Signing surge for new offices scheme

From left, in front of phase 3 of the Glasshouse Studios at Fordingbridge, Philip Holford of Myddelton & Major, the marketing agent for the 12-unit office, Dennis Hall, contracts manager for HHM Developments, the scheme developer, and Rob Hibberd, a director at HHM Developments

A new development of timber-and-glass offices in south-west Hampshire is close to calling full house on sales and lettings even before construction ends.

Commercial demand for phase three of the Glasshouse Studios, on the outskirts of Fordingbridge, has already seen 10 out of the 12 units pre-let or sold.

Comprising two separate terraced buildings, with six self-contained offices in each, the sloping landscaped site at Fryern Court Road has sweeping views across Avon Valley fields towards the western escarpment of the New Forest.

Anchor occupier is BrightSpace, an architectural practice founded in 2010 and now employing 25 people, led by directors Eric Sey, Mark Amey and Martin Dobbs.

The expanding firm, which designed the scheme with developer HHM Developments, has signed a lease on the entire first floor on the lower terrace.

There are only two units remaining for sale or letting – a two-storey unit on the higher terrace and a ground floor unit on the lower terrace.

Philip Holford, the senior partner at commercial property consultancy at Salisbury-based Myddelton & Major, which is the scheme agent, said demand from occupiers and buy-to-let investors has been “exceptional”.

He added: “We anticipate calling ‘full house’ sooner rather than later. The vast majority of the office space at this lovely business park, with fine views across the Avon Valley, is taken up by expanding smaller businesses attracted by the unique environment and combined with the opportunity to own new-build premises designed for office use.

“There is a distinct lack of available office space in and around the river town of Fordingbridge, with a similar picture along the A338 to Ringwood in the south and Downton in the north.

“The strong demand for the well-presented offices at phase 3 of the Glasshouse Studios demonstrates that there is genuine appetite for high-standard offices in and around the Avon Valley and away from commuter hotspots such as Ringwood, Bournemouth, Southampton and Salisbury.

“Another demand factor is also coming into play across the region – a number of offices are being converted into flats, under permitted development rights, further squeezing supply.”

Each office, with steel portal frame structures and from 931 sq ft to 1,896 sq ft, incorporates a kitchenette and cloakroom facilities, with trunking for data and power, electric heating, lighting and fitted carpets. There are three allocated car parking spaces per office.

There are only two units remaining for sale or letting – 23/24, as one two-storey unit on the higher terrace, and a ground floor unit on the lower terrace.

HHM Developments of Fordingbridge, which specialises in bespoke commercial, residential and agricultural builds, took less than 12 months to complete the scheme, including land purchase, design, planning permission and construction.

Rob Hibberd, a director at HHM Developments, which utilises in-house engineering and design teams, said: “What is particularly satisfying is to see smaller businesses take root in this fantastic location so that they can grow, generating inward investment and jobs.”

Glasshouse Studios has three main buildings – The Glasshouse, with 10 offices, The Courtyard, with nine offices, and 12 offices with the latest phase.

BrightSpace’s Eric said: “We’ve grown from four people to 25 in the past five years and the move, from our previous location at the nearby Courtyard office, marks a step-change in the continued evolution of our business. The offices are located within a superb setting, with panoramic vistas and provide our business with a spacious and light working environment with excellent facilities.”

Occupiers at the Glasshouse Studios include The Wealth Care Partnership, Optimum Tax Solutions, Christopher Green & Associates, Saltrick & Saltrick, Optimum Tax Solutions, Triangle, X Consumables, Capricorn Laboratory Equipment, Ident, Epsilon Optics, K F Design, Moneysoft Payroll and  Natalie Gamble Associates.