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Thu March 04 2021

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Architect benefits from revival of the regions

30 Jun 14 Since 2009 there has been virtually no speculative office development outside of London… until now.

1 Forbury Place in Reading
1 Forbury Place in Reading

One firm of architects alone is reporting that it has four schemes under way and three others awaiting further instructions.

Listed architecture practice Aukett Swanke Group reports: “A clear change in the UK property market could be seen in the first half with the return of the speculative office market development outside of London – a phenomenon that has been absent since 2009.

“We now have schemes underway in Cambridge (150,000 sq ft), Reading (470,000 sq ft), Oxford (campus 1,000,000 sq ft) and Birmingham (195,000 sq ft) with three other schemes awaiting further instructions: Norwich (140,000 sq ft), Bristol (170,000 sq ft) and Sheffield (70,000 sq ft).

“That they total over two million square feet is news in itself but that some phases are being instructed to construction gives a far more positive view of the economic upturn in our sector and in developer confidence.”

In Reading town centre, Galliford Try is building the No.1 Forbury Place office development, designed by Aukett. It is a £38m project that at 185,000sq ft is one of the largest speculative developments seen in the southeast.

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Aukett Fitzroy Robinson changed its name to Aukett Swanke at the start of the year when it took over Swanke Hayden Connell Europe. It today reported its interim results for the six month period ended 31 March 2014. First half revenue from pre-acquisition operations was up 58% to £5.39m. Total revenues reached £7.58m.

There was £749,000 of pre-tax profit from pre-acquisition operations, turning around last year’s first-half loss of £79,000. UK pre-tax profit was £945,000, compared to £127,000 last year. 

The newly acquired Swanke Hayden Connell Turkey operation contributed £82,000 of pre-tax profit.

CEO Nicholas Thompson said: "We are extremely pleased by a very strong performance in the UK coupled with improving performances in Continental Europe and the new Turkish operation, all of which offer good signs of progress from previous turnover levels.”

He added: “Undoubtedly the UK is and will remain the greatest source of the group's future profit, based on the growth in the pipeline of opportunities and improving rate of conversions. The London market has provided much of the pick-up in activity to date, though we expect the regional UK market to begin to contribute meaningfully in the second half and into 2015.”

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