Commercial Blog September 2018 - Colliers International | London



  1. September 2018

  2. Well above Parr & under £50 per ft2: new, cool, affordable workspaces at Shoreditch Park

    18 September 2018
    Finding an office in the City Fringe for under £50 per ft2 is no mean feat, let alone a space that inspires, with many firms forced beyond the core EC1, EC2 and N1 postcodes. But hope is at hand in the pocket of N1 between Shoreditch Park and the Regent’s Canal, a location still emerging by City Fringe standards and with lower entry costs.
    First put on the map by Gainsborough Studios -  the conversion of Alfred Hitchcock’s iconic film studios into one of London’s pioneering mixed use live/work developments – the area has since expanded its cache of cool, contemporary developments, but in somewhat quieter fashion than the headline-grabbers of central Shoreditch, Clerkenwell and Islington.

    That trend continues with the launch of EWR, a brand new office building of 12,000ft2 on Parr Street, just west of New North Road. Suitable for a single occupier or multiple tenants, EWR consists of 4 units of around 3,000ft2 each and has an excellent architectural pedigree with its design by the excellent Shoreditch practice, Buckley Grey Yeoman.

    Standing inside and looking around the interiors, nothing has been missed from the wish list of a modern creative enterprise: huge factory-style windows; high ceilings; suspended LED light boxes; exposed services in galvanised trunking; raised metal tiled floors. Rounding things off are sandy coloured concrete columns and soffits that generate a warming and softer alternative to the usual grey.

    The inviting entrance lobby at EWR employs the same elements of design along with increased height ceilings, a bespoke reception desk, polished concrete floor, vintage lighting and custom artworks. Additional amenities include shower facilities and 36 cycle racks.

    Occupiers can even choose how to receive their new workspace, from an open plan Cat A fit out to a full plug’n’play delivery. Floors 1 to 3 are currently finished to Cat A standard, while the Cat B treatment to the 4th displays the full potential of the interiors and includes a sleek grey kitchen, bolon flooring in part and a complete package of desks, chairs and storage furniture.

    For businesses looking to minimise their initial outlay, the Cat B option is a truly workable alternative, with costs incorporated into the annual rent through a straightforward and affordable £4.50 per ft2 premium. Flexibility of term is also on offer.

    Just one minute away by bike, the former towpath of the Regent’s Canal provides the ideal London commute, while public transport comes in the shape of 5 bus routes stopping nearby and Old Street station around 10 to 12-minute’s walk. Completing the picture is a developing local scene of places to eat including Gainsborough Café overlooking Shoreditch Park and The Commissary on the canal.

    The Author

    Joshua Miller
    0207 101 2020
    07917 725 365
  3. Right in every detail: creative workspace perfection at Chapter & Verse

    18 September 2018
    Within 100 metres of Old Street Roundabout, a magnificent converted school and a newly-constructed building are set to deliver a state-of-the-art office development at the vanguard of 21st century design. The two buildings will offer a total of 50,000ft2 of exceptional cutting-edge workspace to satisfy staunch minimalists, loft fanatics and architecture purists alike.
    The former school (Chapter House) is an outstanding example of Queen Anne style from 1886 and was designed by Thomas Jerram Bailey. Alongside its archetypal red and sandy brickwork and giant windows, the building features the unexpected detail of a wide, three-storey circular bay. The refurbishment celebrates this wonderful heritage while a new penthouse level of floor-to-ceiling glass is something of a crowning glory and provides magnificent views of the city skyline.

    Verse Building sees the demolition of the current 1980s office building, replacing it with a taller and elegant new building in contemporary grey brick. In a striking exercise of sleek symmetry, the eight-storey front and rear elevations group the full height windows of the office floors into pairs and set them into double height apertures.

    Chapter House will be ready for occupation in Q4 2018, with Verse Building completing in Q3 2019. 

    Chapter & Verse is a development by LBS Properties who bought the buildings through Colliers towards the end of 2017. The company focusses on the residential and commercial sectors of the central London property market, tackling ambitious large-scale projects with expertise in acquisitions, planning, construction and sales. Among successfully completed LBS projects are landmark schemes in SW1 like Eight Artillery Row and Trafalgar One, with current developments including The Madison, a 53-storey tower in Canary Wharf, and HKR Hoxton, to the north of Shoreditch. 

    To ensure that Chapter & Verse hit the right note in every regard, the design team of LBS Properties, their two appointed architects – Thirdway Architecture on Chapter House and Buckley Grey Yeoman on Verse Building – and Colliers International worked together to realise a breath-taking and inspirational development that meets and exceeds the requirements of modern city occupiers.

    As the City Fringe has flourished and matured, so the aspirations of high performing start-ups and innovators have increased. Today’s enterprises are uncompromising in their demand for excellence in specification and design, seeking beautiful finishes, natural light, voluminous spaces, high ceilings and outside areas.

    All these elements have been delivered at Chapter & Verse with ceiling heights from 2.9 to 4.5 meters, multiple terraces, exquisite materials and large expanses of glass. Floor areas cater to a range of occupiers from 1,660 – 7,449ft2 with amenities including 134 cycle spaces & lockers, 15 showers and beautiful reception lobbies to each building.

    The location is no less irresistible. At the heart of London’s creative hub, Chapter & Verse is just moments from Old Street Roundabout – soon to become an open public piazza – and a short walk to Shoreditch with perhaps the most exciting, creative and varied collection of cafes, bars, restaurants shops, and galleries in town.

    The Author

    Elliott Stern
    020 7101 2020
    07834 918 700
  4. Beyond fashion: the bold transformation of Alexander McQueen’s former HQ

    17 September 2018
    Originally the site of David Duffield & Co, a linen-drapers dating back to the 1800s, 76-78 Clerkenwell Road gained a more recent renown as home to the revolutionary fashion house of Alexander McQueen. The firm occupied the building for 10 years from 2008-2018 before moving its London headquarters to nearby Aylesbury Street.
    Now re-christened Drapers House, this classic Victorian factory building has been subjected to a refashioning no less arresting than the designs of its radical couture occupant. In a development by Rockspring Property Investment Managers, an arm of PATRIZIA Immobilien AG, the building has been transformed into a series of futuristic workspaces where dynamic floor plates and creative mezzanines are augmented with hi-tech new materials and exposed original fabric. It’s a visionary reimagining that will deliver almost 13,000ft2 of extraordinary office space in a prime Clerkenwell location.

    Already reserved is the self-contained ground/lower ground floor 4,000ft2 duplex.  That leaves the first through to fourth floors with access through the beautiful new entrance lobby with custom-designed visitors seating upholstered in opulent jade velvet.

    The first and second floor units each occupy a floor of the original building and have large replacement windows in the original factory style. Each measures about 2,200ft2.

    The third & fourth floor unit provides a total of 4,400ft2 and combines the building’s original top floor with a newly added double-height storey.  This remarkable space includes a sleek mezzanine, two private private terrace and, the building’s piece de resistance, a barrel vaulted glass roof. It’s an inspired piece of architectural ingenuity that offers an outlook across the Clerkenwell rooftops normally reserved for birds and adventurous cats.

    Among the materials, finishes and specification are: black steel mesh; exposed warehouse fabric; superb natural daylight; new VRF air-conditioning systems; LED strip lighting; fully accessible inlaid timber raised floors; shower facilities and cycle storage. 

    Just one building from the junction of St John’s Street and Clerkenwell Road, one of the most recognisable corners in the City Fringe, Drapers House sits at the heart of London’s creative hub. Surrounded by British and international innovators in the worlds of fashion, design, tech and media, it’s an exciting and inspirational location that invites the very best in creative talent; people want to work here.

    With an unbeatable cache of places to eat, drink and socialise at any time of day, the area delivers an unbeatable offering for workplace enjoyment and with transport connections that are no less excellent. Farringdon station is just a few minutes away and, in 2019, will have its Underground and Thameslink services hugely upgraded with the arrival of Crossrail, with direct trains to the West End, Heathrow, Canary Wharf and beyond.

    The Author

    Alexander Howarth
    0207 871 7430
    0750 000 7571
  5. Stunning 9,716ft2 B1 space in central Stratford for £27.50per ft2

    13 September 2018
    Just moments from Stratford’s busy transport interchange and Westfield shopping centre, this new and self-contained ground floor office space would make a striking design statement and inspirational workspace for any business.
    With good natural daylight from two compete walls of full height windows and generous ceiling heights, the unit currently has B1 planning consent  but our landlord client will consider proposals for alternate retail or leisure use. The option also exists for a shell and core or fully refurbished delivery.

    For a cost conscious enterprise, the rent of £27.50 per ft2 represents remarkable value in London and the opportunity to acquire beautifully designed contemporary premises at price tag far below the City Fringe but with a hugely accessible and vibrant location.

    Stratford’s renaissance has turned the neighbourhood into something of a mini city in itself: a vibrant place to live and work interwoven with waterways and vast parkland that has transformed the district beyond all recognition and turned it into a destination address for residents and businesses alike.

    Westfield Stratford City brought Europe’s largest indoor shopping mall to London which, along with it’s well-its massive collection of shops and department stores, has a wide food offering a multi-screen cinema. The adjacent East Village has a number of interesting places to eat and drink and sits on the edge of Queen Elizabeth Park, an extraordinary swathe of contemporary parkland and home to 2012’s Olympic legacy with world-class sporting venues and attractions from internationally renowned architects.

    Stratford is also now a major transport hub with Underground (Central & Jubilee Lines), Overground, DLR and National Rail services providing fast access to Canary Wharf, London City Airport, the City and West End along with a one-stop connection to the Eurostar terminal at St Pancras International and high-speed links to the Kent coast.

    Motorways are also readily accessible with nearby access to the M11 (for Stansted Airport) and M25 creating a complete package of connectivity for every mode of transport – not a claim that many London districts can make.

    The Author

    Sam Jacobs
    +44 20 7487 1747
    +447703 804 533
  6. Interior Shot
    Exterior Shot

    Old Sessions House: a successful courting and an arresting proposition

    12 September 2018
    Taking up home in a landmark Clerkenwell building, Ennismore Ltd (creators of The Hoxton Hotel) have recently settled in to their new headquarters at the refurbished Old Sessions House, the former magistrates court of Clerkenwell.
    On an island site where Clerkenwell Green meets Clerkenwell Road, Old Sessions House occupies a bustling corner position and is perhaps the most recognisable and well-regarded building in the neighbourhood; its glamorous Portland Stone facade a symbolic visual reminder of Clerkenwell’s storied past.

    Ennismore have taken the entire principal floors of the building along with part of the ground floor, circa 20,000ft2 in all, including two original courtrooms, the former judges dining room, a 20-metre-tall central dome and a glorious rooftop terrace. With such a remarkable melding of heritage and revitalisation, there are clear parallels to be drawn with The Hoxton brand, making it hard to imagine a more fitting occupant.

    With the main section of Old Sessions House now let, the final chapter is about to unfold in the tale of this fascinating building’s revival. The imminent launch of the atmospheric ground floor accommodation provides a unique offering that combines 5,613ft2 of interior space with 2,600ft2 of exterior courtyards.

    Hewn from the former prison cells, the ground floor has stone slab floors, vaulted ceilings that reach up to 3.5m in height, and four separate entrances to Clerkenwell Green and Farringdon Lane. It’s a flexibility of use that will interest showroom, retail, leisure and office occupiers. A rent of £65 per ft2 is being quoted.

    As the busiest junction in Farringdon, the location sees a significant level of footfall. And at just one minute’s walk from Farringdon Station (Metropolitan, Hammersmith & City, Circle, Thameslink and Elizabeth lines), Old Sessions House acts as a prominent gateway to the beating heart of Clerkenwell.

    The Author

    Richard Silver
    020 7101 2020
    07980 205 293
  7. Interior Shot

    Unique ‘modern-gothic’ workspace in Grade II Listed Farringdon building

    10 September 2018
    Almost directly opposite Farringdon station, 109-111 Farringdon Road is a Grade II Listed gothic Victorian beauty from 1865.
    Designed by the celebrated Henry Jarvis & Sons architects, the grand façade is a unique frontage in the City Fringe and brandishes fiery red bricks with beautiful stonework and gothic arched windows that gradually reduce in size at each level. So esteemed was Henry Jarvis that RIBA named a lecture hall after him at its Portland Place HQ. 

    The building was refurbished in 2015 by our clients Salita Studios to provide a series of outstanding workspaces that deliver a remarkable combination of raw industrial materials and hi-tech contemporary design.

    We are now marketing a magnificent and arresting duplex unit that occupies approximately 9,000ft2 over the ground and lower ground floors. Large banks of roof lights capture plenty of daylight in a space that boasts grit-blasted columns and brickwork, frameless glass balustrades, polished concrete floors and suspended light rods and services. Ceiling voids deliver various double-height areas.

    Completely self-contained with its own private street entrance through the original doors, the unit is ideal as either a showroom or office space in a prime and hugely accessible location (and was, until recently, a showroom for Adidas). The interior is complete with partitioned meeting rooms, demised WCs and a kitchenette with a specification including under floor cabling, video entry, fibre-internet and 24-hour access.

    109-111 Farringdon Road is just moments from Farringdon station, almost directly opposite the junction with Cowcross Street. The station is already well connected with Underground & Thameslink trains and is soon to add the Elizabeth Line to its list of connections as it becomes one of Central London’s major interchanges. 

    Sitting at the heart of Farringdon, the building offers its occupants an enviable litany of places to eat, drink, shop and socialise with Cowcross Street, Hatton Garden, Leather Lane, Exmouth Market all within an easy walk. 

    The Author

    Richard Silver
    020 7101 2020
    07980 205 293
  8. Staying up late and (not) drinking

    6 September 2018
    It’s just over two years since we saw the introduction of all-night underground services on selected tube lines in London. The move was widely heralded as being a major shot in the arm for the capital’s late night economy.
    So it’s interesting to look at how things have changed for Londoners looking for a drink, meal or fun after midnight. The bottom line is that it’s not making money for Transport for London despite passenger numbers having increased from 7.8m in 2016-17 to 8.7m in 2017-18. However, it’s what happens overground that was always the impetus for the initiative and the effect of the night tube is still on track to add £1.54bn to London's economy during the next 10 years. 

    However, if you wander around the central London after midnight there isn’t much evidence of a late night revolution. Exactly why operators have been relatively slow in exploring the potential of later trading is not immediately apparent – although the process of getting a late night licence is not easy. Certainly if you find yourself in jam-packed places like Bar Soho or Primo, it does seem that there’s money to be made trading into the early hours.

    Maybe some of the reticence is because it seems that Londoners are beginning to drink in a different way. The search for an after-hours watering hole was invariably driven by the need for another – alcoholic – drink. However, Londoners are apparently less in love with the hard stuff while Government stats show that people under 25 are more likely to be tee-total than older generations.

    A new pop-up bar called The Ministry of International Specialist Concoctions will open in Hackney at the beginning of October. It’s the brainchild of Shinyoung Lyu and a look at her drinks list shows how far ‘mocktails’ have come. The menu combines ingredients like wolfberry, beetroot, and coffee, or Kombucha with Shikhye — a sweet rice drink found in Lyu’s native Korea.

    Even in more traditional bars, there’s more of a trend for long cocktails with a relatively small alcohol content instead of wine or shots.

    It’s certainly a far cry from the ‘drinkers’ charter’ that some people feared that the night tube would become – and it also opens up a whole new range of possibilities about what you should be offering if you’re business is staying up late in London. 

    Ross Kirton
    +44 20 7487 1615
  9. Time is money: Tenant Rep Team secures 1-year rent-free period for Clckwrk

    3 September 2018
    One of the big sells of the Colliers Representation Team is to secure the best possible space on the best possible terms for occupiers using our service. When businesses are paying for us to find them a space along with all the other outgoings involved with relocating their operation or starting out from scratch, we need to make it worth their while.
    A remarkable achievement for us recently was in the acquisition of new office space for Clckwrk, a cloud computing professional and managed service company, looking to relocate to a conventional office in the City Fringe. Alongside seeking an office for 25-30 people, Clckwrk was looking to reduce its operating costs at the same time as coming out of a serviced office environment and into its own private space. The aim was to move within their 3-month notice period to a more cost-effective office as soon as possible.

    With a steady growth plan, Clckwrk no longer required rolling flexible breaks as offered by The Office Group at Greville Street but they were also keen to avoid a five-year tie-in on a traditional lease so required a 3 year break.

    Our searches looked at CAT A and CAT B refurbishments alongside fully fitted floors. We advised Clckwrk on the costs of fitting out their own space which is something they were considering but had no experience of. With the upfront costs of fitting out an office – likely in the region of £100,000 for the amount of space they required – it became clear that such an outlay was really not in their mindset and so the hunt focused down on fitted space within their budget and flexilbility range.

    This process unearthed a second-hand fitted floor in Lector Court, in Farringdon. With an open plan floor plate of 2,420 sq ft, the office was the perfect size to house the Clckwrk team. It also hit the budget financially as Clckwrk could inherit the previous tenants fit out which suited their working environment with 2 meeting rooms, a kitchen and open plan desks.

    We agreed a five year lease with the landlord and a tenant break clause at three years. We limited the dilapidations obligation via a schedule of condition, agreed a service charge cap and despite the space already being fitted, negotiated a 12-month rent-free period over the lease term. 

    The Author

    Olivia Blundell
    +44 20 7344 6570
    +44 7860180320
  10. August 2018

  11. START SPREADING THE NEWS: a new anthem to New York retail

    START SPREADING THE NEWS: a new anthem to New York retail

    22 August 2018
    The New York retail industry is facing a major transformation. Having been challenged by the increasing popularity of e-commerce, the decline in traditional department stores, alongside the proliferation of mobile and touchscreen devices, retailers are taking radical action to entice shoppers to all of their platforms; in order to survive the industry’s biggest ever identity crisis.

    On a recent trip to New York, it was clear to me that retailers are challenging traditional models and are putting inspiration, innovation and a willingness to redefine the consumer experience at the very heart of their shopping experience.

    Coined “experiential retail”, this is a complete reinvention of the in-store experience. It is creating environments that attract and excite consumers through features such as spas; cafes; theatres; art exhibitions; and a host of facilities, along with personalised service; in-store kiosks; 3-D experiences; pop-up shops; mobile commerce, and much more.

    Keen to see what this means in practice, I simply had to visit the new Reformation store on Bond Street.

    The New Kid on the Block: Reformation

    Reformation’s newest store in Noho is the sustainable label’s first tech-enabled shop in New York. The 3,500 sq ft white and chrome space is the brand’s largest shop yet in the United States. The shop is maintained like a showroom, so every item on the floor is actually a sample piece and there is only one item displayed at a time. The real shopping is done via touch screens on the walls; the experience is similar to using the Reformation website, yet this software only shows items that are in stock. A Reformation assistant greeted us at the door with a glass of rosé. Intimidation levels: High.

    Customers are encouraged to type their name into the screen to create a dressing room. You can then add items you want to try on by scrolling and clicking, as you would on a website. I was quite overwhelmed so this was a stressful process of scanning and squinting to find things I had seen on the hangers but couldn’t recognise on the screen. If you are in a similar state of delirium and you prefer the more physical experience of scanning the rails of curated clothing, you can use your phone in order to scan the barcode.

    The Reformation team works behind-the-scenes to pull your selected pieces from the stock room and places them into your dressing room’s two-way wardrobe. After checking in at the “Love Desk”, you are directed into your designated dressing room where all the pieces that you selected are waiting for you, seamlessly hung.

    Each dressing room has a smaller version of the touch-screen display, so you can carry on shopping or change sizes whilst trying on clothes. Music and lighting within the dressing rooms can be customised through an aux cable in your phone to settings that include “Golden,” “Cool,” or “Sexy Time.” Once the experience is over, you can purchase clothes anywhere in the shop, similar to the Apple Store, using a card reader each sales assistant has on their phone. Simples.

    As a whole, the new tech features were great. They gave me an experience I couldn’t get online and encouraged me to try on more than I would have otherwise. If you’re still not sold on the tech experience, Reformation has kept the Soho and Lower East Side locations in the original format. I don’t know if I had a “Sexy Time”, but it certainly seemed the future of retail.

    Other tech savvy NYC stores:

    Story at Macy’s:

    In a bid to stay current and avoid extinction, the department store chain, Macy’s, has recently acquired New York City concept store, Story. Story is a cohesive storytelling retail model that takes the point of view of a magazine, changes like a gallery, and sells like a shop. Stay with me. Every four to eight weeks, the space reinvents itself – from the design of the store to the merchandise – with the goal of highlighting a new theme. Story has a heightened focus on experience, engagement and collaboration/brand partnerships – something which Macy’s is aiming to gain more of.


    Within four months of opening, the ground-breaking flagship experiential Samsung 837 store, in New York’s Meatpacking District, earned a place in Forbes world’s top three brand experiences and retail’s top honour for store design of the year. The store features multiple hands-on product zones; interactive art; virtual reality and Gear 360 displays; comfortable lounge areas as well as a recording studio capable of live streaming performances. All this is centred around a monumental three-store display comprised of 96 55-inch screens. However, apart from a café on the top floor, visitors have no other opportunity to purchase anything except a cup of coffee. Literally nada. This 56,000 sq ft “un-store” concept encourages people to learn about the products in a hassle free environment, without the pressure of buying.


    The sportswear retailer’s fifth avenue location has everything from a juice press to a set of bleachers for customers to watch games on. It also includes a print shop, where guests can customise new purchases. A miniature track is set up on one floor where customers can take a run or get their stride analysed and another floor includes a turf field with footballs, kettle bells and other workout equipment. Shopping in the fast lane.

    The Author

    Lizzie Knights
    020 74871654
  12. Is London still calling to musicians?

    21 August 2018
    From The Beatles’ ‘Abbey Road’ to The Clash’s ‘London Calling’, the capital has always inspired musical creativity. But with London property values soaring, musicians are being forced to seek recording space outside of the capital.
    Of course, digital recording has liberated musicians from the necessity of the studio but, even so, physical recording spaces still remain embedded in the creative process. 

    Artists all have unique ways of spending their time in recording studios. From singers, songwriters, to orchestras, DJs and producers. Professional recording time spent in a studio is precious and many upcoming artists will spend their savings to be able to afford to rehearse in a professional recording environment. 

    There’s no ready solution to how London can still offer a range of recording studios but there’s more positive news on the performance front.

    The Mayor of London’s Sounds like London music festival highlighted the economic benefit that ‘grassroots’ venues delivers. Grassroots music venues contribute £91.8m and support 2,260 full time jobs in London. For every £10 spent on tickets for gigs at these venues, an average of £17 is spent nearby on food, drink and transport. Perhaps not surprisingly, a growing band of London developers are seeing the positive effect that incorporating venues into their developments can have.

    Interestingly, there has also been a radical change in thinking around music venues being ‘bad neighbours’. The Mayor’s overall planning strategy for the capital is calling for developers building new residential properties near grassroots music venues to be responsible for ensuring their schemes are adequately soundproofed and designed to reduce sound from nearby venues – instead of the crippling cost falling on the venues themselves. 

    This principle was instrumental in securing the future of the Ministry of Sound, and has since been used to protect other venues including Village Underground in Hackney.

    So whilst there may be a diminishing number of opportunities to record music in the capital it seems like the live scene can flourish.


    Melissa White | Personal Assistant
    Office: +44 20 7487 7051
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