The ‘Facebook effect’ - Colliers International | London



  1. March 2017

  2. The ‘Facebook effect’

    30 March 2017
    We are delighted that the phenomenal office letting in which Great Portland Estates (GPE) agreed with Facebook to take all 243,500 sq ft of offices at One Rathbone Square has now completed and GPE has sold the freehold to Rathbone Place Jersey Limited, an entity owned by WestInvest Gesellschaft Für Investmentfonds mbH and Deka Immobilien Investment GmbH for a headline price of £435m, reflecting a net initial yield of 4.25%.

    Acting jointly with Knight Frank on behalf of GPE, the Colliers London Offices team secured the pre-let for the entire 243,500 sq ft office building at One Rathbone Square to Facebook in one of the largest private sector leasing deals seen in London.
    The high volume of high profile occupiers from a number of business sectors that have been attracted to the area on the back of a steadily improving quality of building stock demonstrates just how far London’s Fitzrovia has evolved in recent years.

    The completion of Rathbone Square and Facebook’s agreement to lease the entire office offering at the scheme, is likely to have a twofold impact. Foremost, as at King’s Cross, following Google’s decision to locate its new UK office hub at the scheme, the impact of major blue chip occupier relocations to any submarket can be substantial. Google has acted as a magnet for not only ‘like-minded’ companies, but also occupiers from other diverse business sectors, keen to tap into the ‘Google effect’. Fitzrovia is set to see a similar phenomenon with Facebook, establishing Rathbone Square as a key commercial destination, but also demonstrating the submarket’s attraction to globally recognised brands.
    Healthy absorption of pipeline product has shifted occupier focus to other potential schemes, likely triggering further absorption of brand new space, as at 80 Charlotte Street. Such activity is only likely to contribute to continued improvement in local amenities, variety and quantity of leisure offering and general increased footfall which in tandem with the infrastructure upgrades related to Crossrail will transform the eastern end of Oxford Street. Other schemes are being readied to take advantage of supply shortages around the key Tottenham Court Road rail hub.
    It goes without saying that Great Portland Estates has been a pioneer in the area and its commitment to the redevelopment of the old Royal Mail sorting office has been rewarded by the Facebook letting. The challenge for developers in the area will be to create an environment that captures the special ambience of Fitzrovia whilst providing the space that contemporary occupiers want and we look forward to observing the fit-out at One Rathbone Square as it unfolds. 

    The Author

    Paul Smith