State boosts commercial rent sector


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The Independent Online

The Government is giving the commercial property market an unexpected boost: its efforts to streamline its portfolio mean the state will take up more than 1 million sq ft of new office space this year.

That is three times as much as in 2010, an increase that Mark Taylor, at the property agent Colliers International, said is due to a combination of factors, such as the Government wanting to consolidate staff into fewer buildings and seeking cheaper rents outside the capital.

Since 2010, the number of civil servants has shrunk by 86,000 to 406,000, and the Government has moved out of more than 2,000 buildings – the equivalent of one a day.

Central and local government have already signed up to 580,000 sq ft of new space outside London this year – up 25 per cent on the same period in 2014.

Lettings include the Home Office taking 54,000 sq ft at the MediaCityUK development Soapworks in Salford. The department will move services from a number of separate buildings in the Greater Manchester area under the one roof in 2016.

Mr Taylor added: “The Government has also sold a lot of vast beasts of buildings which were not fully occupied and cost a lot to run. These staff now need to be rehoused.”

Offices it has sold or  vacated include the long-lease of London’s Admiralty Arch, which raised £60m in 2012.