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rises in rental prices, as it has less land available for development. With supply weaker than demand, rents have hit £43 per square foot for premium properties, compared to around £34 for the equivalent in Jersey. Yet on the whole, Guernsey must ‘wait and see’ too. “Premises are still letting up reasonably


well,” says Tony Rowbotham, MD of commercial-property adviser Montagu Evans in Guernsey. “But no one is jumping up and down to sign overnight – it all takes a lot of negotiation.” The picture is hardly more dynamic


in retail property. Again, while Jersey and Guernsey have escaped the levels of empty units seen in the UK high street, their retailers are still suffering the widespread squeeze in consumer spending. In retail


Small- to mid-sized companies have real opportunities to secure second- tier office premises from landlords offering considerable incentives


lets, demand has come mainly from UK businesses seeking top-tier locations, Waitrose being the most notable arrival on both islands. Yet Jersey’s Liberty Wharf development paints perhaps the most accurate picture of the current state of play in retail on the islands. Around half the units in the £30 million development lie empty and many argue that M&S Home remains its only real draw, while luring shoppers to its out-of- the-way location has proved slow going. Despite SandpiperCI’s commitment to open more franchises at Liberty Wharf


and their bullish belief that all will come good, most shoppers are staying in St Helier’s traditional centre, which itself is under added pressure from online competition. Once again, a feeling of uncertainty dominates. “Retail demand just isn’t there at


the moment,” says Daniels. “It’s all ‘out on a limb’ a bit. If they do develop the Waterfront and Esplanade Quarter, Liberty Wharf will become the thoroughfare from there back to the historical town centre. For now, outside prime property, it’s bloody hard work.”


February/March 2012 PS 33





PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF THE STATES OF JERSEY


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