Market Insight

Egham regeneration pays dividends for local businesses

May 2, 2023
Over the last ten years, Egham, a university town in the Borough of Runnymede in Surrey, suffered the loss of some business occupiers who moved out of the town in favour of other locations.

The nucleus of the town’s business community was consequently lost, and this trend continued, with companies such as Spectrum Finance and Verlingue moving out of Egham in favour of other nearby locations.

As a result, much of the town’s offices went for residential conversion or redevelopment, or alternative use, including Crown House, 133-139 High Street and Mead House at 49 High Street which were sold as redevelopment opportunities.

What was Egham’s loss has, for the most part, been Staines’ gain. Home to several large corporates including Centrica, Bupa and Samsung, Staines has attracted a range of new tenants at desirable office locations such as Lotus Park and Waterfront.

But could Egham’s office market be about to take a turn for the better? Partner and Surrey office market expert, Charlie Nicholson, explores.

Despite several occupiers either downsizing their office requirements in Egham or moving elsewhere, and a proportion of the town’s office provision being converted for residential or alternative uses, we believe the town is on the cusp of an office market resurgence, thanks in part to its multimillion-pound town centre regeneration project.

The £90 million mixed use development at Magna Square, formerly known as Egham Gateway West, comprises over 100 new apartments, with affordable housing provision and retail space which is now complete.

The development, managed by Places for People on behalf of Runnymede Borough Council, has delivered a high-quality public realm connecting it to the rest of the town centre.

It plays host to a four-screen Everyman cinema, a new Budgens store, 67 private apartments, 34 affordable homes plus an additional 10,700 sq ft of new commercial space at ground floor. One of the new build residential blocks also provides 100 rooms for students studying at nearby Royal Holloway, University of London.

But what does this have to do with the office market?

Well, the scheme has allowed a sense of vibrancy to return to Egham, delivering a 15-minute neighbourhood which has resulted in increased footfall in the town centre, owing to the mix of residential and student accommodation, and a much-improved retail and leisure offer.

This, together with the new public realm at Magna Square, has created a much more desirable place for business to locate to, and the office rents aren’t too bad either.

Sitting at around £30.00 psf for Grade A space, Egham is particularly cost-effective for the smaller occupier, where Staines has increased to £39.50 psf and Windsor at mid-£40s psf.

It has all the benefits of not being situated directly on the Thames with the rental increases that brings, as well as a smaller range of office stock which is perfect for the SME occupier.

Situated next to the M25 and with direct train services to Richmond, Clapham Junction, Waterloo and Reading all within 40 minutes reach, it has a lot of offer the more than 63,000 businesses currently located in Surrey.

There is still very much an owner-occupier and leasehold market here and those businesses located here are doing well.

Indeed, many are now starting to see many upsize their office requirements here, including CDN Consular Services Ltd which is seeking to expand its presence in Egham with the purchase of Heritage House, significantly increasing their footprint in Egham. In turn we are currently selling Runneymede House for them.

We are also supporting the owners of The Old Post Office on Station Road, with offers in excess of £3 million and are seeing other companies seek to move to Egham from locations such as Leatherhead in favour of being closer to Heathrow, which is now in solicitors’ hands.

What does this all mean for occupiers and landlords?

Well, smaller occupiers seeking a value for money location with excellent transport links to the City should consider Egham as a place to locate.

It represents good value for money in rental terms, whilst boasting excellent transport links and a range of new retail and leisure amenities for staff to enjoy.

One company to recently take advantage of this is the number one alarm company in Europe – Verisure. The business stayed in Egham at The White House where quoting rents are £25.00 per sq ft, offering a cost-effective home for the firm.

Meanwhile, for astute investors and landlords seeking to invest in office stock, Egham could represent an opportunity to deliver a good return– provided you invest in the delivery of a high-quality asset. An example of what’s available on the market currently, is Marchamont House, 116 The High Street, which represents a smart building and investment opportunity.

Egham’s regeneration project is undoubtedly starting to pay dividends, so, if you are an investor willing to offer a high-quality Grade A+ multi-let refurbished building with exposed services, collaboration and meeting space, business lounges and space to meet and greet, all boasting green credentials and excellent EPC ratings, you will undoubtedly benefit from the increasing number of smaller occupiers coming back into Egham, to make the most of the renewed vibrancy, and retail and leisure offer here.

For more information about investment assets available to buy or office properties available to let in Egham, get in touch.

*Images © Runnymede Borough Council.