Thinking about moving your business to Marlow? A good mix of historical and modern and convenient connections with the motorways make it an ideal location.
With its Georgian High Street and historic houses on the River Thames, Marlow is one of the prettiest towns in Buckinghamshire. However, don’t be deceived by Marlow’s old world charm; it’s also home to a thriving community and its town centre and business parks offer commercial property that’s bang up to date.
Marlow benefits from its closeness to London and the M4 & M40 corridors, while preserving its small-town atmosphere. The business community includes UK headquarters of European businesses like Sennheiser, manufacturer of audio equipment, and Irish pharmaceutical company Allergan, both of which have offices in Marlow, as well as tech companies like Cobham Antenna Systems and smaller local businesses such as the Rebellion Brewery.
Shopping in the town is focused on niche and aspirational businesses rather than multiple chains, forming a strong reason to shop in Marlow rather than one of the larger towns. A highly affluent population supports a range of independent retailers, cafes, pubs and restaurants.
Marlow is just thirty miles west of London and it has convenient connections to Heathrow and the M25. Train services from Marlow station aren’t direct to London – passengers have to change at Maidenhead – but the train journey to Paddington station is still just over an hour. Like with most historical towns, parking in the town centre can be a problem, so that’s something you will need to take into consideration.
Office enquiries in the Thames Valley as a whole were reportedly running at their highest ever in the first quarter of 2016, and despite uncertainties following the Brexit referendum, property is still in keen demand, with commercial property in Marlow being no exception to the rule. Rents for all types of commercial property are at close to record levels, and there is strong investment demand for good office space. Retail rents in Marlow have also increased 40% since 2007.
Flexible workspace provider Regus will be adding a facility in Marlow soon, while Globe Business Park has benefited from recent refurbishment and investment.
Retail property in the town centre is in relatively scarce supply with a lower vacancy rate than most towns. Many of the buildings are listed, and most units are comparatively small, making property particularly attractive to independents and smaller retailers, as well as to consumer-facing professionals such as solicitors and wellbeing practitioners. A new gym, Zacs, has just opened on the High Street; it makes full use of the building’s period architecture to create a full height yoga studio with a massive oak-beamed roof.
Food stores include a Waitrose, M&S and Sainsbury’s, which shows the demographic retailers are aiming at.
The shortage of available space can limit your room for negotiation if you’re considering signing a lease, so you may want to consult a commercial property agent to help you with this.
Rents for modern offices are likely to be £18-25 per square foot. Purchase prices can vary from £250-£400 per square foot.
There’s a strong investment market for the all types of properties.
Retail units in the best locations generally come in at a little below £130 per square foot Zone A, against as much as £300 in larger centres like Oxford or £250 in Reading. That together with the attractions of the historic town centre and a relatively wealthy consumer base make Marlow attractive – as the recent arrival of shirtmaker Charles Tyrwhitt and restaurant chain The Ivy shows.
What’s the best location for your business? Out of town locations like Globe Business Park offer both headquarters locations for larger companies, and numerous smaller units of 3,000-4,000 square feet.
Depending on your workforce and customers, a site near the station could offer convenient access, but you can get more parking space further out of town, together with quick access to the road system via the A404.
Businesses with high consumer footfall, like solicitors or accountants, might prefer a town centre location such as the High Street or West Street, though the size of such properties is generally limited. Specifications for town centre properties may not be up to what you’d expect on a business park; apart from the age of the properties, many are listed buildings, which limits the changes that can be made to the existing fabric.
Retailers, naturally, will head for the High Street and Market Place, though it may not be easy to find space. Vacancies do appear as businesses close from time to time (and some may find the business rates revaluation this year tests their financial viability), but they are usually filled quite quickly.
FINDING THE RIGHT PROPERTY
Finding just the right commercial property can be a lengthy and time-consuming process, starting with finding the right size and specification, then negotiating the rent and the terms of the lease. Using a commercial property expert to find commercial property in Marlow could be a good move. As well as knowing the area and having a good idea of rental prices, an expert may well have access to off-the-market deals and know about new developments or property which is being refurbished before the property actually becomes available.
A good commercial property expert can also cut down the demands on your time by shortlisting properties that match your specific business requirements. And you’ll have someone on your side once it comes to negotiations. That might really pay off when you come to face your first rent review – let your expert fight that particular battle, while you concentrate on your own business!