Birmingham has emerged as a hotspot for converting offices into residential accommodation – as a drive to provide over 11,000 new UK homes gathers pace.
A report highlighting how 11,500 new homes could be created by converting 7.4 million sq ft of the UK’s obsolete office stock was launched in the Midlands by national commercial property consultancy Lambert Smith Hampton.
And the report shows that Birmingham has the most office-to-residential conversion potential, followed by Edinburgh and, in third place, Nottingham, according to LSH.
More than 80 property professionals from across the region attended an event at the company’s Birmingham offices where the latest research, Office Market Review 2013: Addressing Obsolescence – was unveiled.
Regional director of office agency Ian Leather told the audience that if obsolete offices were converted, the potential 11,500 new homes would fulfill 25 per cent of the total recently pledged by the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg.
LSH’s research analysed 32 regional markets and found that 27 per cent of total regional availability is obsolete (11.7m sq ft) and of this stock 7.4m sq ft is suitable for conversion.
The top five centres from the 32, where there are buildings in the right locations, with suitable layouts and residential demand, are Birmingham, Edinburgh, Nottingham, Slough and Manchester.
Ian said: “Modern workplace trends have changed office occupier’s requirements – they need flexible, open plan space and, crucially, less of it. In the last 20 years, the amount of allocated space per person in an average UK office has halved.
"Office occupier requirements will continue in this vein, meaning any stock that does not meet modern workplace trends is unlikely to ever be let again and while not every obsolete building can be converted a fair proportion could be.”