At first sight One Gloucester Place, which sits at the junction of North Road and Gloucester Place, is an attractive though unassuming office block. But behind its yellow brick facade it represents an important element in Brighton & Hove’s future prosperity.
Until recently it was occupied by Lloyds TSB Trustcard which had been in occupation since it was built in 1985. Although not typical of the bulk of Brighton’s office stock, which was built in the 1960s and 70s, the quarter century since its construction has seen changes in the type of workplace demanded by modern businesses.
Ten minutes walk from Brighton’s mainline station and situated on a sustainable transport corridor served by ample bus routes it is exactly where businesses have said they want to be – in the city centre with easy access to all its amenities - but internally it was showing its age.
When it was vacated, the owners [Aviva Investors and Warner Estate] took the opportunity to extensively refurbish the building and upgrade it to Grade A status. Best of all the 3,700 sq metre offices over six floors have a BREEAM rating of Very Good which perfectly complements the city’s aspiration to be one of the most sustainable in the UK.
The city will need an additional 20,000 sq metres of office space post 2016 to meet its needs but this presupposes that all the existing space meets the needs of 21st century businesses which couldn’t be further from the truth. Less than 3% of our 468,000 sq metres is Grade A quality which is a barrier to growth in the economy and much needed job creation. Brighton & Hove has to find 6,000 additional jobs by the end of 2012 just to stand still at its current employment rate.
Given the current economic climate which mitigates against speculative office development, the willingness of property owners to invest in their existing properties to bring them up to modern standards is an essential aspect of the city’s economic strategy.
We need more examples like One Gloucester Place . . . a lot more.
Stiles Harold Williams are the marketing agents for One Gloucester Place.
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Brighton and Hove Economic Strategy
Stiles Harold Williams