2nd March 2004
Two local professional firms will be the first to take occupation of new office suites at the former Kay's Catalogue Headquarters since the Worcester based mail-order giant relocated to new premises.
Over half of the 25,000 sq ft of commercial space at Neil Grinnall Group's £23 million K1 and K2 mixed-use development has been snapped up months before completion of the build programme. The two largest self-contained office suites have been sold with the freehold interest to law firm Morton Fisher and Independent Financial Advisors (IFA) English Mutual.
Neil Grinnall, chairman of the Grinnall Group, commented: "When we were in the early design stages for this conversion scheme we knew we wanted to retain a substantial element of the Kay's building as office space because it has always been regarded as a hub for commercial activity in the city. Local research revealed the strong interest for freehold office space from professional firms already located in Worcester so it seemed obvious that we should step in to fill the gap in the market.
"We have already secured sales for 70 per cent of the office space at the K1 scheme off-plan. Although the office market in Worcester is buoyant for a small city, we are without doubt that if the seven office suites had been marketed on a traditional 25 year lease basis we would not have got the space under offer so quickly."
English Mutual Group and its sister operation Morley & Co was the first professional firm to sign up and take occupation of new office space at K1. The local IFA has purchased the freehold of a 3,400 sq ft Georgian property, with a high street frontage onto The Tything. The adjoining 4,200 sq ft self-contained Georgian building has been purchased by Morton Fisher Solicitors, who will take occupation of their new office suite next month. The internal space for all the office suites at K1 have been converted and refurbished by the Grinnall Group to one of the highest quality specifications available within Worcester city centre. Air conditioning, Category II lighting, suspended ceilings, perimeter trunking and on-site car parking are amongst the benefits to be enjoyed by the new occupiers.
Alex Morley, Managing Director of IFA English Mutual, commented: "We are delighted to take occupation of our new office, especially since we have been trying to relocate for some years. A big part of our business strategy has been owner-occupying our office premises, but the opportunities for small companies such as ourselves have been virtually non-existent in Worcester.
"At K1 we have a self-contained office suite with its own high street frontage onto The Tything, so we are in the heart of the city's commercial area. The specification is also very impressive, which is not always the case for small office suites. Altogether we feel as if we've hit the jackpot, having held out for a freehold opportunity like this for so long. Networking with other local firms, it is quite obvious that there is a great deal of demand for high specification freehold commercial space in the area so I'm sure this development will trigger similar projects."
Whilst the stand-alone Georgian buildings on the Tything have been sold to owner-occupiers, the office suites situated in the main K1 building have been attracting attention from private investors. The two smallest units have been purchased on a 125 year long leasehold agreement by a manufacturing company which plans to use one as its regional headquarters whilst renting out the second unit on a short to medium term lease to supplement their company pension. This strategy will not only provide the company with a good investment model, but it will also enable them to review their accommodation requirements and potentially occupy the second office suite to aid expansion.
Jim Quinn, Senior Partner of Morton Fisher Solicitors, said: "The move to K1 will enable our company to expand in the local market as we now have a substantial practice based in Worcester city centre. However, we don't view this move as a simple case of growing too big for our old premises - this is a strategic long-term investment in what is arguably one of the most lucrative investment opportunities available in today's marketplace."
The K1 conversion will provide character rich loft style apartments and office suites with original windows granting high levels of natural light. The second phase of the scheme, known as K2 entails the preservation of the period front elevation on to The Tything, however, behind this façade the Grinnall Group is constructing a purpose built new office building.
The office suites will be sold with allocated parking, however, Worcester Forgate Street Station is only 200 metres from the scheme. Unsurprisingly, interest to date from professional firms is due not only to the features of the building, but also because of the high profile address that can be enjoyed by the occupiers of the modestly sized offices.
Viewings for the office space can be arranged through Sole Agents Humberts by contacting Richard Tomlinson on 01905 720 104.
For further information contact:
Charlotte Crossley, Core Marketing 0121 643 8151