SSE deal ‘a step change in the market’

SSE deal ‘a step change in the market’

by Alan Bunce, News Editor

Scottish & Southern Energy’s (SSE) massive deal to move into One Forbury Place, Reading, represents a step change in attracting occupiers to the town, according to one Thames Valley expert.

M&G Real Estate, which developed the building with development manager Bell Hammer, secured the letting of the entire 186,000 sq ft building to SSE through Campbell Gordon.

It’s the biggest deal in the region for 10 years and the biggest in Reading town centre for 25 years.

Keith Wise, director at Campbell Gordon, acted for both Bell Hammer and M&G.

He said: “This transaction represents a milestone for Reading. The town, which is now a city in all but name, has changed significantly over the past few decades, and has been attracting occupiers from outside the traditional tech sector for some time.

“These include Pharma and business service sector organisations who have been attracted by the availability of staff, and the business & transport infrastructure. But this transaction is more than this, it represents a step change.

“SSE are bringing significant numbers of staff from various locations to Forbury Place. This is in part because of the exceptionally high quality of the building, but it is also to take advantage of Reading’s elevated status as a commercial and transport hub.

“Reading’s great transport links and commercial qualities are not new, but they have been continuously improved over many years, recent examples include the new Reading station, and Crossrail.

“The town has reached a tipping point that means occupiers can now chose to locate in Reading, instead of London or its immediate environs, because of its hub status . We hope there will be further occupational activity of this sort, we have certainly seen other major occupiers look seriously at relocating from London and elsewhere, how many of them actually do it we shall have to wait and see.”

SSE is moving all 600 staff from offices at Winchester Road, Basingstoke, 300 of the 550 at Piper’s Way, Thatcham and all of those from its offices at Vastern Road, Reading to the new building once it is handed over next year.

M&G has now renamed its nearby One Reading Central, Three Forbury Place, and, according to Joel Hawkins, principal at development manager Bell Hammer, the letting of Number One bodes well for the next phase – Two Forbury Place – which will go up between the two buildings.