Posted 23 October, 2015 OBI BLOG
The agreement of a new headline rent for Manchester this month by Colliers International, which has agreed to take the 7,786 sq ft 12th floor at Chancery Place at £34 per sq ft is a big moment for the city. It has proved serious rental growth in the leading regional city and other cities can follow suit.
It’s nothing less than a ringing endorsement of the decision by the owner NFU Mutual Insurance Society Ltd to invest in this building – to spot that here was an address that could be Manchester’s premium business space. That refusal to compromise on quality has borne fruit. By the end of the year, Colliers will join a tenant list including the likes of Kyocera, Clyde & Co, HSB Engineering, Clearwater Corporate Finance and QBE.
NFU Mutual acquired the building in September 2014, immediately announcing its intention to do something spectacular. Since its completion in 2008, Chancery Place had performed creditably enough, securing some good tenants, but it’s probably fair to say that in a competitive market it didn’t stand out enough – Manchester’s got a lot of good buildings and good landlords and it takes something special to break the mould.
In our view, it’s a building that deserved a special touch, that could more than justify a premium tag. The location is hard to beat, right in the heart of the city. Built on an island site within the Upper King Street conservation area, amid some of the most stately buildings Manchester has to offer, it’s a really intelligently designed building, with the office floors ‘oversailing’ the street below, making the floorplates more generous than many expect.
Along with joint agent CBRE International and their property management team, design agency 90 Degrees, the OBI team worked with NFU Mutual to come up with a marketing campaign and leasing strategy built around making this Manchester’s premier office space. The whole idea was that everything about Chancery Place should feel different to a standard office, that it should be more reminiscent of a boutique hotel and a premium product. Somewhere with an atmosphere of quality that would inspire people.
The double-height reception is a five-star, informal business space in itself, with reassuring but discreet security. There’s a full concierge service, meaning that tenants and their guests can get on with business at hand without worrying about running errands and other small details. The showers and washrooms are best-in-class and maintained to strictest standards.
It’s the little details that count, and every member of the team that have worked hard to make Chancery Place what it is; know that. NFU Mutual deserve great credit. My long time friend David Hidderley of NFU Mutual said the deal “further underlines Manchester’s standing as a top performing regional market” and with landlords like NFU Mutual realising that they can find success with a premium product, it augurs well for the city’s inward investment prospects.