Solicitors have been instructed in a deal to relocate the Highways Agency to The Cube in what will be regarded as a major coup for the landmark Birmingham development.
The Government agency will move from Broadway at Five Ways to take 50,000 sq ft at the Ken Shuttleworth-designed mixed use scheme under construction near The Mailbox.
The Highways Agency’s requirement has been one of the most talked about within the commercial property sector in recent months with a number of other key developments initially thought to have been in the running.
The pre-let should ensure that take up in the city of office space for 2008 will exceed the annual average of around 600,000 sq ft thanks to other significant deals earlier in the year with Wragge & Co and Barclays both agreeing deals with Ballymore at Snowhill. The Highways Agency is set to take almost half of the 111,461 sq ft of office space at The Cube and will take occupation in March 2010.
Graham Dalton, chief executive officer at the Highways Agency, said: “It is increasingly important that as a Government agency we work in modern, high quality, sustainable office space which supports our people and provides them with the best tools for the job. We need space that allows people to work as efficiently and effectively as possible.
"With this in mind, The Cube offers us ideal accommodation for high performing teams at a competitive price.”
The Cube is The Mailbox’s final phase and comprises 244 luxury apartments, of which more than half have already been sold. In addition to more than 100,000 sq ft of offices, the 23-storey building includes a boutique hotel, shops, waterside cafe bars and a rooftop restaurant let to D&D London, formerly Conran.
As other significant commercial schemes have slipped during the economic downturn, Birmingham Development Company has pushed on with The Cube project and even launched its own construction firm, BuildAbility, to ensure the project is delivered on time and to specification.
Securing this pre-let ahead of a number of other high quality schemes in Birmingham is vindication of this strategy. Director of Birmingham Development Company, Mark Billingham, said: “The Highways Agency has an important role to carry out within the UK so it’s fantastic to have an occupier of this calibre taking in the space on offer. We look forward to welcoming them to The Cube in 2010.”
Rents in some office buildings have dropped in recent months in a bid to attract occupiers with questions being asked as to whether the city was suffering from an oversupply of Grade A space.
John Griffiths of GBR, who acted for BDC, said the deal showed that Birmingham’s commercial sector had the necessary stock to remain competitive.
He said: “In terms of take up levels, 2008 will undoubtedly stand out. We cannot hide from the challenges in the marketplace but not withstanding that, Birmingham presents itself with having a fantastic portfolio for investors.
“BDC have shown commitment with this project and that they understand what draws end users and this has reaffirmed their position as leading regeneration developers.”