The City of York Council is targeting serviced office operators as part of a drive to redevelop York’s iconic Guildhall building.
The Council is searching for a ‘commercial partner’ to redevelop part of the grand 15th century building, located on the banks of the River Ouse, and run it as a serviced office and business club facility.
Prospective operators are invited to register their interest before proposing a formal bid to manage the space on a minimum 10-year lease. A “bidders’ day” has been announced on Wednesday 9th March 9 at the Guildhall, during which prospective operators can tour the premises and put questions to the Council.
According to the initial brief, the Council’s vision states:
“York’s Guildhall will provide a world class business club and serviced office venue; supporting and nurturing the expansion of business in York, combining events and exhibition space with state of the art collaboration / co-working facilities and serviced offices at the heart of a historic and creative city.”
Approximately 1300 sq m of net lettable office space is available, along with the opportunity to incorporate additional facilities such as the Victorian council chamber meeting rooms (when not in use by the Council), the mediaeval Guildhall for events, and development of a roof terrace.
The Council has estimated that the new serviced office centre will generate over £66million of economic benefit for the city.
Councillor Chris Steward, Leader of City of York Council, said: “The Guildhall complex is one of York’s most iconic buildings so we’re sure this event will attract many interested parties. Bringing the Guildhall back into use with a mixed-use development including a new commercial offer will bring significant economic benefit to the city of over £66m in GVA.”
By directly targeting business centre operators, the Council is demonstrating the immense value of the serviced office industry both to business owners and the local economy.
Philip Grace, founder of i2 Office, claims that serviced offices are no longer considered a “last resort” for property landlords — and this move by the City of York Council adds further weight to this assertion.
Indeed, Cllr Steward himself states that: “The development will give local businesses the kind of space they need to thrive, whilst also safeguarding the Guildhall’s long-term future use.”
As for interested bidders, what opportunities does the city of York hold?
Jonathan Price of Business Centre Capital Co Ltd. comments that the property is “well located and has a lot of charm, but whether it is a good opportunity depends on the price”.
According to data from Instant Offices, there are currently 7 serviced offices clustered around the city centre. The nearest centres to the Guildhall are Blake House Business Centre and York Hub, both of which are 3-4 minutes walk away.
Interestingly, Regus lacks a presence in central York – their nearest location sits on the city fringes at Clifton Moor. However, the company operates more than 20 centres across Yorkshire and has made a noticeable push within the wider region over the past few months, having announced two new centres in Wakefield and Halifax.
Could they be in the running for a piece of York’s medieval history? You may well find out on bidders’ day.
Bidders can register their interest in attending the event online at www.yortender.co.uk