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    Guest blog by Fionnuala McCallion

    Urban Splash adds value and puts place before profit

    14 June 2024
    A 3 minute read by Fionnuala McCallion

    The way we work is changing, and our workspaces are evolving accordingly. We're moving far beyond the quick fixes implemented during COVID-19; today, the focus is on nurturing commercial communities where people can collaborate, convene, and create.

    However, this transformation comes with costs. In this article, surveyor Fionnuala McCallion of Canning O’Neill discusses the importance of investing in spaces—a practice that Urban Splash consistently applies across its commercial portfolio.

    Fionnuala is a valued member of our trusted agent team, assisting with buildings in and around Manchester. Recently, she successfully let our last remaining workspace on Richmond Street in the city’s Gay Village.

    Fionnuala McCallion of Canning O’Neill

    It’s funny that people still talk about COVID when contributing to the office discourse. Of course, it was the catalyst for a lot of change and new working trends, but the changing appetites of occupiers go far beyond a need to accommodate hybrid working.

    Agile and aware landlords like Urban Splash know all too well what occupiers really want. They want vibrant hubs in which their people can thrive. Those hubs need to be well-designed with features that promote occupier wellbeing – simple things like natural light and green space.

    Workspace at Boat Shed in Salford Quays

    Investing in the future

    Of course such features weren’t always part of Urban Splash buildings – the company adds value and redevelops old structures that were created for entirely different needs and eras – but they impress us all through their willingness to invest and sensitively and innovatively retrofit and add features where needed.

    Take Boat Shed in Salford Quays. Once a tired 90s office block, Urban Splash invested in the building, creating modern workspaces and adding things like a community hub and gardens overlooking the adjacent river.

    Urban Splash also ensured that Boat Shed moved away from the model once prevalent here – long leases and large floorplates – instead catering for everyone with workspaces ranging 270 sq ft to 8,400 sq ft and opportunities to adapt the space to make it your own.

    Workspace at Richmond Street In Manchester

    Nurturing commercial ecosystems

    It's also crucial to nurture these workspaces with dedicated community managers who help establish vibrant commercial ecosystems and foster relationships. These managers bring occupiers together not only within their workspaces but also through social events like yoga and lunch gatherings. This is a practice Urban Splash implements across its buildings, creating a sense of community and connection among tenants.

    Another example is Richmond Street. Situated in the city’s Gay Village, Urban Splash saw potential in this former textile headquarters, embracing its rich heritage and history (and original features), investing in new designs that would appeal to modern occupiers looking for a well-connected space. We’ve just completed a deal on the last available space here – proof of its appeal.

    The location of buildings like Richmond Street and Boat Shed also tick the connectivity box – each served by rail and tram networks just mere moments away from the buildings’ front doors.

    The needs of occupiers will continue to change of course; sustainability and smart tech will probably be the biggest investments for landlords in the coming years. But Urban Splash tends to be ahead of the curve, and has a proven track record for place before profit, adding value through expenditure and ensuring that the physical spaces it creates can nurture communities, are welcoming and allow businesses to thrive.

    I’m proud to work alongside them and look forward to welcoming likeminded, forward-thinking occupiers into more Urban Splash spaces in the years to come.

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