1st Central chooses Exchange Quay for new northern office

West Sussex-based Insurance firm, 1st Central, has chosen Hunter Real Estate Investment Managers’ newly transformed 433,637 sq ft Exchange Quay office development in Salford Quays as its first northern office base.

1st Central has signed a 10 year lease on 10,838 sq ft on the 6th floor of Number 1 at Exchange Quay. Canning O’Neill and Savills are agents on Exchange Quay and Matthews and Goodman introduced 1st Central.

1st Central is an established car insurance provider with three existing offices accommodating over 500 employees in West Sussex. 1st Central is a business name of First Central Insurance Management Ltd, a subsidiary of the First Central Group. Company expansion has facilitated a requirement for a northern base and after an initial search of Manchester City Centre, the organisation signed-up for Exchange Quay which has just been relaunched following Hunter’s £10M investment.

Hunter’s investment programme has upgraded the six office buildings at Exchange Quay to Grade A specification, extensively remodelled the public realm and introduced a broad range of occupier facilities including a Costa Coffee outlet and Londis Retail Shop which are managed by award-winning site services partner, Elior.

Announcement of this significant deal follows on from the recent news that American multinational conglomerate corporation, 3M, has relocated some 120 staff into a 12,500 sq ft suite on the 4th Floor of Number 8 at Exchange Quay.

Since the start of last year over 80,000 sq ft of deals have completed as occupiers are quick to recognise the appeal of Grade A offices, accessibility via all modes of transport, amenity offering and extensive car parking at significantly more competitive terms than in the City Centre.

Tom Freestone at 1st Central, comments; “1st Central were originally considering Manchester city centre for their new northern office. However, Exchange Quay offered a credible and viable alternative that provided large open plan floor plates with excellent on site amenity and connectivity akin to the city centre but at a discount of 25-30% on occupational overhead.”

Jeremy Birkett-Jones, investment director at Hunter, said; “To be attracting occupiers with search criteria of the City Centre is an excellent result for Exchange Quay and the broader Salford Quays area. We have been striving hard to match all the requirements on occupiers’ wish lists with our investment into the development and to be starting 2016 with over 23,000 sq ft of lettings to 1st Central and 3M is fantastic.”

James Dickinson, Director at Canning O’Neill, continues; “The momentum at Exchange Quay continues to build as occupiers only have to walk around the development to feel the quality of working environment on offer. Hunter has really translated the needs of the North West market into a development of excellence and this is resulting in high calibre lettings.”

Exchange Quay’s six office buildings range from 26,151 sq ft to 116,684 sq ft. The development, which also boasts its own dedicated Metrolink tram stop, is strategically located just off Trafford Road which links Salford Quays to both Manchester City Centre and the major motorway networks via the M602.