Businesses brave enough to buck office trend bagging prime locations

Jason Parker (inset) has bucked the pandemic trend by purchasing and renting new offices during the pandemic. 

Jason Parker (inset) has bucked the pandemic trend by purchasing and renting new offices during the pandemic. - Credit: Jason Parker

Businesses brave enough to take the plunge and secure new office premises during the pandemic are seeing their gamble pay off with prime locations on offer. 

Previously fears were aired that city centres would empty of office buildings as more businesses moved towards home working - but experts have said the freehold office market remains vibrant, and potential leaseholders could make some savvy deals.

Jason Parker is the founder and director of Parker Planning Services, a 30-strong team which has seen turnover jump by a third to more than a million pounds in the last year. 

He has purchased a building in Norwich's Cathedral Street, as well as opening new offices in Cambridge in November last year. 

He said: "Buying our own office site in a prime location was always something I wanted to do for the business after launching it eight years ago. During this pandemic I think a lot of businesses felt they no longer need their offices - but as time goes on our staff have let us know they are eager to come back to the office when they can do so for social and training reasons. 

"I think because of this shift away from offices our site became available - it was the sort of building I had been searching for for three years. 

"During the pandemic we saw demand grow so much because we didn't furlough anyone - which was a risk.

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"But it meant that we did have the capacity to bring more work on which other people in the industry didn't. We've hired seven people in the past year, and I'd like to continue bringing on new staff." 

Guy Gowing is managing partner at Arnolds Keys estate agents Picture: Arnolds Keys

Guy Gowing is managing partner at Arnolds Keys estate agents Picture: Arnolds Keys - Credit: Archant

Guy Gowing is the managing partner at Norfolk estate agents Arnolds Keys, and said: "The freehold market remains very active, with demand still outstripping supply for the businesses which have been 'Covid-winners' - if it's right to call them that - there are businesses looking to expand who have staff who want to get back in the office. 

"The leasehold market isn't as active as perhaps we would like. We're not seeing any reductions on rent but I suspect a savvy tenant could broker some incentives as long as they were prepared to sign a deal for a long term lease."

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