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Barings, one of the world’s largest diversified real estate investment managers, has announced  that its 180,000 sq. ft. Landmark office development at St Peter’s Square in Manchester City Centre offers occupiers a ‘touch-free’ experience due to a host of smart technology features.

Technology forms an integral part of Landmark’s design, which is why it achieved Wired Score Platinum certification. Landmark includes a host of features such as: pre-installed ultra-fast fibre connections with Colt, Openreach and Telcom; free WiFi; intelligent destination control lifts; smart building management systems, close proximity to The Loop network, smart access control and visitor management systems; a bespoke occupier engagement app; intelligent LED lighting that responds to outside conditions; and solar panels on the roof generating on-site electricity.

Recent research undertaken by CBRE, joint agents on Landmark with Colliers International, states that adoption of touch-free technology and other smart building tools will support new work practices as part of updated occupier strategies. CBRE’s 2020 Occupier Flash Survey, conducted in May 2020, concluded that touch-free technology is expected to be adopted by 45% of those surveyed with 41% reporting an increased interest in buildings with WELL or sustainable features. 

The survey suggests technology investment was very much at the heart of occupiers’ strategies before the protocol shifts necessitated by the pandemic, at which time 83% of EMEA occupiers reported they were intending to increase future investment in real estate technology and 21% said they were prepared to pay a rental premium of more than 20% for tech-enabled buildings.

Ian Mayhew, Managing Director at Barings, said; “Having acknowledged that forward-thinking businesses want next generation office space with resilient digital connectivity, the technological infrastructure at Landmark played a vital role in the design and construction of the building.  Recent events have highlighted the importance of providing occupiers with a touch-free experience in addition to the all-important ‘plug and play’ set up when they move in and the ability to work at speed on a daily basis without interruptions.

“From entering the building, either on foot through the revolving doors, or by car or cycle, occupiers and visitors have a completely touch-free journey through the building to their office destination in large part thanks to the bespoke occupier app working in conjunction with smart access controls and visitor management systems” Said Mayhew.

Neil Mort, Senior Director at CBRE Manchester, continued: “CBRE’s research shows that investment in technology is now an integral part of occupiers’ real estate strategies advancing beyond a ‘nice to have’ to a ‘must have’ element. Digital buildings help to drive operational efficiencies and reduce costs as well as enhance productivity and improve the occupier experience, ensuring that the value of integrated technology extends far beyond the immediate health situation. Covid-19 has changed and challenged the way we work, with digital lifelines now more essential than ever. It has also presented an opportunity for companies to accelerate their digital transformation. Landmark is well placed to help a wide cross section of companies enter a ‘new normal’.”

The technological infrastructure at Landmark is a key reason high profile companies such as global property consultancy JLL relocated its 170-strong Manchester team to the 10th floor; now JLL’s largest commercial office outside of London, and why strong interest is being shown in the remainder of the space.

Landmark offers 14 floors of BREEAM Excellent, virtually column-free office space and was built with an offset core to enable not only large and efficient floorplates but also maximum flexibility to occupiers. This removes a design barrier in any fit-out project and enables occupiers to design their office space in a flexible way, allowing the workplace to accommodate social distancing guidelines if needed again in the future.

Substantial private and public sector capital has gone into the transformation of St Peter’s Square and the Civic Quarter in recent years. This has led to a number of major occupiers relocating to the area. Landmark, which has received overwhelming support from Manchester City Council, is the concluding project for the prime St Peter’s Square business district.


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BDC 319 : Aug 2024