Stephen Oliver, partner at Gatwick-based property advisers, Vail Williams LLP, shares his views on what to expect from the property market in one of the region’s premier business districts
It might not get the same level of attention as its Thames Valley neighbour, but Crawley and the wider Gatwick region has some of the most exciting office and industrial property opportunities in the South East currently.
Boasting one of the region’s premier business parks at Manor Royal, and with transport infrastructure connecting the town to London every two minutes, the Gatwick Diamond region has become one of the most saleable property and job locations in the country.
With jobs here projected to rise by 45,000 over the next decade (2012-2022) and more and more large corporates looking to join the likes of Nestlé, Elekta, Virgin and Deloitte in making this region home, what can we expect from the office and industrial property market here?
There remains a good level of supply in the Gatwick area, in particular in the Manor Royal District, for top-quality Grade A office space where rents are reaching £27.00 psf in places. And there are some exciting new office developments on the horizon too.
Indeed, such is the demand that some deals are being done on a pre-let basis prior to development, like at Nexus Gatwick Road where, on the advice of Vail Williams, Surrey County Council pre-leased 170,000 sq ft to L3 Technologies.
In recent months the area saw one of the largest office lets when, advised by Vail Williams, Regus took a 15-year lease from private real estate investors, Clearbell at Churchill Court, on 28,000 sq ft of Grade A space.
For the occupier, investor concern around the dreaded ‘B’ word means that there are, in fact, still good deals to be done - particularly where older refurbished buildings are involved.
When it comes to industrial and warehouse supply, there have been fantastic opportunities in older buildings which have undergone complete refurbishment, such as at Diamond Point in Crawley, where worldwide leader in flight simulation and training, CAE, took up occupation.
And this isn’t the only high-profile business to have already made the area home. With planning, acquisition and development advice from Vail Williams, the world’s leading oncology R&D specialist, Elekta, made Manor Royal their 110,000 sq ft home after a four-year design and build project.
As big brands continue to seek out this area for its excellent national and international connectivity, potential occupiers should be mindful of this Gatwick Diamond jewel, as it has the potential to appreciate in value in the blink of an eye.
For further information, please visit www.vailwilliams.com