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Following the recent commitment to additional refurbishment works at the 435,000 sq ft Exchange Quay office development in Salford Quays, Ekistics Property Advisors LLP (Ekistics) and its project team has agreed an occupier Place Activation Strategy to invest in its valued tenants.

Ekistics and asset manager Hunter have been working with managing agent CBRE and marketing team DS Emotion to develop a strategy to further enhance tenant engagement at the development in line with the integral role placemaking now plays in a development’s sense of place and proposition.

A series of events will be implemented over the coming year to connect with occupiers at the development. The agreed programme will include engagement opportunities such as yoga, five-a-side football, a dragon boat race, creation of allotments, a summer barbeque, personal training classes, a pub quiz and walking lunches as well as many more.

The tenant engagement programme follows on from the introduction of a host of new occupier facilities at Exchange Quay, including new retail and dining outlets; a children’s day nursery; a games room in Building 5, as well as the new ICE concept – 24,000 sq ft of newly refurbished offices and a café lounge bar designed to provide a contemporary and cool haven for occupiers to work and unwind in. The new activities are intended to support the wellbeing of the circa 3,000 people working within the development.

Events hosted last year at Exchange Quay attracted both tenants and non-tenants who came from neighbouring offices – so there is an appetite for well presented and current events from the professional community.

Razi Riahi, Strategy Placemaking Director at DS Emotion, commented; “2019 is the year that Health and Wellbeing becomes a boardroom priority, not only for employers, but also for Landlords. The evidence is now clearly pointing towards the value of activated workplaces which ensure a premium offering for business tenants. Taking this into account, we have worked on achieving a balance of three core strands; active body, active mind and active social to ensure Exchange Quay becomes a ‘magnetic’ place.  Our process is a structured one that considers Exchange Quay’s varied demographic and how the activations can add value to all those who work here.”

CBRE’s recent global research report Placemaking: Value and the Public Realm produced in collaboration with leading placemakers Gehl Architects, showed that a focus on the quality of public spaces can add value to investors, as well as residents and visitors.  Placemaking as a concept and high quality places are key to attracting and retaining skilled talent, as well as the bid for investment.  Creative people want to live and work in great places.  So cities which create great places will attract investment.

John McHugh, CBRE’s newly appointed Creative & Placemaking Director commented:

“Placemaking is becoming increasingly important to landlords and developers and it’s vital our industry explores new and smarter ways of identifying, communicating and delivering a location’s proposition and sense of place.  For large-scale property developments like Exchange Quay, creating this early is key.  While many can rely on location, architecture and reputation to build a brand’s story, only by tapping into the emotions of people can you nurture the magic of placemaking.  Sometimes organic and sometimes manufactured, the essential elements of place and how they are curated provide the opportunity to develop somewhere people truly connect with.”

Richard Wharton, Director, JLL Office Agency said:

“Placemaking has been taking place within the residential sector and at retail destinations for many years but when The British Council of Offices launched its guide for offices in 2016 it embraced the trend by setting out four pillars of great placemaking: vibrancy, connectivity, a sense of wellbeing and context. The value of a great place is more than just the market value of its buildings and we are increasingly looking to assess the intangible value created by a successful place.

“There is growing evidence that thinking about a place holistically can enhance its value. For example, it will increase employee and customer satisfaction, help attract new occupiers, grow rents as tenants are more inclined to remain and expand within the scheme, and therefore impact positively on asset value. But most importantly, it puts people at the heart of property, ensuring we create great places where people want to work.”

Jeremy Birkett-Jones, investment director at Hunter, said;

“We are excited to kick-start our occupier Place Activation Strategy at Exchange Quay and are confident it will further enhance tenant engagement at the development. The research delivered by our agency team highlighted evolving occupier needs and this new strategy will help to contribute to Exchange Quay’s already outstanding reputation as one of the leading office developments within the North West.”

Exchange Quay lies at the gateway to Salford Quays/Media City, approximately 1.5 miles to the southwest of Manchester City Centre. It boasts its own dedicated Metrolink tram stop and is strategically located just off Trafford Road which links Salford Quays to both Manchester City Centre and the major motorway networks via the M602.

Agents on Exchange Quay are Canning O’Neill and JLL.