Citibase on Expansion Course with “more good news” to Come
One of Citibase’s new properties, located in Fareham.
UK serviced office provider Citibase are continuing their expansion trail with the addition of two new business centres. Both formerly managed by Start Business Centres, Citibase’s takeover – which officially commenced in July 2010 – signals a positive march forward for the company and solid demand for the flexible office market.
The expansion also sees the firm continuing to explore unchartered territory by introducing further new locations to their inventory in Fareham and Woolwich, bringing their total property portfolio up to 27, and expanding their nationwide coverage which now reaches from the north of Edinburgh, to the southern shores of Brighton.
The firm’s new property in Fareham offers a total of 21,000 sq ft of space, equating to around 296 workstations, while the new Woolwich location has 19,500 sq ft of space, converting to 282 workstations.
Under former management, both buildings were at a steady 69% occupancy, but since the acquisition Citibase has already brought the Fareham centre, based in a modern building close to junction 9 of the M27, up to 75%.
Following the announcement of the new properties, Richard Axtell of Citibase says that the company have a firm target in mind.
“We have an informal target of 50 business centres,” commented Richard. Although this is a clear marker for Citibase, which is headed up by Chief Executive Steve Jude, Richard suggested that their timescales are a little more flexible, as their priority is ensuring that each new location is a “good fit” with their existing offering.
“Unofficially we would hope to achieve our target of 50 business centres during 2011,” he said. “Although we have no fixed timescale on when this will be delivered, our board are clearly focused on delivering a good service to all our existing clients too.”
Our continuing strategy will be to deliver good quality, well located business centres for cost conscious SMEs, and we will continue to be the dominate player for this market.
Richard Axtell – Citibase
Citibase’s commitment to offer quality space for businesses is marked by the refurbishment work that has recently been completed at their Victoria location as well as several other locations. The company have taken an extra floor at the Warwick Row building adding an additional 5,000 sq ft to their existing space, which until then was fully let.
Richard commented that “enquiries and tours remain strong” for the Victoria property, and the centre has already seen a significant amount of interest that has since converted into lettings.
“The new floor is already 25% occupied,” commented Richard, “and we anticipate that 100% occupancy is deliverable within a very short timeframe.”
But demand doesnΓÇÖt stop there, as the company also have plans for their Cambridge building. Located at Castle Park in the city centre, Citibase will now double the amount of office space they have in Cambridge with an extra 10,500 sq ft spread across two new floors.
According to Richard, this location has always enjoyed stability at a “constant 100% occupancy”, therefore the decision to double the capacity was an “easy one, and the demand for space already justifies our decision.”
Testament to this, of the two new floors that the company has taken on, one was brought on stream this month and is already 60% let, with expectations to reach 100% occupancy within 8 weeks. The second floor will be on stream by the fourth quarter, and one third of the space has already been snapped up. Again, Richard predicts that full occupancy will be attained very soon – most likely by early 2011.
So what’s their secret?
Richard believes that it is their commitment to offering a great service and quality space in good locations that appeals to their clients.
“Our continuing strategy will be to deliver good quality, well located business centres for cost conscious SMEs,” he explained, “and we will continue to be the dominate player for this market.”
Their decisions are based on demand, of which they seem to have in abundance. “Any future locations will be identified based on demand in the area and a good fit within our existing portfolio,” Richard added.
The boundless confidence, high demand and swift rise to full occupancy in several of their buildings paints a positive picture of Citibase, as well as the serviced office industry as a whole, particularly amid conflicting reports of peaks and troughs in the wider commercial property market.
“Citibase will continue to expand and expect to release more good news in the near future,” Richard added, suggesting that the firm are showing no signs of slowing down.
Find out more about any of these properties – Fareham, Woolwich, Victoria and Cambridge – online at officebroker.com.