Why are so many firms moving to Sheffield?

Manufacturers, marketers and trainers among newcomers to city addresses.

Thirty-five companies relocated or moved into Sheffield between January and March this year, with the newcomers taking up 170,000 sq ft – almost as much as for the whole of last year.

A new report from Creative Sheffield said among the highlights of the surge in interest were 6,000 sq ft going to marketing agency Jaywing at Albert Works on Sydney Street; 9,100 sq ft at Players House in Attercliffe sold to manufacturer Gripple and 6,000 sq ft to employment and training provider People Plus.

ARBA Group’s Meadowhall Business Park, close to the new Ikea development and Meadowhall, saw brisk business with 12,950 sq ft of space occupied by companies including NG Bailey, Chique Photography and Auburn Ainsley, with strong interest in the  rest of the business park.

The Sheffield office of Knight Frank was responsible for the biggest percentage of deals in the quarter, handling a third of the transactions, where senior surveyor Ben White said: “There was a blip last year following the first announcement about Brexit and then it was business as usual. There are currently over a dozen active enquiries for space over 10,000 sq ft. So far this year, moves have been occupier driven rather than inward investment.

“Following a shortage of high specification office accommodation there is now speculative development, such as Acero, the latest phase of the Digital Campus with 80,000 sq ft of Grade A space offering large and flexible floor plates. In addition is Steel City House offering 66,000 sq ft of Grade A office space in the Heart of the City, both ready for late 2017, which when added to existing well-appointed, city centre accommodation such as 3 St Paul’s Place, Westfield House and The Balance, occupiers do have some choice.

“With supply of prime offices diminishing, we are now looking at rental growth in the office sector, which is positive news for investors and developers.”

Total office take-up in 2016 reached 201,500 sq ft, 36 per cent below the ten-year average. In 2016, prime headline office rents remained unchanged at £23.00 per sq ft.