Commercial Blog February 2018 - Colliers International | London

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  1. February 2018

  2. Working with children and animals: the rise of the crèche and pet-friendly offices

    28 February 2018
    It’s a remarkable thing how changing trends in the domestic circumstances of employees can influence not only an employer’s operations, but also its chances of attracting the right workers in the future.
    The effect moves swiftly up the food chain as well. As tenants require ever more from their workspaces, so landlords and property developers must respond if they want their buildings let and to keep apace of demands.

    We’ve seen this in a number of areas. A lot of creative companies can’t afford to be based in the West End, so employers must relocate further East. As far fewer people drive to work, basement car parks become cycle stores and shower facilities, or are sold off to become fitness studios and gyms. Now, being able to bring the dog to work or having childcare facilities at the office is bringing new demands on employers, and consequently on providers of workspace to meet these evolving requirements.

    Last year we acquired space for the marketing agency 4Ps whose new office includes a crèche for its employees’ children and welcomes its workers to bring their dogs to the office. We also acquired space for Dogs Trust, where, somewhat unsurprisingly, many people take their dogs to work.

    In London Fields, a new co-working building from Second Home really welcomes working parents into the fold: as well as an on-site crèche, there’ll be milk-warming facilities in the greenery-filled cafeteria and parking for buggies and scooters. Parents can pop into the nursery whenever they like, or be updated when their child goes to sleep, or be left in peace has crèche facilities alongside a number of socially interactive spaces, services and programmes.

    The revamp of Sea Containers House on the South Bank was heavily based around social interaction and the building has a dog-friendly policy, while serviced office provider WeWork extends a warm welcome to pets at many of its locations. 

    While these new facilities and policies are mainly a feature of new buildings and workspaces, established buildings will need to update their offering in order to retain their existing occupants, attract new ones and to ensure rental levels don’t slide.

    Even when we are out on viewings, it’s quite common for company directors to bring along their dog when looking at potential workspace. So having rooted itself into the culture modern creative enterprises, the practice of bringing home life to the workplace is clearly one that is here to stay.

    The Author

    Dash Boyeva
    020 7344 6623
    07811 111888
    dash.boyeva@colliers.com
  3. Polished off: first and second floors at former diamond workshop now let

    26 February 2018
    All floors of the arresting 15 Crinan Street development in Kings Cross are now occupied or under offer. Champion Sportswear, a long-established name in fashion, will occupy the first and second floors of the building as their UK HQ. The firm has also recently opened a flagship store on Brewer Street in Soho.
    Other occupants at 15 Crinan Street include the precision lending start-up Boost & Co, whose innovation in the financial sector has given SMEs a modern and less rigid alternative to standard banking loan models.

    A former Victorian-era diamond workshop, the building has been given an arresting refurbishment under the direction of Gpad architects that is as multi faceted as the gems that used to be fashioned here. Extending to a total of 7384ft2 across 6 storeys – lower ground to 4th floors – the refurbishment employs a rich palette of contemporary and vintage fittings in a specification that not only looks to the future, but also deftly evokes the sense of age-old craftsmanship.

    Each one of the floors wears its heritage with pride and there are plenty of girt-blasted walls and chimneybreasts as a reminder of the building’s history. Extra personality comes from the style of windows on the different levels, from full height picture windows and street frontage on the ground floor, through brand new large sash windows on the 1st to 3rd floors, to the wrap around floor-to-ceiling glass walls in the new top floor extension. 

    That stylish and timeless backdrop has been beautifully augmented by a combination of industry, hi-tech and heritage-inspired materials and finishes including beautiful oak parquet floors, exposed overhead services in galvanised ducting and suspended halos of LED lighting.

    Even the communal wc and shower facilities are something of a work of art, finished in a palette of white, black and anthracite, offset with muted ochre accents, and feature high quality fittings and accessories alongside stunning geometric tiling inspired by the building’s gemstone legacy.

    The location is a classic Victorian back street that has seen remarkable transformation, both in the repurposing of its former industrial buildings alongside the landmark new development of Kings Place. Just yards from The Regent’s Canal and Battlebridge Basin, 15 Crinan Street is well placed to enjoy the remarkable buzz of Kings Cross including Pancras Square, Granary Square and a unique and vibrant waterside scene.


    The Author

    Alexander Howarth
    0207 871 7430
    07841 514264
    alexander.howarth@colliers.com
  4. Victorian values: high standards and classic London interiors at Old Street

    23 February 2018
    In a world of converted warehouses, repurposed factories and glass fronted office blocks, the refurbishment of 91-93 Great Eastern Street stands out as an archetypal and elegant slice of London Victoriana.
    Located at the point where Great Eastern Street meets Old Street, floors 1, 3, 4 and 5 of this gateway corner building have been refurbished and are available to let on a floor-by-floor basis. However, the second floor is scheduled for refurbishment after the existing tenants vacate in May, meaning an occupier could take the entire upper floors, securing a total of around 9,500ft2.

    As things stand today, the first and third floors each extend to around 2,400ft2 and form part of the original Victorian structure. There is something instantly familiar – and indeed comforting – about these office spaces: they feel, in very many ways, just like home and display the characteristics of houses that so many Londoners will have either grown up in, or live in today. 

    Sash windows, tall skirting, panelled interior doors, ornate fireplaces, original floorboards and decorative cornicing really set these workspaces apart in a marketplace concentrated on industrial themed offices.

    At the top, a newer construction on the 4th and 5th floors provides a magnificent penthouse office of almost 2,300ft2. Converted from its original residential usage, this stunning duplex space is wonderfully light, with double-height walls of glass running around its perimeter and leading out to a private wraparound terrace with views over the City Fringe.

    Each office is air conditioned and has been given a sleek, contemporary treatment that combines a smart minimalism with some beautiful fittings, including futuristic led lighting suspend by minimal cabling to create the sense of light boxes floating overhead. A crisp pallet of white, black and natural wood runs throughout.

    Building amenities at 91-93 Great Eastern Street include a reception lobby, passenger lift, video intercom, shower facilities, communal cycle storage, and 24-hour access, while the Shoreditch Triangle location could hardly be better placed for enjoying a remarkable local scene of places to eat and drink as well as excellent transport connections at Old Street and Shoreditch High Street stations. 

    The refurbishment has been carried out by GMS Estates who were responsible for another notable refurbishment at nearby 35 Paul Street.  Their signature recipe of attention to detail and reviving as much of a building’s architectural heritage as possible gives their developments as distinctive quality and flavour.


    The Author

    Joshua Miller
    0207 101 2020
    07917 725 365
    Joshua.Miller@colliers.com
  5. Time to be smarter in the workplace

    22 February 2018
    With employee wellbeing, operational efficiency and carbon reduction very much on the radar of both landlords and occupiers, we are seeing the start of a revolution in monitoring the workplace and ‘smartening up’ buildings through an unprecedented level of data collection.
    The digital capabilities of buildings are increasing and, as they do so, are pushing landlords and tenants not only toward greater efficiency in the way space is occupied but, importantly, stepping up the environmental performance of the workplace. The idea of ‘smart buildings’ has been around for a while but to date this has focused primarily on regulating energy consumption. This now extends to factors that impact on occupiers, such as indoor air quality.
     
    As digital tech makes it possible to increase the densities of workplace use this has some challenging consequences. One recent study of an open-plan workplace used by 15 people found that by 2pm each day, the CO2 level was over 1,000 parts per million – more than double the natural level in the atmosphere. No wonder people can feel sleepy after lunch!

    For buildings to work smarter, monitoring becomes pivotal and the good news is that, as the cost of sensor technology drops, other applications for workplace environmental control become possible. Recent developments in the ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) enables huge volumes of data to be collected from buildings.

    For properties that are not yet ‘smart’, fitting digital sensors will increasingly become a priority as cyber-physical integration enables improved control and management of resources.  At present, only a few occupiers have the resources to extract valuable business insights from the resultant Big Data. Co-operation between landlords and occupiers will therefore be essential, with occupiers exerting increasing pressure for this to be delivered. 

    As part of developing a new approach to building management, Colliers has recently launched a smart data analytics pilot at one of the major commercial assets we manage. More than 1,000 data points are being monitored and the aim is to identify opportunities to improve building efficiency and occupier comfort.

    The pilot building is a mixed-use block on London’s Regent Street, so it will give a cross-section of insights across the different uses to which space is put. Significant cost savings are expected to be realised (the target is cost neutrality in only months) whilst continuing to  improve occupier satisfaction and engagement.

    This new data-driven approach to building and facilities management looks set to deliver real financial benefits for landlords and occupiers whilst also giving people a more pleasant environment in which to live, work and play.

    Author: 
    Associate Director | Sustainability Services
  6. Mic on Mondays | Justin Sires

    22 February 2018
    Justin Sires, Head of Europe and Co-founder of PFL Spaces, joins us for a chat as part of our Mic on Mondays series.

    PFL Spaces is a global company who design, build and service bike storage and changing room facilities for office buildings. Justin speaks to us about why their service is so important and the future of the company.

    What are the benefits of a workspace having your product or service?

    The benefits are that it increases the health of tenants and reduces absenteeism, which is a researched and qualified fact. It most definitely assists owners and developers in attracting tenants to a building and in turn, helps the tenants attract key talent.

    Why do most CEOs see your service as a priority for their business?

    Generally, it’s the CEO’s who are the ones cycling in. Some of these CEOs and key decision makers have bikes that are worth £10,000 or £15,000, so they’re probably worth more than some of the cars parked in the car park. That is why it’s really important to make sure that the space is functional, secure and working, and ultimately why it is important for buildings to make sure they have great facilities.

    Where did the idea for PFL spaces originate from?

    It was very much my own identified need; I was a cyclist riding into work 10 or so years ago. I realised there was a lack of convenient services and facilities for people that were doing the same as me and this was something that was resonating with my colleagues too. Then I thought let’s see if I can make something of this.

    Close to 10 years on, we have now expanded into multiple countries and it has proven to be the right thing to do. I think ultimately cycling is only going to increase across the globe as we have the pressures of pollution, traffic and population growth, so it’s a great place to be in.

    Have you seen an increase in the popularity of cycling in those 10 years?

    Most definitely, particularly moving to the UK and London, it’s been something that has been very evident when I’m out cycling, even as I was cycling here today. Just to see the amount of pollution and traffic that’s around and I’m most definitely seeing that increasing. At PFL Spaces we feel, and we hope, that we are making a difference to improving the health of the planet as well as the health and well-being of people.

    What is the Future of PFL spaces?

    Our future is that we are changing our name, we want to get more people on to bikes, were all about the freedom of the ride, more people enjoying that time where they get let go from their parents control and ride off into the distance. So were changing from PFL spaces to Five At Heart, which is all about that experience you had when you were five years old riding.

    We are very much expanding our offering across geographies, we are currently in Australia, US and UK. We want to expand into greater Europe and also expand the offering of products and services that we have for clients.


    The Author

    Natalie Lelliott
    02074871853
    07702975683
    Natalie.Lelliott@colliers.com
  7. Mic on Mondays | Tom Redmayne

    14 February 2018
    Our Mic on Mondays series continues with Tom Redmayne Director of Business Development for WiredScore. Tom chats to us about connectivity and the importance of wired certification in commercial real estate.

    You can read the full interview below, or view the highlights of our chat on our YouTube channel. For more episodes make sure you follow us on Instagram @Colliers_City.

    What is your service and how is it important in commercial real estate?

    We are a digital connectivity rating scheme for commercial real estate, we allow landlords and tenants to objectively benchmark how well designed and connected different office buildings are for the internet. I think we can all agree that whatever is happening in the market, digital connectivity is a fundamental driver in people’s businesses and it’s only going to become more important in years to come. In fact, many people even talk about it now being the fourth utility.

    Why is Wired Certification useful?

    Wired Certification is useful to tenants for 3 things. One is to help them understand in private what is wrong with their buildings connectivity and digital infrastructure and how they can improve it. A lot of landlords understand this is becoming increasingly important for tenants, but aren’t quite sure how to go about it. So we help them understand and review their portfolio, to prevent them becoming obsolete further down the line.

    The second thing is on the marketing side, allowing landlords to go and promote how well designed and connected their buildings are and create a clear message to the market. Not only about how well connected the building is but how much they as a landlord care about the buildings of the future.

    The third thing is the design and engineering side. When you are building a new building from scratch, ensuring that you have the right digital infrastructure to future proof it is key and you can make a lot of mistakes early on that we can help remove.

    Have you seen an increase in how important connectivity is becoming?

    Yeah absolutely, it’s not just tech business or traders that care about connectivity now, it is the life blood of everybody’s business. Whether it’s a real estate firm or law firm, everyone works on computers and it is key to everything they do on a day to day basis.

    Do you change your service for different business?

    Although our users are tenants, our clients are landlords. This means we have two types of service; one for occupied buildings, so buildings that are already built, and we review the telecoms and help landlords to improve it and then promote it. Then we have a separate certification that works on development, from the planning and design stage upwards, to ensure people are building the kind of platforms that people are going to want to work in not just now but also for the next 15 years.

    What is the Future of WiredScore?

    We’ve had a really exciting few years, we are an American business originally and we have now expanded into the UK, Ireland, France and Germany. We are really excited over the next 12 to 18 months to increase our international presence, a lot of tenants on the larger global scale want to have international certification that they can understand when moving countries. We also want to look at different areas and sectors to think about how we can grow our business to suit our tenants needs.


    The Author

    Natalie Lelliott
    02074871853
    07702975683
    Natalie.Lelliott@colliers.com
  8. Victoria values: growing up and staying local in SW1

    9 February 2018
    We have just completed on the acquisition a 60-person office space for a financial advisory firm based in Victoria
    Like almost every enterprise in the UK, the company was looking to balance its expansion plans with the uncertainty of Brexit. Having doubled in size in the last
    2 years, the firm had an immediate and urgent requirement for more space but wanted as much flexibility as possible around its commitment and future.

    Based in Victoria for the last 7 years, the company was keen to stay in the area, not only for the excellent transport links for its workforce and clients, but also because of the remarkable local regeneration that has taken place.

    After helping the tenant get clear on their requirements and to define their brief, we filtered through a myriad of options to shortlist suitable buildings. We eventually secured a deal on favourable terms at 84 Eccleston Square, one of London’s most prestigious locations.

    This new development from The Office Group is a radical repurposing of a regency building into a futuristic co-working space. Beyond the 7-storey grand façade, architects and designers SODA have created an unashamedly minimal and calming interior of generous ceiling heights and beautiful concrete augmented with the introduction of natural materials and plants. This gives the building sense of wellbeing that’s followed through with meditation rooms, a library, a cavernous gym and two garden terraces with views across the city.

    As part of the deal, The Office Group agreed to tailor a space to fit the needs of our client’s business by developing a self-contained office with its own kitchen and private meeting rooms.

    The SW1 postcode has really come of age recently and is now a bustling district of retail and office space that has completely transformed what was a somewhat seedy part of Central London. With the refurbishment of many old office blocks and the addition of many new commercial buildings, the streetscape is both familiar and unrecognizable at the same time. 

    But it’s the life at street level that has really made the difference with cafe culture and boutique shopping drawing people to the main thoroughfares and turning them into a destination in their own right. No longer a place to simply - and quickly - pass through, Victoria is now somewhere to linger and enjoy.

    The Office Group is a true pioneer of the shared workspace phenomenon. Since launching in 2003 with a mission to “reconfigure the modern British workplace to bring it into line with a fast-changing world”, the developer has delivered on its goal and amassed 30 buildings that house over 15,000 members from various sectors of the modern economy, from freelancers and entrepreneurs, through app makers and architects to established professionals and disruptive start-ups.

    The Author

    Mark Bott
    0207 101 2020
    07879 890 115
    Mark.Bott@colliers.com
  9. Track changes

    8 February 2018
    A new tech innovation has reopened the debate about how much it is acceptable to track people’s movements in the workplace.
    Most of us already have entry cards that enable us to ‘check in’ at work, but tech start-up, Unifi.id, has now developed a system which continues to track you as you move around your office environment.
    The new smartcards use a long-range version of Radio Frequency Identification chips which bounce signals between smart cards and data sensors positioned throughout a building. 

    Contemporary office buildings still face challenges including unauthorised entries, impersonal front-of-house service, lack of synchronicity between decentralised premises and poor visitor management. All of these can pose a threat not only to security, but also make a workplace less efficient and easy to occupy.

    While some of us might feel slightly uneasy about the technology allows ‘real-time monitoring of employees in all building locations and floors’, it’s also hard to deny that in the event of a fire or other life-threatening incident, there’s an obvious safety and security benefit of knowing exactly where everyone is located in a building.

    There may also be a contingent benefit in terms of better understanding how a building is ‘living’ from day to day. Greater insights into the patterns of a building’s use are also of great value in terms of working with owners to help plan the maintenance and effective operation of buildings.

    So whilst the knee-jerk reflex to these sorts of tracking systems may be to invoke images of ‘Big Brother is watching you’, they are actually more likely to benefit both the occupiers and owners of a building.


    Author
    Investment Property Management 
    Rachael is leading Colliers’ WorkLife service which focuses on customer experience incorporating wellbeing, proptech and the delivery of the property management of multi-let office buildings

  10. Mic on Mondays | James Lowery

    7 February 2018
    Mic on Monday is a new series by Colliers London, where we get to quiz the leaders of industries and companies we work with, collaborate with and admire.

    In this episode, we spoke to James Lowery, co-lead at Storey, about co-working spaces and workspace design.

    You can read the highlights of our chat below, or view the full interview on our YouTube Channel. For more episodes make sure you follow us on Instagram @Colliers_City.

    Storey is an initiative, providing flexible, productive and personalised spaces for small to medium businesses. As a service provided as part of British Land Plc, Storey is a progressive and original concept in the office market and speaking to James gives us a different take on commercial real estate.

    How do you fulfil the needs of a small to medium business?

    The target customer of Storey are companies and teams of 20 to 70 people who don’t necessarily have their own space. We have designed Storey to take away the pain of the day to day running of the space but still give that feeling of their own space which can reflect their own brand and their own culture.

    How do you tailor a workspace to a company’s culture and needs?

    There are lots of different components of a workspace. Therefore, for a company that may not be used to looking at the world of workspace it can be hard. Companies are either in a world of co-working where they’re sold desks, and a desk is good for doing part of what you do on a day to day basis but it’s certainly not the whole answer, or they're sold square feet and it’s hard to look at a box and work out what you need to do to get the best out of the space.

    We understand that different companies operate in different ways and help companies to achieve their workspace potential by speaking their language. We then have the capability to translate that potential into a reality. We hold a company’s hand through the process, as it’s a process that can sometimes distract a company of 20 people who don’t necessarily have a person responsible for managing workspace.

    How does Storey differ from other co-working spaces?

    We have found that about ¾ of our existing customers have grown up in a world of co-working but got to a certain size where they feel like they need their ‘own home’. However, when they start looking at the options in the market it starts getting complicated in terms of leases and time-frames. So everything we have designed means Storey sits between this world of co-working and the conventional office lease.

    Firstly, it means we have focused on private space, we have an element of shared, however the day-to-day meeting rooms sit within the companies own private space so its secure and branded in the company’s own way.

    It’s important to remember that a 20 – 70 people company is a really successful company, so they will be comfortable planning a year or 2 ahead. Therefore, it’s not necessary to have this hyper-flexible leasing conventional of co-working spaces, which can be expensive for the company if offered.

    How does Storey fit into British Land's bigger picture?

    I think that’s an exciting part of the Storey offer; British Land owns most of its office buildings in 3 campuses across London. However historically, we have these large buildings with great companies, but they get full. So by adding in Storey into the campuses, it embeds an element of flexibility. It allows companies that otherwise wouldn’t have access to these great buildings and companies, to plug in to the same infrastructure. So if a small company starts off in a Storey space like Appold Studios, they can move to another campus as they grow and their needs change.


  11. Old Street Works, Office Space, For Rent, To Let
    Old Street Works, Office Space, For Rent, To Let
    Old Street Works, Office Space, For Rent, To Let

    Old Street Works... for everyone: beautiful spaces and flexible terms deliver a universal offer

    6 February 2018
    Flexibility is the buzzword of the moment. More and more potential occupiers are looking for elasticity in terms around lease length and break clauses as we near the UK’s exit from the EU.
    One development answering that call is Old Street Works, a beautiful Edwardian building and former cork factory that has been converted into a series of high quality office spaces about 5 minutes walk from Old Street Roundabout.

    Two units are available with floorplates ranging from 1,500 to 1,839ft2. Available with leases starting from just 12 months, these classic City Fringe spaces are aimed squarely at creative occupiers seeking authentic office space. Interior specifications include exposed brickwork, wood flooring, galvanised conduit, chic and sleek suspended contemporary lighting and plenty of natural daylight through huge sash windows.

    Each space is fitted with a meeting room and cabling as well as having its own demised male and female WCs together with a tucked away kitchenette with high-gloss grey cupboards, white metro tiles and brushed steel handles and taps.

    The building’s facilities include a passenger lift, CCTV, security, a building manager and 24-hour access.

    The location of Old Street Works is perfect for those who like variety. Take your pick from the scene around Old Street Roundabout include the new culinary boulevard at The Bower, or wander into Shoreditch, Clerkenwell and even Angel for their vibrant collection of modern eateries, bars and shops. Whitecross Street’s food market, Hoxton Square, The White Collar Factory and many more local favourites are all within walking distance.

    Connectivity and access is also excellent, with Northern Line and National Rail services at nearby Old Street station. Loads of buses stop along City Road and Old Street while Cycle Superhighway 1 also passes close by.

    For the combination of flexible, classic, cool and beautiful office space in the City Fringe, Old Street Works is a strong contender.

    We are quoting a rent of £59.50 psf excluding business rates and services.

    The Author

    Emma Higgins
    0207 101 2020
    07769 605 295
    emma.higgins@colliers.com
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