Commercial Blog October 2018 - Colliers International | London

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  1. October 2018

  2. Hoxton pony: 18,000 ft2 in a former Shoreditch stables

    18 October 2018
    We are marketing an extraordinary Grade II Listed, late nineteenth century building in Shoreditch that would make a remarkable showroom, gallery or incubator space.
    Available for a term by arrangement direct from the Freeholder, this rare surviving example of a multi-storey stable building in an urban location is hidden behind a row of flat-fronted Georgian houses on Buttesland Street, N1. In the middle of the terrace a carriageway entrance building sits above an arched approach to an inner courtyard and provides useful goods access.

    Part of the former London General Omnibus Company depot, the building is divided along its length into two adjacent vaulted sections, one with its original iron framework and one with original wooden rafters and a stone cobbled floor. The sheer volume is something to behold, reaching up to a height of 7.5 meters into the glazed apex along the full length of the roofline. There is quite a sense of awe and occasion when standing inside and looking up, not unlike that of a major railway station. 

    Much of the original brick, timber, iron and glass fabric remains and the interior has been modernised to include air conditioning throughout and self contained WCs. Currently used as a furniture showroom, the space lends itself well to exhibitions and events with a huge ground floor area, substantial mezzanines and plenty of cascading natural light. 

    Buttesland Street lies just north of Old Street and close to Hoxton Square, just a short stroll from the centre of the Shoreditch scene in an easily accessible location for visitors. Both Old Street and Hoxton stations are within a short walk along with numerous bus routes stopping on nearby Old Street, City Road and Shoreditch High Street.

    The Author

    Alexander Howarth
    0207 871 7430
    0750 000 7571
    alexander.howarth@colliers.com
  3. Perfectly pitched: vaulted first floor office in central Clerkenwell

    15 October 2018
    Located on the east side of St John Street between Charterhouse Street and Clerkenwell Road, a fully fitted B1 office space of 6,523ft2 on the first floor of this 1980’s office building.
    One of the most immediately arresting qualities of the interior is how natural light streams in from all quarters, with several large skylights in the roof along with windows to front and rear aspects and a central glazed light well. This feeling of airiness and fluidity is enhanced by glass partitions between the main workspace, the two meeting rooms and the communal staircase: there’s a general sense of the space extending beyond its boundaries.

    The underside of the roof is clad in white painted woodwork and features the original iron framework that gives the space an industrial ruggedness alongside its modern polish. The theme continues with suspended and exposed services running overhead including air conditioning units and ducts, galvanised steel conduit and suspended lighting.

    The office also has the benefit of a private terrace to the rear with enough space for several people for break out sessions, informal meetings or after hours socialising and events.

    Further amenities include cabling, self-contained male and female WCs and showers and a kitchenette fitted with integrated appliances. Occupiers seeking a plug’n’play solution can purchase the furnishings by separate arrangement.

    48-50 St John Street is close to the historic Smithfield Market, already a scene of fashionable bars and restaurants and set for an exciting future when the disused western end becomes the new site of the relocating Museum of London to the winning design by Stanton Williams and Asif Khan.

    Farringdon Station is within 5 minutes’ walk of the building and will soon become one of London’s main transport hubs, with Crossrail, Thameslink and London Underground all passing through it.

    The office is available for occupation immediately on a new full repairing & insuring lease to expire 15th October 2022. We are quoting an annual rent of £62.50 per ft2.

    The Author

    Alexander Howarth
    0207 871 7430
    0750 000 7571
    alexander.howarth@colliers.com
  4. Mic on Mondays | George Wood

    9 October 2018
    George Wood is the managing director of The Luna Cinema, which is the UK’s number one open air cinema.

    Tell us about The Luna Cinema?

    The Luna Cinema is the country’s biggest open air cinema producers, we specialise in putting on cinema events of classic films shown in incredible settings, places that you would never normally expect to watch a film on a big screen.

     

    How was The Luna Cinema established?

    The company was established ten years ago, when I had a bonkers idea that open air cinema in the UK was going to work out to be a great business! It was something that I’d seen in Australia,  and I thought ‘what a great idea that is!’ and all my Australian friends when I was out travelling over there, said to me ‘your weather’s rubbish, it will never work in England.’

    Everyone said to me ‘You’re going to do open air cinema?!’ when I told them that was my big idea, ‘open air cinemas in a country that is renowned for your terrible summers!’ But bizarrely I just knew it would work, I knew that we had these incredible settings such as palaces, parks and castles; the countries’ littered with the perfect backdrop for open air cinemas. That was always in the back of my head, and it started off on a win, we trialled it once in my local park and I knew instantly that there was something brilliant about watching a film, outdoors where there’s planes going overhead and birds and the atmosphere amongst the audience was so different to a normal cinema screen. It was that that then made me think; okay this is what I’m going to do, and that was as I said ten years ago.

     

    How do you decide on the best locations to show the films?

    Choosing the best locations to show a film, is never easy in that there’s a list as long as your arm. When I first started, I remember thinking ‘if only we could get a venue like Hampton Court Palace’ which was one of the first ones that I saw as the goal, and since we got that it was amazing and incredible but then I thought ‘wouldn’t it be amazing to show a film at Warwick Castle.’ There’s always something else that I think ‘wouldn’t it be amazing!’ So in answer to the question, finding the perfect venue is always based on finding an incredible setting for the audience that amplifies the whole experience of watching this film. Whilst getting a good number of people in as we are a commercial business, we have to look at how many tickets can be sold, so we rarely make it work on a really small site. 

     

    Where is your favourite location?

    It’s really difficult choosing a favourite location, only because it feels like choosing between your kids! These are all venues that are amazing, and I’ve become friendly with the venue managers. But if I am going to choose my favourite, I suppose there is always something magical about going back to the first venue which I ever played which is Dulwich Park, which is my local park so it always feels like going home, to this corner of South East London which just makes me think ‘this is where it all began ten years ago!’ So there is something romantic about that being my answer. 

    But in terms of a venue that I think is incredible, where I feel like this venue was made for open air cinema, there are so many but Cardiff Castle is a good example, right in the middle of Cardiff is this incredible medieval castle, I always say if I were to design a venue specifically for open air cinema, it would probably be this one. Huge capacity so that you can get a great number of people in, but you’ve got these incredible medieval walls that we can up light, you’ve got a perfect backdrop of a Motte-and-bailey castle and it’s slap-bang in the middle of a major city. Everything about it works, it’s flat which we need for our screen so it’s up there. Last week we were at the Houses of Parliament and that was incredible, one of those jaw-dropping moments of watching the film against the backdrop of the Houses of Parliament, you think ‘we couldn’t be anywhere else in the world it’s amazing.’ So yeah, there’s a handful! 

     

    What does the future hold for The Luna Cinema?

    The future of The Luna Cinema, hopefully we’ll carry on doing what we’re doing. What’s kept it fresh and what’s kept me excited for a decade of doing this, is always the thought of ‘where else can we do this?’ But also looking out for the next film that’s going to move what we do onwards, and it means that it never seems to go stale. There are times that people say ‘I can’t believe you’re still showing Top Gun or Dirty Dancing or The Goonies,’ these films that we’ve shown for ten years and I always say that actually we are never just repeating these films, we are always adding something new – whether its adding in extra lighting, or updating the food menus. 


  5. Brand New Fully Fitted Office Suites Available At The Farringdon Road Estate

    8 October 2018
    Our clients, WELPUT, have recently completed the refurbishment of three more floors at Clover House, part of an island site of former Victorian warehouses on Farringdon Road, just north of the intersection with Clerkenwell Road. In contrast to previous phases, this latest release is a Plug & Play offer, with each unit fully fitted, furnished and ready for business.
    Standing outside, the buildings form an arresting parade with six-storey exterior elevations of sandy coloured bricks and stone interventions, all faithfully restored. Step inside and the communal areas are no less impressive with funky chevron wayfinding and a bright, modern aesthetic to welcome people into the building and up to the offices.

    Up to 7,100 Ft2 of B1 office space is available across the 2nd, 3rd and 4th floors, with individual units between 2,340 & 2,400 Ft2. The interiors are delivered as first-class City Fringe workspaces with a backdrop of grit-blasted & white-painted brickwork and glazed Victorian-sash windows retaining an air of authenticity and celebrating the original architecture and heritage of the building.

    A high-quality and hi-tech specification has been implemented with wood flooring, perimeter trunking (with power & data cabling), modern suspended lighting, comfort cooling throughout and a brand new fitted kitchen and private call-booth.

    Completing the picture is a smart and comprehensive furniture package that includes desks and seating to accommodate 32+ people, two furnished meeting rooms, useful storage divider units and breakout space with couches and easy chairs. The result is not just a series of inspiring and impressive workspaces, but an ideal solution for businesses looking to minimise setup costs and time.

    The location is an enviable spot in the heart of Farringdon and within walking distance of many local favourites: the daily street food market at Leather Lane's; the famous gastro strip of Exmouth Market; the vibrant street scene of Cowcross Street and Smithfield.

    Transport is also excellent, with numerous buses stopping nearby and Farringdon station just a couple of minutes walk to the south. As well as its current Underground and Thameslink services, the station is set to become a major interchange on the Elizabeth Line when the Crossrail project completes in 2019, transforming the connectivity of the City Fringe with direct trains to Canary Wharf, Heathrow Airport and the home counties.

    The Author

    Oliver Jay
    020 7101 2020
    07903 714 187
    Oliver.Jay@colliers.com
  6. Feasting in Fitzrovia

    4 October 2018
    The restaurant scene in London’s Fitzrovia once consisted of a few trailblazers like Hakkasan, the Charlotte Street Hotel and Caprice's Bam Bou. Otherwise the landscape was dominated by a line-up of Greek and Italian independents that seemed like they’d been there forever.
    In the early Noughties, the area started to benefit from operators seeking refuge from rising rents in Soho and saw new openings for the likes of Roka, Saltyard, and Crazy Bear. The opening of The Riding House Cafe in 2011 brought a new sense of fashion and style to the district, and since then well known chefs such as Ollie Dabbous, Jason Atherton, Jun Tanaka, Monica Galetti and James Knappett have all opened in Fitzrovia.  

    Brands such as Home Slice, Honest Burger, Bao, Iberica, Wahaca, and Vagabond Wines all thrive while the new gastronomic trailblazers are the likes of Will Lander and Daniel Morgenthau with their ground breaking Portland and Clipstone. 

    Most recently, Caravan has recently established its fifth outlet: a beautiful restaurant in the former Radio 1 recording studio while Ross Shonohan has just opened his second Flesh and Buns at 32 Berners Street (with pisco sours at the push of a button). On Newman Street, Rami Fustok’s Mandrake Hotel bar has been a favourite haunt of the A -list and fashion crowds since opening a year ago.  

    We’ve advised Spanish superstar chef Quique Dacosta on a new lease of an immense new site on Eastcastle Street which will open later this year and will specialise in the most authentic paella outside Valencia in what promises to be a truly dramatic setting. 

    Meanwhile, the market is expecting an announcement about a new restaurant at Rathbone Square which should please the masses in the Facebook HQ upstairs!    

    In terms of new opportunities, 87-125 Cleveland Street has planning consent to include new restaurants and bars and there are a scattering of other new builds and planning consents in the area featuring potential new restaurants.

    We’ve just started marketing a phenomenal space on Rathbone Street, behind the Charlotte Street Hotel, which offers 5,000 sq ft of new A3 restaurant space all on the ground floor in a beautiful old building that has been very sensitively converted. The fact that we’re already getting enquiries from as far away as Hong Kong and Mexico (as well as Mayfair and Shoreditch) shows just how firmly Fitzrovia is established on London’s culinary map.

    Author
    Josh Leon
    Head of Central London Restaurants
    Josh.Leon@colliers.com
    +44 (0)7951023263

  7. On reconnaissance, in America Part one: LA Story

    3 October 2018
    7 members of the Colliers London team recently attended the Colliers Annual Occupier conference in Northern California.
    Given that so much of the global tech scene is borne out of Silicon Valley, and because so much of our work is advising London enterprises on the tech sector, it was an exciting prospect to visit the effective world headquarters of start-up culture.

    Although the conference took place in San Francisco, two of the Colliers team took the opportunity to take in the burgeoning creative space scene in Los Angeles, where the downtown area and former industrial neighbourhoods are experiencing something of an urban revival.

    What struck us the most about LA’s commercial market is how youthful it feels. Despite a well-established business district of skyscrapers and corporate companies, there is something of the young upstart about the creative space sector, as though it is just awakening or finding its feet: an unexpected quality in one of the world’s most famous cities.

    While prices for commercial space vary widely between LA’s neighbourhoods, a key difference is that access to downtown doesn’t play such a role as it does here in London. LA is famously car centric and famously traffic heavy, so moving around the city is something people keep to a minimum. Hopping on a bus for 10 minutes isn’t really an option – and wouldn’t get you far anyway – so it’s almost entirely down to the offering within a neighbourhood, and not where it is, that drives demand.

    Most expensive are Santa Monica and Venice Beach, home to LA’s most successful creative occupiers, and similarly priced Playa Vista, the city’s own Silicon Valley. All have rents around $90 per ft2. At the other end of the scale, the Arts District offers start-ups truly remarkable value with space available at around $30 per ft2.

    Quoting a rental figure in Playa Vista is fairly academic as there is zero space available. All the big players have put down roots here and are seemingly always expanding. Facebook’s latest acquisition will see them take occupation in 2020 at the Brickyard office campus, owned by Tishman Speyer. Google, meanwhile, is soon to occupy the aircraft hangar that housed Howard Hughes’ Spruce Goose – a space of 135,000ft2 – but has also purchased a 12-acre site next next door, which could add a mammoth 900,000ft2 to its operations. 

    One of our favourite developments was in Culver City, on the edge of the Arts District and steeped in movie history as the home of MGM Studios. Here, Lincoln Property’s BlackWelder scheme on a campus of 19 standalone buildings is very City Fringe in style with all the elements of archetypal creative space (exposed brickwork, bit industrial windows, etc) catering to smaller firms.

    And so to the Arts District itself – similar to Shoreditch in its makeup – where rents can be as little as $30-35 per ft2; a real opportunity for young start-ups seeking to minimise their outlay. But they need to move fast because the word is already out among the bigger firms. Spotify have recently taken 100,000ft2 at the incredible At Mateo office and retail complex, a building squarely aimed at lifting the district from edgy to established and where rents are now hitting $55 per ft2. A clear sign of just how fast the market is maturing.

    That about wraps up our trip to LA. Next week we’ll talk about our San Francisco experience, including a tour of Silicon Valley.

    The Author

    Sophie Higgins
    020 7101 2020
    07786 510 974
    Sophie.Higgins@colliers.com
  8. Production plants: the positive effects of foliage in the workplace

    1 October 2018
    We’ve all been heartily inspired by the recent fitting out of Jacada Travel’s new offices at Bentima House after the City Fringe Tenant Representation team helped the firm relocate to Old Street.
    What struck us most was how plants feature so prominently in the design of Jacada’s workspace and how little plant life we see when visiting occupied spaces. We see lots of great design and beautiful materials, but the natural world doesn’t get such a look in, including at Colliers!

    That’s a rather odd phenomenon in the world’s largest cluster of creative enterprises and, as much of our work is advising occupiers on how to get the most from their workplace, we dug a little deeper for research into plants in the workplace and found many quantifiable benefits.

    Increasing productivity: The University of Exeter’s research in 2014 showed that along with better memory retention, employees’ productivity jumped 15% when plants were introduced into the workplace. The key, it seems, is for people to be able to see some greenery from their workstation.

    Cleaning the air: In the 1980s, NASA scientists discovered that, alongside lowering carbon dioxide levels, plants removed chemicals such as benzene, trichloroethylene, and formaldehyde from the air, leaving it cleaner for humans to breathe. Palms do it best.

    Improving wellbeing, attendance and creativity: The 2015 Human Spaces report studied 7,600 employees in 16 countries: 58% had no greenery in their workplace and 16% had zero natural light. Workers with plants in their offices reported a 15% higher score in wellbeing and productivity. The Agricultural University of Norway, meanwhile, found introducing plants to an office was linked to a 25% decrease in symptoms of ill health including, crucially, fatigue and concentration problems.

    Attracting better talent: Need we say more than the existence of this particular blog article? It wouldn’t exist had we not been so awed by Jacada’s offices; and there is plenty of research confirming that people’s choice of where to work is heavily affected by the physical environment.

    Lowering noise levels: Larger pot plants located around the edges and corners of a room can absorb the distracting sounds of office talk and background noise according to a paper by the London South Bank University.

    Reducing stress: Sydney’s University of Technology study in 2010 found significant benefits to employees when plants were introduced to their place of work, with substantial falls in reported anxiety, fatigue, tension and even depression. The research concluded that: “Just one plant per workspace can provide a very large lift to staff spirits, and so promote wellbeing and performance.”

    There probably isn’t an adult on the planet who hasn’t exclaimed “gosh!” (or the local equivalent) when faced with an arresting natural wonder. Nature is known to inspire creativity and open up the brain to new ideas, so perhaps the time is right for more plants in the City Fringe. And on a purely practical front, they’re a lot cheaper than a trip to Vitra.


    The Author

    Dash Boyeva
    020 7344 6623
    07811 111888
    dash.boyeva@colliers.com
  9. September 2018

  10. Waiting it out for Weston House

    28 September 2018
    They say there is virtue in patience, but there is also value as well.
    Colliers International has recently acted for Sidra Capital in its acquisition of Weston House, a newly refurbished 89,000 office and retail building next to Holborn Tube Station which had not sold for over a year.
     
    Sidra Capital is a Saudi-based Family Office seeking to increase its European holdings. Weston House, at the right price, was among a number of buildings we’d identified as a suitable addition to its portfolio.
     
    At the time we first noticed the building, around 18 months earlier, we were sure that its suggested price was far too ambitious. However, given that it seemed such a perfect fit to Sidra’s brief, we felt it was worth tracking the asking price and whether it would eventually fall in line with our thoughts on value.
     
    About 6 months later the price drifted down to £103m and the building went under offer to a Qatari investor who, it turned out, had never seen the building in person. Unfortunately for the seller, the money never materialised and the would-be purchaser disappeared.
     
    Throughout this course of events we’d been in touch intermittently with Frogmore, the owners of Weston House, and its agents to express our continued interest. We put together a stronger case each time for a reliable, ready and willing buyer with a thorough knowledge of the building based on many months of discussions and monitoring.
     
    After a second sale fell through, around a year after we first mentioned Weston House to Sidra, we made another direct approach to Frogmore and its agents. We put our case that the building’s performance had borne out our view on value, was clearly overpriced in the market and had now had more than enough time to provide an accurate picture of whether it was going to sell.
     
    In September this year a deal was finally agreed to Sidra at £96,000,000, with completion taking place a few weeks later. It’s a satisfying result for everyone involved and a real vindication of keeping in touch, giving solid advice, sticking to one’s intuition and, more than anything, exercising a little patience.

    The Author

    Andrew Thomas
    +44 20 7487 1649
    andrew.thomas@colliers.com
  11. Keeping up with Shoreditch: Bentima House retains its allure with two new lets

    27 September 2018
    After the fanfare of a launch campaign and full occupation achieved, the mark of a building’s endurance is how it retains its attraction later on when the office units within change hands. The worlds of architecture, design and technology wait for no-one and occupiers are unrelenting in their demands for aspirational space to enhance their brand, inspire their workforce and attract the best talent and clientele. Every year brings new materials, techniques and technologies, meaning architects and developers must future-proof their buildings to cement its place in the market.
    Bentima House at 168-172 Old Street was refurbished in 2014 to a design by Gpad Architetcs, also based on Old Street. The building was released in two phases, with the five original storeys followed in 2017 by three floors of newly added penthouse units. Both releases were an immediate success, finding great favour in the marketplace.

    The building still looks brilliant and its dramatic exterior of anthracite painted brickwork and vast ribbons of windows impress visitors and potential occupiers alike. The offices are a perfect blank canvas for occupiers to make their own with a simple, effective and timeless modern industrial aesthetic of white paintwork and exposed metal.

    The third floor of 5,069ft2 was let to Northdoor plc, a corporate IT consultancy firm that helps businesses capture, manage, protect and analyse large volumes of commercial data for strategic insights and competitive advantage. Already based in the Old Street area, on nearby Dufferin Street, Northdoor were looking to inject a new lease of life into the business with an office move. 

    Up on the sixth floor, in the new penthouse section, we let a striking space of 4,717ft2 to the boutique travel agency Jacada Travel.  Previously based in Islington, the company sought to improve the workplace environment for its existing staff with an office that would retain and attract the best talent. The choice of Bentima House confirms the building’s credentials.

    It’s also possible that the length of time that Colliers has been involved with the building helps in creating and retaining an allure. With so much knowledge of the building inside out and from the ground floor up – from its initial acquisition, through its refurbishment and launches and now to its subsequent lettings – we have much to impart and promote to potential occupiers. We’re glad they share our enthusiasm.

    The Author

    Ricky Blair
    020 7101 2020
    07961 104 125
    Ricky.Blair@colliers.com
  12. Kiwi software firm lands ideal new home

    26 September 2018
    Vend Software, a growing retail software company currently headquartered in New Zealand, has just taken a lease on a 2nd floor office at 22 Commercial Street E1. The firm is growing quickly in the UK and sought to relocate from nearby Leonard Street to expand its London operations.
    When approaching us in seeking a larger home, Vend Software was particularly keen to remain close to its existing location and to acquire a creative and contemporary new workplace that would inspire their workforce and reflect the company’s growth and success. 22 Commercial Street meets that brief perfectly. 

    The 4,775ft2 office consists of a large open plan workspace with separate meeting rooms and a well-fitted and sociable kitchen with a large breakfast bar. There are plenty of warehouse qualities including chunky concrete columns, large industrial windows along two sides and factory style glass partitions, with contemporary design touches including multiple blades of LED lighting extending across ceilings. 

    The office became available through the acquisition of a company within the building. 

    With a location between Shoreditch High Street and newly revitalised Aldgate, 22 Commercial Street sits among the bustle of Spitalfields and Brick Lane in an ideal setting for any company seeking to be and feel at the heart of London’s creative hub.

    On our initial visit we were immediately struck by how the office seemed a perfect fit on all fronts for Vend Software; it was a moment of accurate intuition with an off-market deal reached soon afterwards in August 2018. As a result of the swift transaction, Vend Software are now in occupation and enjoying their new home. 

    The Author

    Megan Orr
    +44 20 7344 6527
    +44 7802 338293
    megan.orr@colliers.com
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