London base and many
influential figures and business owners are now holding more value in the quality of
life which can be enjoyed in Yorkshire. Sentiment continues to rise in the Leeds city centre commercial office market as key developments such as Aire Park take significant steps forward.
Leeds City Council recently approved plans for a new seven-storey building which will provide 75,000 sqft of office space and almost 7,000 sqft of ground floor space for retail, restaurant and other
businesses. The ground floor has been revealed to have been designed for a flexible collaborative space with cycle storage and changing facilities. The building has been designed by architects Cartwright Pickard to promote healthy commuting and active lifestyles and in a change from the typical, sealed air-conditioned office building, opening windows in a bid to allow fresh
air to circulate throughout the building. The building also has a large roof terrace with views across the park and impressive Leeds’ skyline.
Statistics and analytics from Savils has revealed that Q4 2021 saw an encouraging increase in take up – not just in comparison to the previous year, but on a five year average of the quarter. The report revealed “Q4 2021 take-up, totalling 146,503 sq ft, was 4% above the five-year Q4 average. This helped Leeds to a total annual take-up of 624,192 sq ft, representing a strong recovery from 2020 with a total increase of 85%. Furthermore, this was just 1% below the five-year average as the market looks to bounce back from the coronavirus pandemic.” The report has also highlighted the increase in prime rents, with a 6% hike
in 2021 and 26% growth since 2015 to equate to £34per square foot. Also depicted is the growth in office supply and vacancy rate since a significant decrease in space throughout 2018 and
2019, while takeup had grown to almost meet pre-pandemic levels – with Q3 of 2021 being the most active.
The combination of the economic forecast, evidence provided by recent activity in Leeds City Centre as well as a shift in office culture showcases that Leeds is set to further cement itself as a vibrant
hub of enterprise. It is an incredibly exciting and prosperous time for Bradley Hall’s expansion into Leeds city centre and across Yorkshire, where we will be offering a range of commercial property services
to clients. We were delighted to recently report 175% growth in its turnover for the Leeds arm of Bradley Hall at close of the financial year. The firm has been North East for 34 years we launched our Leeds operation two years ago, since welcoming several new team members including eight property experts, with two graduates lined up to join the team before the summer. We also have plans to create multiple
other job opportunities within the next year to meet growing client demand across Yorkshire from its Leeds base.