Spec Grade A office plan for Preston launched

A speculative office development opportunity in Preston city centre has been launched hoping to provide Grade A space to attract blue chip tenants.

The design for an eight-storey building, known as Altus, could provide up to 350,000 sq ft of office space with parking for 178 cars.

The site is on the corner of the ring road and Corporation Street currently occupied by Office Outlet, the former Wynsor’s World of Shoes shop and the Hill Street car park.

The prospectus can be viewed here: Altus office plans

The agent says the speculative development could be a “game changer” for Preston, but admits it will only get built if sufficient interest is shown by prospective tenants.

The prospectus for the proposed building says: “Altus will be developed in response to market demand. As soon as agreement has been reached for a reasonable proportion of the accommodation the development process will commence.

“Those with an office requirement should contact the agents for a general discussion.” The agent is Preston-based Parker & Company.

The question is whether, after decades of attempting to attract the kind of companies that demand Grade A office space without success, Preston can do so in 2017?

Property experts might advise building the high quality office space first and then take it to market so occupiers, perhaps a little uncertain of whether Preston is the right location for them, will have the comfort factor of knowing Preston can deliver.

Preston has just launched its strategy for creating a City Living culture in the city by encouraging new good quality residential development.

A holistic approach to regenerating the city centre would see new office space, commercial development and new homes all happening at the same time, but it requires the first developers to take the plunge and back Preston’s potential to the wider world.

Etc Urban Developments – www.etcurban.co.uk – is pioneering City Living in Preston with its loft apartment scheme about to get underway in Guildhall Street.

Neil Thornton, director of Etc Urban Developments, said: “Preston needs new Grade A office space to compete on a regional level and to be relevant in the Northern Powerhouse.

“Good quality offices will attract people who want to live in Preston city centre where we are at the forefront of providing the kind of city living accommodation professionals want to buy and rent.

“If tenants can be found for this Altus scheme it will signify that Preston can attract blue chip companies and will lead to further speculative commercial and residential development.

“There are a lot of opportunities to regenerate our city centre and we need to see new places for new residents to live and play as well as work.

“High spec offices will also help Preston retain its graduate population, which is a major driver of city living culture in UK cities.”

Successfully introducing a major speculative office scheme like Altus into a location like Preston, where no Grade A space currently exists, requires skilful marketing and positioning.

For the good of the city, it is to be hoped this latest attempt succeeds.

One alternative option would be to develop this large, strategic site into a more mixed use scheme with Grade A offices taking up a smaller footprint by adding in high quality residential to go with the retail and leisure options currently offered on ground floor level.

The residential element would fit perfectly into Preston’s City Living strategy and could act as an anchor for the commercial space.

There’s history there too. The site is where the old coal wharves sat at the very start of the Lancaster Canal, evidence of which can still be seen in the old warehouses in Fleet Street opposite.

A bit more joined up thinking could make this idea work and give Preston what it needs – quality office space and more residential to enhance the city centre’s offer to workers and residents alike.

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Neil Thornton

Neil Thornton

Director at Thornton Media
Neil Thornton is an award-winning writer and journalist who is an expert in property, housing, architecture and design.

He has been at the forefront of the UK property scene for 15 years and has been published in major newspapers, magazines and influential websites around the world.
Neil Thornton

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