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Construction underway at John Street office development in Cardiff

Construction work has begun on 107,000 sq ft of Grade A offices at John Street, one of Cardiff city centre’s few remaining prime office development sites.

Independent development company JR Smart, which is speculatively developing the John Street site, has already delivered and let 370,000 sq ft of offices at the adjacent Capital Quarter.

Work on the 10-storey office building is scheduled for completion by the first quarter of 2021.

L-R: Alexander Smart, Managing Director of JR Smart; Ken Skates, Welsh Government Minister for Economy and Transport; and Huw Thomas, Cardiff Council Leader.

Cardiff Council Leader Huw Thomas, Welsh Government Minister for Economy and Transport, Ken Skates and Alexander Smart, Managing Director of JR Smart,  came together at a ground-breaking ceremony to formally mark the start of the work at John Street.

Alexander Smart said: “With work now underway at John Street, this new development will deliver fantastic new office accommodation in the heart of Cardiff’s Central Business District in 2021, accommodating more than 1,100 people and, importantly, the majority of sub-contracts will be awarded to local businesses.”

Huw Thomas said: “It’s always exciting to see our city centre growing and developing. These new offices on John Street will hold a prime position on Callaghan Square and I’m sure they will help kick start more – much-needed – development in the surrounding area. JR Smart have always had the courage to build speculatively and it’s great to see the faith they retain in Cardiff – a faith that is well warranted. These offices will deliver more of the jobs the city needs, ensuring Cardiff continues to thrive, offering work opportunities for residents and workers in the surrounding region.”

Ken Skates said: “High quality office accommodation is vital to the success of the Central Cardiff Enterprise Zone, and to retaining and attracting valued employers to the region. I’m pleased that JR Smart is once again investing in the heart of our capital city and building on a speculative basis.”

The first phase development at John Street, which is located at Callaghan Square in Cardiff’s Central Business District, will provide high-specification offices with typical floor plates of 13,000 sq ft, and will include a coffee shop and tenant’s business lounge. The roof-top terrace will provide tenants  with spectacular views of the City centre, Cardiff Bay and beyond.

Global property consultancy Knight Frank has been appointed as letting agents at John Street. Mark Sutton, partner in Knight Frank’s Cardiff office agency team, said: “Following a record period of office take-up there is a real scarcity of prime space in Cardiff city centre, with supply levels at an all-time low.  The development of John Street is perfectly timed and will deliver the superb city centre office space on Cardiff’s best development site.

Cardiff city centre office take up was 685,640 sq ft in 2016, 703,926 sq ft in 2017, and 499,000 sq ft in 2018. Strong performance in 2019 has continued with 150,000 sq ft transacted in Q1.

Property development company JR Smart has delivered over 3m sq ft of office and industrial buildings in the Cardiff area. Its seven-acre Capital Quarter site has attracted well-known local companies such as Admiral, WSP, Geldards, Optimum Credit and Public Health Wales, and new entrants to Cardiff including Opus Energy, Alert Logic, Sky and Which? Publishing. By the end of the year more than 3,000 people will be employed there and more than 5000 will be based there.