A market that has retained its occupier base and added to it through high quality new supply, but there are challenges ahead.
Uxbridge presents all the core ingredients of a talent magnet – a place that is able to attract and retain high skilled workers and support high-growth, high-tech companies. However, strong physical connections to central London via the Metropolitan and Piccadilly underground lines may be overshadowed by the opening of the Elizabeth Line and Uxbridge’s lack of integration.
Housing, available at a much lower-cost than the majority of London and the South East, supports outwards migration of younger people seeking to get on the housing ladder. Uxbridge is primed to benefit and will subsequently bolster its already highly skilled employment base, one which is regularly replenished via Brunel University, which itself is home to more than 13,000 students.
Possibly perceived as a two deal town (Nexen and CCE), Uxbridge has successfully retained its business base. Occupiers such as Giff Gaff, Jazz Networks and Lavazza have all maintained their commitment to the town, citing the powerful combination of highly skilled labour and highquality office space.
The notable enhancement of the built stock within the town centre market has been key to attracting occupiers from surrounding centres. Two key office buildings – namely The Charter Building, developed by Landid / Brockton, and Belmont, developed by Aviva – have raised the bar in terms of quality. Consequently, these schemes have achieved success in drawing occupiers into the town-centre, with recent examples from surrounding the hinterland being Regeneron and Tracelink UK.
In November 2016, Hillingdon Council notified the market that it would introduce an Article 4 directive that would prevent the further conversion of office stock into residential units. The policy did not come into effect until November 2017 and as a result there was a rush of Permitted Development applications issued in the hiatus period.
These applications have served to reduce the volume of spaces available in the market but also drive an increase in the quality of stock overall. This has changed the rental profile of the area and we anticipate rents of £37.50 per sq ft will be achieved over the next five years.
The old adage of ‘build it and they will come’ seems apt for recent market dynamics in Uxbridge. The provision of high-quality office space at both The Charter Building and Belmont has attracted increased occupier attention both from within and outside of the town. This is a useful counter-balance to the removal of lower quality space from the office inventory following the rush of Permitted Development applications.
The next 24 months are crucial for Uxbridge as the profile of the office market is tested by the opening of the Elizabeth Line. A combination of a vibrant town centre and tube connections must win out if occupiers with lease events are to stay.