West Midlands

The West Midlands is one of the United Kingdom's strongest regional economies. The area is home to Birmingham, the country's second most populous city and a thriving centre of economic activity. According to the most recent economic predictions, the West Midlands economy currently accounts for nearly 7 per cent of the UK's total GDP, and certain economic sectors are set to grow by up to 6 per cent during 2014. This is undoubtedly good news to business owners looking to establish their presence in the region.

Key office locations in the West Midlands

Birmingham

The city of Birmingham and its surrounding metropolitan area are some of the UK's prime office space locations. According to a report published in 2013 by GVA, there are nearly 12 million square feet of office space in central Birmingham. Some of the city's largest office developments include Brindleyplace (560,000 square feet); the multi-let office building at 1 Colmore Square (203,000 square feet); the 145,000-square feet building at 125 Colmore Row; and One Snow Hill, a newly built 260,000-square feet office development.

The report mentioned above also provided useful information on the grade of Birmimgham's office stock. Approximately 40 per cent of all office space in the city is Grade A space, whereas the remaining 60 per cent is equally split between Grade B and Grade C space. During the last decade, take-up rates have been averaging 710,000 square feet per year. In terms of rental values, prime office rents have remained more or less stable and are currently set at around £28.50 per square foot.

Office space available in Birmingham

Vacancy rates have gone down from 17.6 per cent in 2009 to the current 14.7 per cent. However, market analysts predict that the office accommodation sector is likely to experience an imbalance between supply and demand from 2015 onwards.

The area has a large supply of business centres, the most notable of which are the Birmingham Business Park (which offers office units ranging between 1,467 and 35,900 square feet); the Blythe Valley Innovation Centre (currently offering smaller units of between 291 and 1,335 square feet); and the technology park developed in Longbridge by St Modwen, which has 11,000 square feet of available Grade A space.

Coventry

Coventry has the second biggest and most active office market in the West Midlands. Some city centre locations, such as Greyfriars Court, have attracted a great deal of interest and are currently 86 per cent full. Average rents are in the region of £17 per square foot. A study published by the West Midlands Regional Spatial Strategy Group shows that Coventry has the region's third largest volume of office stock, with nearly 2 million square feet of built office space.

However, the city is experiencing an acute shortage of newly built office floor space, and this applies to out-of-town locations too. More than 85,000 square feet of additional office space have been proposed by private developers Deeley Properties and Oakmoor Estates. In the meantime, the vast majority of office space is available in out-of-town business parks, such as Westwood Business Park (a 65-acre site that offers convenient access to both Coventry and Birmingham), and the Whitley Business Park, a redevelopment project led by St Modwen that offers bespoke office buildings and speculative.

Office space available in Coventry

Wolverhampton

With more than 2.5 million square feet of built office stock, Wolverhampton has the largest amount of office space west of Birmingham. The city's public sector employs over 9,000 people and is therefore the city's most important occupier. Offices in Wolverhampton city centre are typically small (under 1,075 square feet) and average rents have been stable for several years, currently averaging £12 per square foot. Vacancy rates are rather low when compared to other regional centres and currently stand at 10.7 per cent.

The local Unitary Development Plan has designated Wolverhampton's city centre as a strategic regeneration area, hoping to increase both the quality and the availability of modern office space. The city council has already invested £1.2 million in various regeneration projects, such as the expansion of the Wolverhampton North Enterprise Zone and the refurbishment of the Queens building. Once completed, the Westside project will offer an additional 155,000 square feet of Grade A office space. A project to redevelop the area near the train station into a £10 million office development has been recently approved and is expected to be completed by June 2015.

Office space available in Wolverhampton

The city's largest business park (Wolverhampton Business Park) is also planning to develop a further 168,000 square feet of space by 2021 in order to accommodate the growing demand for high-quality office facilities in the area.