New occupier strategy launched at Exchange Quay

Following the recent commitment to additional refurbishment works at the 435,000 sq ft Exchange Quay office development in Salford Quays, Ekistics Property Advisors LLP (Ekistics) and its project team has agreed an occupier Place Activation Strategy to invest in its valued tenants.

Ekistics, and asset manager Hunter, have been working with managing agent CBRE and the place marketing and placemaking team at DS Emotion to develop a strategy to enhance tenant engagement at the development in line with the integral role placemaking now plays in a development’s proposition; it’s appeal, sense of belonging and community brand.

A series of events will be implemented over 2019 to connect with occupiers at the development. The agreed programme will include combinations of social, competitive events and fitness activities to appeal to the wide demographic of tenants based at Exchange Quay.

The tenant engagement programme follows on from the introduction of a host of new occupier facilities at Exchange Quay, including new retail and dining outlets, a children’s day nursery, a games room (in Building 5), as well as the new ICE concept – 24,000 sq ft of newly refurbished offices and a café lounge bar designed to provide a contemporary and cool haven for people to work in but also to unwind in. The new activities are intended to support the wellbeing of the 3,000 professional people working within the Exchange Quay development.

Events hosted last year at Exchange Quay attracted both tenants and non-tenants, who came from office buildings on neighbouring sites, demonstrating an appetite for well-presented and relevant events from the local professional community.

Razi Riahi, Placemaking Strategy Director at DS Emotion, commented; “2019 is going to be the year that employee health and wellbeing becomes a boardroom priority for businesses and in turn for commercial building owners. There is evidence that now clearly demonstrates the value of activated workplaces, which ensure a premium offering for business tenants. DS.Emotion takes an intellectual approach to the complex area of placemaking in order to ensure Exchange Quay becomes a ‘magnetic’ place, encouraging a sense growth, success and belonging within a curated community, that should lead the business tenants to value their place of work and relationship with their landlord much greater. Our process is a structured one that considers Exchange Quay’s varied demographic and how carefully planned activities can add social & fiscal value to all those who work there.

CBRE’s recent global research report “Placemaking: Value and the Public Realm”, produced in collaboration with leading placemakers, Gehl Architects, showed that a focus on the quality of public spaces can add value to investors, as well as its residents and visitors. High-quality places are key to attracting and retaining skilled talent, as well as the bid for investment. Creative people want to work and live in great places, so cities which create great places will attract great investment.

John McHugh, CBRE’s newly appointed Creative & Placemaking Director commented:

“Placemaking is becoming increasingly important to landlords and developers and it’s vital our industry explores new and smarter ways of identifying, communicating and delivering a location’s proposition and sense of place. For large-scale property developments like Exchange Quay, creating this early is key. While many can rely on location, architecture and reputation to build a brand’s story, only by tapping into the emotions of people can you nurture the magic of placemaking. Sometimes organic and sometimes manufactured, the essential elements of place and how they are curated provide the opportunity to develop somewhere people truly connect with.”

Richard Wharton, Director, JLL Office Agency said:

“Placemaking has been taking place within the residential sector and at retail destinations for many years but when The British Council of Offices launched its guide for offices in 2016 it embraced the trend by setting out four pillars of great placemaking: vibrancy, connectivity, a sense of wellbeing and context. The value of a great place is more than just the market value of its buildings and we are increasingly looking to assess the intangible value created by a successful place. There is growing evidence that thinking about a place holistically can enhance its value. For example, it will increase employee and customer satisfaction, help attract new occupiers, grow rents as tenants are more inclined to remain and expand within the scheme, and therefore impact positively on asset value. But most importantly, it puts people at the heart of property, ensuring we create great places where people want to work.”

Jeremy Birkett-Jones, investment director at Hunter, said:

“We are excited to kick-start our occupier Place Activation Strategy at Exchange Quay and are confident it will further enhance tenant engagement at the development. The research delivered by our agency team highlighted evolving occupier needs and this new strategy will help to contribute to Exchange Quay’s already outstanding reputation as one of the leading office developments within the North West.”

Exchange Quay lies at the gateway to Salford Quays/Media City, approximately 1.5 miles to the southwest of Manchester City Centre. It boasts its own dedicated Metrolink tram stop and is strategically located just off Trafford Road which links Salford Quays to both Manchester City Centre and the major motorway networks via the M602.

Agents on Exchange Quay are Canning O’Neill and JLL.