GROWING IN REPUTATION
Strategically located just an hour from central London and less than half an hour from London Gatwick Airport, Brighton ‘the business centre’ is growing in reputation. Brighton is internationally renowned, not just for its tourist industry and trendy culture, but also big business, with American Express, BUPA and Legal & General all having established operational centres in the city. Brighton also has a strong student foundation, with two top universities in Brighton and Sussex.
Notably, Brighton also has one of the highest business start-up rates in the UK, ranked eighth in the country by the Centre for Cities.
The creative sector in Brighton is at the forefront of its growth, with a plethora of digital advertising and marketing agencies, design and gaming studios. The digital tech spectrum is widening, supported by talent from two universities.
Following the approval of £1.2 million investment from the Government’s Local Growth Fund, Wired Sussex and the University of Brighton are conducting a three year programme of 5G-related engagement. This is the UK’s first non-university 5G testbed. Impressively, according to the 2017 Tech Nation report, Brighton’s digital sector has grown by 29% since 2011.
SUB 4% VACANCY
Brighton has 4.6 million sq ft of office accommodation, predominantly located in the city centre, close to transport hubs and links to London. Over the past five years, development activity has been very limited, which, combined with an upturn in demand, has meant vacancy has fallen to below 4%.
CityView in the New England Quarter, completed in 2016, delivered 32,000 sq ft and represented the first major speculative completion since 2009. Developer McAleer & Rushe have now commenced work on the 62,000 sq ft Brinell Building. Completion is expected in Q2 2019.
The U+I regeneration of Circus Street is the only other office scheme underway. This will deliver 33,000 sq ft of office space alongside residential and student housing. Again, completion is expected in 2019.
KNIGHT FRANK VIEW
The development pipeline of offices in Brighton is naturally constrained by the sea to the south and the South Downs to the north. This concentrates an already tight office supply dynamic in a town where too few sites can be identified.
A cool culture, dynamic workforce, big business and entrepreneurial start-ups, creates perfect conditions for rental growth. Prime headline rents currently sit at around £31.00 per sq ft, although as new quality stock comes to the market we believe this will support further rental growth.
The Brinell Building is a good example as it will set record rents for the city and help cater to the pent up demand in the occupational market.