CoStar’s Analytics Team has found that Stoke-on-Trent has witnessed its highest annual office leasing for five years, following a key letting to the Home Office.
Take-up totalled 108,000 square feet in the 12 months to the first quarter of 2023, the highest annual amount since the second quarter of 2018, following this stand-out deal and a handful of sub-10,000 square feet lettings.
In November 2022, the Home Office took 38,350 square feet at Two Smithfield in Hanley, the largest letting in the city since 2018, when insurance company Davies Group took the same amount of space in the building.
The Home Office has committed to creating 500 new jobs at Two Smithfield as part of the government’s Places for Growth initiative, which is set to relocate 22,000 civil service roles from London by 2030.
Two Smithfield is part of a £200 million mixed-use quarter, developed by a partnership between Stoke-on-Trent City Council and Genr8 Developments. The addition of the Home Office will help to reinforce the scheme as a key city centre gateway and attract more footfall to Hanley and the surrounding areas.
The scheme was built in 2015 and with One Smithfield has occupiers such the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner and co-working company, the Instant Group. The buildings are also Stoke’s first BREEAM Excellent rated office spaces.
There have also been a handful of sub-10,000-square-foot lettings, including a number at Festival Park where several larger occupiers are based, such as Bet365’s headquarters, Vodafone and engineering company Wardell Armstrong. As well as Festival Park and Smithfield, the area around the station is another focal point for offices, where larger occupiers include Stoke-on-Trent City Council and debt collection agency Advantis.
The recent strong leasing activity has been outweighed by occupiers moving out of older stock, however, meaning that net absorption in the city has been negative over the past two years. Vacancies have therefore risen from their cyclical low of 2.5% in 2020 and sit at 4%. However, this is comfortably below the national average and there will be little upward pressure from new supply in the coming years, with little development underway.
Original Reporting from CoStar.com.