Commercial Blog April 2018 - Colliers International | London



  1. April 2018

  2. Throwing darts and making movies

    17 April 2018
    When the Jim Carrey movie, The Truman Show, was released in 1998, its central premise – that the whole life of Carrey’s character had been captured on film and broadcast as a TV show – did seem like the stuff of scientific fiction.

    Twenty years on, the possibility of a ‘recorded life’ has edged a little bit closer with the launch of a service which can record your night out without you ever even needing to pick up your phone.
    Flight Club – the darts ‘competitive socialising’ concept – has launched a new ‘Stories’ service which records your evening’s fun and games. The highlights of your games - captured in videos or photos – plus your final leaderboard scores, can be emailed to you the day after your visit.

    Flight Club believes the technology is unique to the social experience industry, and offers seamless technology integration and sharing to social media, whilst removing the need for mobile phone use whilst playing. 

    Co-founder Steve Moore comments: “We’re launching Stories to enhance our guests’ experience, not only whilst they’re with us, but when reminiscing the next day. Very few people use their phone when they’re with us - a feat we’re particularly proud of - but it does mean some moments aren’t captured. 

    “Stories takes care of that, packaged up in a beautiful piece of user-friendly technology which is delivered to our customers the next day.”

    The business anticipates that 2,000 moments will be captured each day, generating hundreds of Stories each week. To date more than 600,000 customers have thrown over 35 million darts in Flight Club’s two London venues. Aptly enough, the Stories service will also soon be available in the country that brought us The Truman Show – Flight Club’s first international venue opens in Chicago soon. 

    Where Flight Club has led, other leisure operators are sure to follow and the ability to star in the movie of your own life will get closer and closer. Comedy? Thriller? Horror? Romance? I guess most of our lives are a combination of all...

    Ross KirtonHead of UK Leisure Agency
  3. Up into the light

    10 April 2018
    As London struggles to achieve the necessary development density to accommodate thousands of new homes and also millions of square feet of commercial space, developers are looking to create bigger and taller buildings.
    Tall buildings cast long shadows and their development can trigger ‘Rights of Light’ issues – these are based on Ancient Lights Law which provides a long-standing owner of a building which has windows, skylights and glass roofs a right to maintain a sufficient level of illumination. Put simply, they can stop someone whacking up a skyscraper next door and blocking your source of natural daylight.

    Resolving potential ‘Rights to Light’ issues is something that developers must be aware of from the outset and address them immediately or they may find themselves sin breach of the law and facing costly legal action.

    ·         Start early: If you approach this early enough and the main Rights of Light constraints have been identified, a good surveyor will be able to create a 3D maximum envelope which will show the volume that can be built without impacting this legality and will be able to design steer your scheme in the right direction to ensure the appropriate strategy is put in place.

    ·         Aerial photography is not enough, get a survey done:  accurate assessment is essential. Where possible, we recommend basing your 3D modelling on a digital laser scans, not just aerial photogrammetry (making measurements from photographs). The latter bases its measurement from above so ledges, balconies, cornices and columns dictate the shape and size of the building. There have been previous legal cases where unnecessary amounts of compensation were paid out due to poor 3D modelling so ensure you do your homework and are receiving adequate counsel.

    ·         What are the Rights of Light positions surrounding your development? Generally speaking, windows, skylights and glass roofs in buildings where unobstructed light has not been an issue for at least 19 years and 1 day will have established a Right to Light, under Section 3 of the Prescription act 1832, (if you do something for long enough you earn the right to continue doing it). However, there are different methods of establishing rights and these privileges can also be removed. You should always seek legal professional advice on this, so you know the extent of your liability.

    ·         Be open to negotiations and consider insurance: Solutions to Rights of Light infringements might include cutting back or redesigning your scheme to reduce infringement to neighbours. However, if this cannot be avoided, you should be open to negotiate with them. There are insurance products these days that can allow you to start negotiations whilst still having a financial safety net in case they fall apart or become litigious. With proper strategy and advice from a specialist, you can mitigate cost and choose the best package for you.

    ·         Be considerate: If a Rights of Light agreement cannot be reached, be aware that the legal environment surrounding Rights of Light today is very much geared around the behaviour of the parties, particularly the developer. If you ever find yourself in court, this would be a major consideration in determining the outcome as you might find continued construction for your development being prevented, delayed or reduced in size, even if part of the scheme which is being cut back has already been let off-plan.

    As tall buildings proliferate around the capital – plans are even being mooted for multi-storey warehouses – Rights of Light issues are going to become more commonplace. If you don’t want your development to be overshadowed by a protracted legal wrangle, it’s best to tackle the problem as early as possible.


    Associate Director | Rights of Light & Daylight Sunlight Issues

  4. Restored 1930s office building fully pre-let ahead of completion

    5 April 2018
    Due for practical completion later this month, The Epworth is a dramatically reimagined art-deco building on City Road where architects Buckley Grey Yeoman have delivered a design that provides 61,774ft2 of modern office space with a sophisticated industrial aesthetic.
    We have successfully pre- let the entire building to two tenants; Regus & NTT.

    Regus is perhaps the UK’s most well established name in the serviced office sector, but it’s the organisation’s newer offspring – design-led co-working provider Spaces – that has taken four storeys at The Epworth, from the lower ground through third floors. With 7 existing locations in London and 22 in the UK, Spaces has fast become a global presence of 140+ across in South America, North America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australasia.

    Floors 4,5 & 6 have been let to NTT Data, the global IT innovator headquartered in Tokyo. The company has operations in more than 50 countries and regions with current projects including the development of an electric car-charging infrastructure in Germany & Austria in collaboration with six major power companies, and a digital archiving system for the Vatican Library to preserve its precious manuscripts for future generations. 

    The Epworth has been developed by our clients London & Regional whose previous projects include the landmark redevelopment of the former Marks & Spencer headquarters at 55 Baker Street, and the 190,000ft2 multi-use refurbishment of another 1930s building at 10 Bloomsbury Way, between Holborn and Tottenham Court Road.

    Buckley Gray Yeoman’s restoration includes the construction of two new top floors with a glass curtain wall alongside a dramatic central atrium at the Epworth’s heart that connects its three adjoined buildings.  Interior finishes include plenty of polished screed and panted brick along with restored 1930s tiles. Facilities are of course first class and include the provision of 70 cycle spaces and a block of 7 showers with changing rooms and lockers.

    Situated on the section of City Road between Old Street and Moorgate, The Epworth has great travel connections to the rest of the city and beyond from tube bus and indeed National Rail at Liverpool Street, soon to become a stop of the Elizabeth Line when the Crossrail project completes. 

    The Author

    Elliott Stern
    020 7101 2020
    07834 918 700
  5. Conscious relocation: global Fintech firm moves into Mindspace

    4 April 2018
    Colliers has recently acted for a Global Fintech company – headquartered in North America – in relocating its London office and negotiating a new workspace at a forthcoming co-working location on the Shoreditch-City border.
    The company’s new office provides 15 desks and a dedicated meeting room at a building on Appold Street EC2. Here, co-working provider Mindspace is about to open its second London location, not far from its existing operation at nearby Aldgate East.

    Already based in serviced offices for the last 5 years, our tenant client had considered taking a full lease on its next workspace, but in the end a flexible term length won out. Seeking a one-year contract to remain agile in line with its business growth plans, the company also sought to preserve capital to re-invest in the business and have a monthly fixed cost solution.

    Working with the tenant to refine the brief and find suitable options, the new Mindspace location was chosen because of the building’s professional exterior combined with a modern and creative interior and abundance of free meeting rooms and breakout space. But the real dealmaker was the office space itself, which is flooded with natural light.

    Mindspace has locations across Europe and North America in cities including Tel Aviv, Warsaw, Berlin and San Francisco. The opening of the Shoreditch location on Appold Street will take the company’s global total to 14.

    Members can participate in events, exclusive guest lectures, hands-on workshops and casual meet-ups, but what gives Mindspace a unique identity in the co-working sector is the way in which its locations are furnished. 

    Rather than a carefully curated and standardised environment, items are sourced from local flea markets and vintage stores, with local artists commissioned to create individual works. This gives each Mindspace location a flavour particular to its neighbourhood.

    The Appold Street location is extremely close Liverpool Street station and therefore connected to the rail, tube and bus network, soon to be augmented with the new Crossrail platforms. Other stations nearby include Moorgate, Shoreditch High Street and Old Street, meaning the scenes of Shoreditch, Spitalfields Barbican are all within walking distance.

    The Author

    Mark Bott
    0207 101 2020
    07879 890 115
  6. Time for Tea: newly refurbished office at iconic London workspace

    2 April 2018
    One of London’s most iconic commercial buildings – and perhaps the most highly prized in Shoreditch – the Tea Building provides its tenants and visitors with a uniquely creative, bustling and varied environment. Alongside a collection of stunning workspaces with every warehouse box ticked, the building is home to on-site restaurant Pizza East, to nightclub Concrete, and to Soho House which occupies the top floor.
    Dating back to the nineteenth century, the distinctive, spacious interior was converted into eight floors of unique studio spaces by Derwent London in the early 2000s. Since then, the Tea Building has become a much loved local landmark that almost sums up in one building just what London’s entire creative renaissance is all about. 
    It’s a hard building to miss and is pretty much part of everyone’s day in Shoreditch, whether passing by on the way to and from work, hanging at Boxpark just across the street, or indeed coming into the building, whether to work or play here.
    Such is the regard for the Tea Building that rarely do any workspaces become available on the open market. Once a company is in it does all it can to stay, trading up within the building to larger premises whenever possible, keeping any units from ever making it into the public domain. However, every now and again an opportunity does arise.
    We are marketing a newly refurbished first floor space of 5,383ft2 that has everything a creative enterprise would hope for from an office in the City Fringe: a bright and open plan format with exposed brickwork, exposed concrete, huge factory windows and suspended galvanised steel conduit trunking, enhanced with a specification including brand new perimeter & ceiling mounted comfort cooling system, self-contained WCs and a new lighting system.

    Amenities for occupants include two passenger lifts, two goods lifts, a loading bay, cycle storage, shower facilities and a 24-hour onsite commissionaire.

    The prime location at the junction of Shoreditch High Street and Bethnal Green Road affords access to both excellent transport links, with Shoreditch High Street, Old Street and Liverpool Street stations all within walking distance and tons of buses passing the door. 

    We are quoting a rent of £59.50 per ft2 for the unit.

    The Author

    Alexander Howarth
    0207 871 7430
    07841 514264
  7. March 2018

  8. Broadwick Street

    London’s appeal broadens across international investment market

    30 March 2018
    London’s fame as a magnet for international investment is common knowledge, with property acquisitions by foreign buyers continually grabbing the headlines.

    While it’s private Hong Kong investors who have dominated the scene since the EU Referendum in 2016, the allure of London is widening.

    Colliers (jointly with CBRE) recently acted for GPE in the disposal of the freehold interest of 30 Broadwick Street, the best new building in Soho. Comprising 94,300 sq ft of retail, restaurant and office accommodation, the building is let to an impressive range of tenants (including Drake's first U.K retail outlet) all of whom occupy the building on long leases at record high rents for Soho.

    With 79% of purchases in Central London’s commercial investment market coming from abroad in 2017, the sales campaign for 30 Broadwick Street was focussed on international investors. This was achieved through travelling to Asia and liaising with our local international offices.

    Here at home, the result of the EU Referendum is regarded as hugely significant on both sides of the argument; for or against, Brexit hasn’t left the national conversation since the day of the vote. In terms of the commercial property market, it’s seen domestic investors disposing of existing assets and refraining from acquiring new ones.

    Globally, however, the UK’s imminent departure from the EU is seen as fairly trivial, at least among some investors. It’s the weakening of the pound that has piqued their interest: London’s property market is significantly more attractive, particularly to anywhere with a currency pegged to the US dollar.

    For 30 Broadwick Street, that translated into strong interest from a diverse geographical spread of countries including Hong Kong, Spain, Germany, China, Singapore, Taiwan and Norway. Ultimately the property sold for £190 million, a record price per sq ft for a new Soho office building.

    The Author

    Charlie Van der Gucht
    020 7487 1708
  9. Perceptions of place

    28 March 2018
    In the latest of our guest blogs, Chrissy Cullen – the Head of Marketing at Grosvenor – talks about the brand vision for the Mayfair & Belgravia estates.
    Sitting at the heart of the capital, Grosvenor’s London estate in Mayfair & Belgravia has a long history. Its districts have unique characteristics, beautiful architecture, recognisable landmarks, globally-known retail streets and some of the capital’s best green spaces. They are associated with style and fashion, peaceful mews and grand boulevards, dining and art. They are perceived by some as aspirational and exclusive and by others as quiet and traditional.

    These perceptions drive choices - where people choose to spend time, what parts of London they chose to explore - but they also come from the way in which a place evolves. Like all districts at the heart of the capital, Mayfair & Belgravia won’t be insulated from the pressures of a growing and diversifying global city. Nor should they be. We believe they will have to respond by being more active, more open and more integrated, with better streets, greener spaces and enterprising places that appeal to all.

    We have a 20-year vision for our London estate to see that evolution. Achieving it will require not just new investment and deeper collaboration, but also a change in the perception that our London estate is only for the few.

    So we have spent time reaching a deeper understanding of the ways in which the estate is viewed by Londoners and visitors, residents and businesses. We have rearticulated with new place brands the identity of our estate, our neighbourhoods and our destinations.

    With extensive conversation and collaboration with retailers and other stakeholders, we have sought to capture the nuances, the specific characteristics of each place. Our place brands mark out those differentiators rather than homogenise the estate or turn their back on what makes Mayfair & Belgravia so special. We want them to help shift perceptions and allow new stories to take root.

    So for example South Belgravia is within walking distance of the busy commercial hub of Victoria and boasts some great amenities. Our place brands here - whether articulating the food, fashion and lifestyle offer in Elizabeth Street or our new enterprise hub in Eccleston Yards for co-working, leisure and wellbeing - tell the story of a cosmopolitan and active place.

    And in North Mayfair, our evolving retail destinations in North Audley Street and Duke Street will benefit from renewed storytelling. We have a new narrative for our Mount Street destination where fashion and art collide. Our brand and media partnerships with Frieze and Vogue Magazine last year developed this narrative, with Mount Street hosting special one-off events and talks from celebrated designers and artists.

    So as we seek a bigger, better and wider blend of retail - from amenities to luxury, enterprise to leisure; as we expand our cultural and leisure offer with new partnerships; and as we grow and sustain better destinations in the heart of the West End, we will need to shift perceptions of our estate to drive success.

    New experiences will tell a coherent and recognisable story. Our estate will host and provoke memories for those who experience it, making them want to return. And our place brands across assets, streets and districts will signpost that journey and reaffirm London's capacity to change.

    Chrissy Cullen
    Head of Marketing at Grosvenor 

  10. Red Bull Studios spreads its wings and lands in Covent Garden

    26 March 2018
    Acting on behalf of CBRE Global Investors, we have now completed the letting of the entire Seven Dials Warehouse on Earlham Street WC2 to Red Bull Studios, part of the music arm of the global energy drinks manufacturer. Relocating from their current home on Tooley Street in London Bridge SE1, Red Bull Studios will move into 37,000ft2 of newly refurbished prime space in a remarkable and historic building in the heart of Covent Garden.
    The building has a rich and varied heritage: as a brewery in the 1800s; a stationer’s warehouse in the early 1900s; then as home to giants of the technological age with occupants including Facebook and Expedia. Many Londoners will already know the site, either when passing by when visiting the neighbouring Donmar Warehouse and Cambridge Theatres, or perhaps from the inside, either on the ground floor that Urban Outfitters have occupied since the early 2000s, or in the basement at Belgo Centraal, one of London’s largest restaurants.

    As that rarest of things – a genuine industrial warehouse in a proper West End location – the building was Grade II Listed in 2002.

    Long established as Central London’s most famous quarter for fashion and theatre, Covent Garden is now developing as one of the capital’s fastest growing business districts. Seven Dials Warehouse enters the fray with the refurbishment by CBRE Global Investors carried out to a fantastic design by Gpad Architects, a practice whose residential and commercial projects form a collection of some of the best modern design in London. 

    The reimagining of the interior runs from top to bottom in a conscious repositioning of the building within the London office marketplace. The architects had much to work with from the original fabric including huge warehouse windows and rugged exposed brickwork; these form the canvass onto which a high-spec and beautifully realised contemporary specification has been added, not least of which a striking new reception area with an arresting and wide open-tread staircase in anthracite steel and mesh. There’s a real sense of occasion when entering the building.

    Working up past 5 floors of deep, open workspaces – tailor-made for technology, media and telecoms brands – Seven Dials Warehouse culminates with a 3,000ft terrace on the roof with incredible views over the city. It’s a very fine home for any business, and an inspiring place to work for its employees. 

    The Author

    Alex Kemp
  11. A new designer office for under £40 per sq ft. Impossible? Actually, no.

    23 March 2018
    When all of your time is spent wandering around Clerkenwell, Shoreditch and other parts of the City Fringe, it can be easy to assume that £60+ per sq ft is simply what an occupier will need to pay if they want a decent London workspace.
    But for businesses without that sort of budget, or who simply don’t need a core City Fringe location, there is still the opportunity to acquire a beautiful, design-led industrial style space without having to go too far.

    Enter Studios Holloway N7, just around the corner from Holloway Road tube (2 stops from Kings Cross) and about half a mile up the road from Highbury Corner. The location at the inner edge of TfL Zone 2 and just outside the congestion charge zone reduces commuting costs, both for drivers (parking is available within the development) and for public transport users.

    This mixed-use development consists of around 600 apartments and a community of businesses across a collection of workspaces, retail units and leisure studios.  Alongside a crop of creative enterprises from the design and media worlds, commercial occupiers include LeyLey’s, Bikram Yoga, Fit Space, Sacred Café, Bebop Hair Studio and Tesco Express – so there’s plentiful lifestyle offering for a workforce.

    These really are remarkable units that would sit very comfortably among those in Clerkenwell and Shoreditch, but with rents of just £37.50 per sq ft to £39.50 per sq ft they have an extremely accessible price point and no less arresting a design. Spaces are available from 579 – 5,653ft² (54 – 525m²) each with its own front door, kitchen and WC within an open development.

    With double height voids, glazed mezzanines, exposed concrete soffits with galvanised trunking, suspended air conditioning vents, fibre optic data connection and huge banks of glass along curved exterior facades, the units are every inch the core City Fringe in all but address.

    Business occupiers also have use of an onsite facility known as ‘Red Meet’, a vibrant commercial hub that encourages networking and co-working alongside formal and informal rooms and seating areas for team and client meetings. 

    If you’d like to see whether Studios Holloway would suit your business, contact Josh Miller or Emma Higgins at Colliers on 020 7101 2020 or David Shapiro or Jonny Novick at Fresson and Tee on 020 7391 7100.

    The Author

    Joshua Miller
    0207 101 2020
    07917 725 365
  12. Classic Victorian warehouse sold

    22 March 2018
    We’ve just completed the sale of an impressive Victorian warehouse in the heart of the City Fringe.
    Measuring 8,615ft2 and spread across 5 floors (lower ground to third), 34-38 Provost Street N1 sits at the junction of Vestry Street, just 160 metres north of Old Street tube. 

    With the regeneration of City Road in full swing, the immediate neighbourhood is getting not only a whole new skyline, but also a revitalised scene at street level that will eventually include a new public piazza on the remodelled Old Street roundabout.

    Previously occupied by Fortress Studios since the mid 1990s, the building has hosted a plentiful and varied collection of events, from electronic music nights and famously wild parties to big names like Coldplay, Toploader and even a certain Tom Jones. 

    Today, while somewhat dilapidated, the building has an awful lot going for it including great floor-to-ceiling heights, plenty of exposed brickwork and lots of original timber. The fantastic pitched roof would easily lend itself to the creation of a spectacular double-height top floor with accompanying mezzanine and wow factor.

    The prominent corner site provides yet more classic warehouse character with two elevations of big sash windows along with a stack of loading bay doors above one of the entrances.

    The Author

    Ricky Blair
    020 7101 2020
    07961 104 125
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