A little bit of Venice in Manor Royal - From the Manor
Palladianism is an approach to architecture influenced by the sixteenth century Venetian architect Andrea Palladio.
With its striking columns and satisfying symmetry, the Palladian office building in Manor Royal combines exceptional modern workspace with elegant style packed with high quality, contemporary finishes.
In this week’s “From the Manor” column we catch up with office specialist Will Foster, Partner at commercial agency Knight Frank who talks us through how his client has invested circa £2m to create a superb office building, while taking time to discuss the office market and how there’s more to Manor Royal than warehouses and factories.
More From the Manor columns here: Surviving and thriving through a global pandemic | Achieving long-term growth through diversity | Why GLP have chosen to invest and build in Manor Royal | From a field, to pharmaceuticals, to planes, James Bond and now something new - the story of one of Manor Royal's most recognisable buildings
Formerly known as “The Manor”, the transformed Palladian building is a 30,000 sqft office arranged over two floors and superbly located in Manor Royal road, and opposite Crawter’s Brook People’s Park, an award winning 5 acre park area described recently as a “little green oasis”.
“Manor Royal has a very well-established track record for new and refurbished office product,” explains Will on behalf of the owners.
“It is much more than a logistics area and has been for decades. It has achieved office rents that match those achieved both in the town centre and at nearby City Place. In particular, a combination of car parking (ever popular) and larger, efficient floorplates have attracted occupiers here.”
This goes someway to explaining why the owners have invested to upgrade the building, providing a host of improvements from new air conditioning, new WCs and showers, an extended reception area and re-modelling the external car parking and landscaping as well as fully respraying the building in a modern Anthracite grey – a notable feature for the casual passer-by, making it stand apart from some of the neighbouring buildings.
Perhaps less obvious is the outdoor breakout space and enclosed roof terrace and outdoor seating, so important now to staff wellbeing and the more discerning office occupier. But is that enough to entice people back to the office in a post-COVID world where businesses and staff have discovered remote and home working?
Whilst recognising the contribution that logistics demand is currently having in underpinning market conditions and driving up land values, Will remains confident about the future for office based work.
“Despite the inevitable market cooling post-Covid, and the initial upswing of “Working From Home”, many office based businesses are keen to see their staff back together – and mostly, the staff are also looking forward to a return to the office, at least part of the week.
“Office deals, whilst fewer in number over the last 12 months, have continued to happen, maintaining and even improving rental levels, but only for the best product. Occupiers are increasingly discerning, due to staff recruitment and retention, so we are seeing the better class buildings such as PALLADIAN tending to attract most interest. Secondary space is languishing, almost regardless of pricing, as poorer aesthetics, maintenance and performance issues and poorer environmental credentials do not appeal to occupiers, their staff and customers.”
The investment the owner has made in the Palladian building is another indication of the confidence in the office market in Manor Royal and the wider Crawley area. However, that only holds for the best offices that can meet the ever-increasing demands from businesses for high quality, attractive spaces in prime locations that can both support staff health and wellbeing and support creativity and collaboration.
Palladian appears well-placed to receive a new and exciting office occupier, creating new jobs in a diverse and interesting business location that is so much more than logistics, distribution and factories.
Find out more and take a virtual tour of Palladian at https://palladian-crawley.co.uk/
Find out more about Manor Royal at www.manorroyal.org