Manchester city centre is benefiting, as the cluster of tower cranes shows, but so are sub-regional centres like Stockport and Bolton
After two decades of steady growth, a raft of new research shows that Greater Manchester’s economy is about to change again as it welcomes a new wave of national and international property investment.
According to law firm SAS Daniels, regional economic forecasts highlight the city region as one of the strongest performing in terms of both gross value added (GVA) and employment growth between now and 2020, triggering a positive ripple effect across the region.
The boom in regional centres
Manchester city centre is benefiting, as the cluster of tower cranes shows, but so are sub-regional centres like Stockport and Bolton.
According to data from Lambert Smith Hampton Stockport and Bolton have topped the UK for office demand.
The UK Commercial Property Review for the first quarter of 2018 from property investment website CoStar, ranked Stockport as the UK’s second most popular town for occupier demand, with Manchester coming in sixth and Bolton seventh.
The report sees the North West out-perform Central London (8th), Birmingham (18th) and Leeds (19th).
Stockport steams ahead
Stockport’s strong performance was aided by both Stagecoach and Music Magpie’s move to Stockport Exchange, the town’s only new central office building since 2002.
“Stockport council is keen to promote and improve Stockport and has been the catalyst for a number of new projects – Stockport Exchange and the S:Park development to name but two”, says SAS Daniels partner James Clarke.
“Regeneration is the key and the council has a clear strategic approach to achieve this. There are more sites ripe for both residential and commercial development around the town making Stockport a much livelier place to live and work.
Add to that its excellent transport links, including a new transport interchange with capacity to link into the Metrolink Tram network Stockport is attractive to incoming businesses.”
SAS Daniels says that the average rental yield of 8.27 per cent makes Stockport an appealing location for national and international investors.
The first office building, One Stockport Exchange, was fully let within just six months to Stagecoach and Music Magpie, which were looking for the perfect location from which to grow their businesses.
Andrew Gardiner, director of office agency at Lambert Smith Hampton, agrees.
“This latest research certainly shows the amount of activity and interest in towns and cities outside of our region’s major hubs, although there are some specific instances that could be skewing these figures,” he says.
“The Music Magpie letting has certainly done that for Stockport and Bolton’s performance is almost certainly a reflection of the growth of Middlebrook.
“Nonetheless, with London-based funds looking solely at city centre locations, it’s hugely positive to see that continued development and investment in the region’s towns is paying off.
“The research shows the relative improvement in these markets, reflecting the delivery of speculative office development in these areas.”
Business investment into Stockport is at an all-time high, with deals on over one million square foot of commercial space completed during the past 12 months.
Stockport council estimates this has created 2,060 new jobs and ensured another 952 stay in Stockport for the future, the news comes as the town continues to undergo a £1bn transformation.
Companies choosing to invest in Stockport have included Advanced Laser Technology, which moved to Reddish from Manchester; Prince’s Street dessert restaurant Creams, and LSH Auto who are investing £60m into a new Mercedes-Benz dealership and regional hub.
A number of local companies have also chosen to expand their business in the town including Rowlinson Knitwear, Wheatley Plastics, CDL and O’Neill Patient Solicitors.
At the same time, new developments across Stockport town centre are quickly filling up.
Not in Greater Manchester, but definitely in the Greater Manchester commuter belt.
Modern Macclesfield is a relatively prosperous town with an attractive centre around the Georgian town hall, 13th century church and cobbled marketplace and is the manufacturing centre for AstraZeneca, along with lots of light industry.
“A huge enhancement of Macclesfield’s retail and leisure capacity is on the way,” says Clarke.
“The existing Grosvenor Centre is about to have over 50,000sq ft of capacity added, and the upcoming multi-screen cinema and restaurant development at Churchill Way is bringing much-needed investment – and entertainment – into the town centre.
“While industrial units are still in short supply around the town centre, this boost to the local economy is likely to promote economic growth and attract new businesses.”
Warrington has long been an adjunct to the Greater Manchester office and industrial markets, thanks to its motorway locations.
The Cheshire and Warrington Growth Hub is launching the second round of its SME growth grants – a programme to help small to mid-size businesses to release their growth potential.
“Warrington is already well developed industrially and has one of the largest shopping centres in the north west.
“It continues to attract businesses thanks to its modern town centre with excellent footfall,” says the SAS Daniels partner.
To see the full map visit https://sasdaniels.co.uk/commercial-property-guide/.
Source: Manchester Evening News