"In 2022, 153,471 square meters of offices were renovated or built in Nantes Métropole, according to figures from the Nantes Atlantique Real Estate Club (CINA). This is proof that this sector of real estate is doing well. However, the president of this establishment warns of a lack of available space and a "risk of decline."

Have offices sold well in Nantes Métropole?

"This is an exceptional year for the office market," analyzes Christine Serra, president of the Nantes Atlantique Real Estate Club (CINA) and regional director of BNP Paribas Immobilier. In 2022, 153,471 square meters of offices were renovated or built in Nantes Métropole, compared to 129,000 square meters in 2021. New construction alone represents 79,874 square meters of transactions, while second-hand surfaces represent 73,597 square meters.

According to the president of CINA, two factors explain this growth. First, local dynamism: "Current companies continue to develop economically. Parisian companies also offer their employees to join teams in the region to "strengthen their position on site."

Geographically, are there more attractive areas?

Overall, the city center of Nantes is the most sought-after location with 48.05% of the market. "There is a search for centrality on the part of companies to offer services to employees," such as proximity to the train station, a gym, or shops.

However, "it takes between four and five years" for a project in the city center to come to fruition. "There is a lack of supply," continues the regional director. "Companies cannot find any available space."

With 42.61% of the market, the north of the metropolis remains more popular than the south (9.34%).

Can there be a risk of space shortage?

Christine Serra warns of a "lack of tertiary square meters in the metropolis. Many transactions concern companies that are already established." However, the lack of new buildings "blocks the development of companies and jobs."

Can you translate: What about vacant spaces?

Renovating existing buildings could be a solution. But according to CINA, the obsolete existing stock is not located in the city center. Rather, in industrial zones, and these spaces, some energy-intensive, others too small, no longer meet new environmental standards or business expectations.

"This stock will have a second life, becoming housing, a reception center," she lists. "But companies, on the other hand, are looking for larger and horizontal spaces."

So what are the solutions to finding space?

Coworking spaces are multiplying in Nantes and its surroundings. "They are very well integrated into the real estate market," notes the president of CINA. "But that won't answer everything."

For Christine Serra, the priority is to reduce administrative delays. And to bring new spaces to the market. But for this to happen, there must be "a real political will, to accept densification in the city center." Because her verdict is clear: "If companies cannot find premises, they will go elsewhere.

The question remains whether this is necessarily a problem. Indeed, voices are raised to say that the Metropolis should not attract at all costs. As early as 2020, Yann Trichard, president of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, called for "an end to all-out company search efforts."

A shared observation, the same year, by Nicolas Debond, CEO of the Nantes Saint-Nazaire development agency: "Now that the region is attractive, we can choose. We only prospect on certain sectors. We do more quality and less quantity."

Source: Published on January 23, 2023 by Ouest-France