Business News Serviced office boom may fizzle out

The end of Birmingham’s serviced office boom could be in sight – despite it accounting for 29 per cent of the city’s total office space take-up in 2018. In its latest report into the city

centre office market, independent commercial property agency KWB questions whether smaller companies will seek longer office leases due to the expense of serviced offices. Birmingham City University’s

acquisition of 118,240 sq ft at the derelict Belmont Works site in Eastside – the second phase of its multi-million pound STEAMhouse project – took the total space acquired for serviced and managed offices in 2018 to 215,316 sq ft – or 29 per cent of the total take-up. However, KWB’s head of office

agency, says the average length of contract in serviced offices has fallen to just six months – and the average length of stay is now around 21 months. Writing in KWB’s 2018 Birmingham Office Market Annual Report, Malcolm Jones added: “Some of this serviced office space will be taken by the Commonwealth Games which is said to require some 80,000 sq ft, and some will continue to be used by companies associated with HS2, although as phase one of the

‘Start-ups and smaller businesses looking for flexibility will also continue to use serviced offices’

project progresses from planning to construction demand may start to tail off. “Start-ups and smaller

businesses looking for flexibility will also continue to use serviced offices.

“However, the average length of

contract in serviced offices has fallen to just six months, and the average length of stay is now around 21 months. “More mature smaller businesses will undoubtedly continue to prefer

Contract length falling: Malcom Jones

traditional three-to-five year office leases, as serviced office space can prove to be as much as double or possibly three times more expensive per square foot than traditional office space. “By looking at the average

annual take-up of office suites of 5,000 sq ft or under over the past five years, we estimate that only 63,000 sq ft in the last two years may have been absorbed by serviced offices. “However, this falls far short of

the growth in provision for serviced offices, which may indicate high availability of space in some of these buildings. “Indeed so many operators have

moved into the Birmingham serviced office market in the past two years, it raises the question as to whether they can all succeed, even with the boost some are expected to receive from Commonwealth Games organisations.” “With the widely reported radical

reduction of Softbank’s proposed investment in WeWork, which prior to that announcement was expected to be the next major serviced office provider to take space in Birmingham, it remains to be seen whether 2019 will mark the beginning of the end of the boom in serviced offices in the city.”

A new lease of life for BID magazine

Birmingham-based agency Edwin Ellis Creative Media has been appointed by Colmore Business Improvement District (BID) to write, design and produce the BID’s ‘Colmore Life’ magazine. Colmore BID represents the commercial

heart of Birmingham with more than 35,000 employees and five million square feet of office space. It spends an amount of its levy income on

marketing and promotion of the Business District, in addition to public realm projects and major events such as the annual Colmore Food Festival, which this year takes place on 5-6 July. Colmore Life is a free, seasonal magazine

distributed to city centre offices, bars, restaurants and commuter collection points such as Snow Hill station. The magazine will be given a new design and editorial structure as part of the Edwin Ellis Creative Media commission, which begins with the summer 2019 edition. Edwin Ellis Creative Media is managed by

former ‘Birmingham Post’ editor Stacey Barnfield. The agency has an existing relationship with

Colmore BID through its management of the BID’s communications. The agency also produces ‘Edit’ magazine for Retail BID Birmingham and manages press


Focus on movers and shakers: Stacey (left) and Michele Wilby, executive director at Colmore BID

and PR for various Birmingham companies plus mass-participation events the Simplyhealth Great Birmingham 10K and Vélo Birmingham & Midlands cycle sportive. Mr Barnfield said: “We’re absolutely thrilled

to be working with the BID on Colmore Life magazine and thank the team for giving us the opportunity.

“We’re working tirelessly to bring the magazine to ‘Life’ with a new design and content that reflects a constantly-evolving Business District. “Expect to read about all the district’s

movers and shakers, launches and lunches, plus food and drink suggestions to fill evening and weekend diaries.”

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