Commercial Blog February 2019 - Colliers International | London

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  1. February 2019

  2. Seeing beyond the statistics

    5 February 2019
    To fully understand what’s happening in today’s London office market, you have to look beyond the headline statistics regarding supply and demand.
    Around 15% of recent take-up can be attributed to the new wave of flexible space/co-working providers which immediately seek to re-let space on the open market. Accordingly, the headline take-up figures are misleading. In fact, our analysis of the active flexible space providers in London indicates that there may be as much as 4.6m sq ft of ‘let’ space which is actually vacant and being re-marketed.

    Bearing this in mind, it is even more remarkable that the underlying ‘real’ market is performing so well. Even if you add back the flexible availability, the overall vacancy rate remains below the 15-year average and has done since 2011. A continued dearth of supply of new and refurbished space has contributed to these relatively low levels of vacancy, and we should get a better feel for the market’s direction of travel this year as a further 2m sq ft of flexible space is set to come on stream. 

    Overall, the London office market appears in remarkably good shape considering the strong headwinds the UK economy is experiencing. However, despite new supply issues, it remains delicately balanced with any contraction in demand likely to have progressive ramifications for re-letting of conventional office space and the occupancy levels across London’s operational flex office centres. The latter has benefitted from the climate of uncertainty and occupier caution about signing up for longer commitments and reluctance to commit extra capital to real estate functions.

    The gap between co-working and a flexible, managed office offering is narrowing steadily, with REITS and funds alike not just waking up to competition from flex, but actively seeking to counter, be it with vehicles of their own or a quantum shift in attitudes to ‘flexible leasing’ strategies. ‘Sticky tenants’ are invaluable to landlords seeking to minimise voids and recycle space successfully. 2019 may not be a year of reckoning for the sector but it is likely to have an irreversible impact upon leasing strategies for years to come.   

    The Author

    Guy Grantham
    +44 20 7344 6793
    +44 779 596 3710
    Guy.Grantham@colliers.com
  3. One way, or another: self-contained Clerkenwell office for sale or to let

    1 February 2019
    Clerkenwell's showroom district provides a constant stream of design and creative inspiration when wandering past the giant windows of fashion and furniture retailers like Vitra, Knoll, Boss Design and Kholer.
    On Goswell Road, one of the streets that forms the central crosspoint to this part of the city fringe, the sweeping corner facade of the Zaha Hadid Design gallery sits directly next to the entrance of  number 99, a building where Colliers are marketing a self-contained ground floor office space.

    The unit's interior mixes a mildly industrial aesthetic with creative office design, where 3.5 metre ceiling heights and large casement windows form the core canvass.

    The floorplate of 2,075ft2 is laid out to include a large open plan workspace, separate meeting area, modern kitchen and demised WCs, with a backdrop of Victorian radiators, painted concrete floors and lighting on exposed conduit.

    The unusual option to buy or to rent creates a widening of the regular audience, from businesses seeking a straightforward lease, to those nabbing the chance to own their own workplace, to investors expanding their rental portfolios in London's creative quarter.

    Alongside the contingent of showrooms, design studios and creative enterprises, the local street scene is enlivened with a vast choice of places to eat and drink at any time of day, from coffee to cocktails at breakfast or bedtime. 

    The nearby street food market at Whitecross Street is a firm favourite with people working in the neighborhood, where food trucks and stalls mete out dishes from around the world in a vibrant and aromatic atmosphere. Also nearby, equally as busy but somewhat more sedentary, the gastro boulevard at The Bower hosts some of Londoners’ favourite names from the city's contemporary dining scene.

    The future is also bright in this corner of the world with two imminent developments about to transform the local connectivity.

    About half a mile east of Goswell Road, Old Street Roundabout is set for a major change of direction when the busy gateway to Shoreditch switches its allegiance from cars to pedestrians and becomes an open public piazza.

    Nearby Farringdon station, meanwhile, will become a major London transport interchange at the end of 2019 when the Elizabeth Lines opens with the completion of Phsase One of Crossrail.

    We are quoting a rent of £45 per ft2 for the office, or a sale price of £1,825,000 + VAT.


    The Author

    Alexander Howarth
    0207 871 7430
    0750 000 7571
    alexander.howarth@colliers.com
  4. January 2019

  5. Signed, sealed and delivered: a successful disposal of Deliveroo’s former HQ

    31 January 2019
    After a proactive marketing campaign that was successful in generating significant interest and multiple offers, Colliers has successfully let Deliveroo’s former offices at The Heal’s Building to Huntsworth plc, for occupation by the creative agency WRG.
    The Heal’s Building is a fine slice of art deco commercial architecture in the West End, with Grade A offices above the flagship stores of two of the most enduring names in UK furniture retail – Heal’s and Habitat. 

    Deliveroo instructed Colliers in September last year to dispose of 10,500ft2 split across 3 units in what is now renowned as one of Central London’s iconic buildings. Due to continuous growth and the dynamic nature of Deliveroo, the business has relocated the remainder of its staff to its HQ in The River Building above Cannon Street station, where they now occupy c. 70,000ft2. 

    The firm’s former home comprised of c. 7,700ft2 of creative office space with warehouse features that wouldn’t look out of place in Shoreditch, Old St or Farringdon. The accommodation afforded an incoming occupier the perfect opportunity to benefit from an existing fit-out with the ability to create their own fresh identity. With a further 2,800 sq ft being sub-tenanted to 2020, the option to expand into the second office made this offering second to none.

    WRG is the biggest of three companies that form The Creative Engagement Group, whose annual turnover is around £47million and whose parent company is Huntsworth plc, a global healthcare communications and public relations group with operations in 29 countries. 

    The assignment to Huntsworth is a great result for Deliveroo whose liability up until the end of their lease in 2025 totalled £4.2million. It’s also a result for Huntsworth who procured beautifully fitted offices in a prime West End location. The deal was completed at the start of January. 

    The Author

    Matt Lord
    +44 20 7487 1793
    +44 7970 384 347
    Matt.Lord@colliers.com
  6. FT building marks second South Bank acquisition for WPP

    30 January 2019
    After almost 30 years in Southwark, the Financial Times is moving back to its previous home, Bracken House on Cannon Street, in July 2019.
    The newspaper leaves behind its riverfront offices on 1 Southwark Bridge Road, an address that we have now acquired for the advertising agency WPP plc, funded by M&G Investments. 

    Having already engineered a partnership between WPP and M&G on a 1960s office block just across the street (Rose Court at number 2 Southwark Bridge Road), it was clear to us that, when Pearson began quietly marketing the FT building, it would make the perfect location for WPP to amass sufficient space for its new headquarters.

    Both buildings were agreed with M&G acquiring the asset with WPP taking a simultaneous lease.

    Stripping out works are already underway at Rose Court, while a planning study has commenced on 1 Southwark Bridge Road with a full planning application expected within the next 12 months. 

    When all works are finally complete, the two buildings are anticipated to deliver a total office accommodation of around 400,000ft2, with WPP taking occupation sometime in 2022.

    WPP plc is a British multinational advertising and public relations company and the world leader in communications services. The group employs over 130,000 people in 112 countries and its Clients include 369 of the Fortune Global 500, all 30 of the Dow Jones 30 and 71 of the NASDAQ 100.

    M&G has a British heritage going back to 1900 and including the launch of Europe’s first ever mutual fund in 1931. Acquired by Prudential in 1999, M&G today invests for over 7 million people in the UK through various avenues in including ISA, pension funds and property. 1 Southwark Bridge is destined to be held in M&G Long Income funds.





    The Author

    John Olney
    +44 20 7487 1768
    John.Olney@colliers.com
  7. Final two floors let at 20 St Andrew Street, EC4

    29 January 2019
    January saw the occupation of the final two floors at 20 St Andrew Street, a development by AXA Investment Managers and Morgan Capital. Colliers’ involvement with the building goes a back a while, to when we acted on the initial acquisition in 2015.
    Since then, the building has been transformed into a first class workplace and now comprises some 58,000ft2 over ten storeys with new terraces on levels 6 to 9. Visitors are welcomed with a sumptuous modern reception in the style of a boutique hotel lounge bar with large comfortable armchairs and chic geometric décor.

    The refurbishment has attracted tenants from Midtown, the City Fringe and the West End with its combination of impressive design and accessible location, just 6 minutes’ walk from the new Elizabeth Line interchange at Farringdon, set to open in Autumn 2019 when Phase One of Crossrail completes.

    The letting of the 8th and 9th floors to the high quality meetings space provider, The Clubhouse, offers the occupiers of 20 St Andrew Street an extra expansion space for meetings, presentations and events at the top of the building.

    Agreed in November, this was an interesting pair of deals because, having made their respective clients aware of the situation, both lettings involved Colliers acting for the landlord and the tenants in agreeing the leases. While the Agency & Development team advised the landlord in the disposal, the Occupier Advisory team assisted Reorg and Hatch in acquiring their new space.

    Reorg Research has offices on three continents with an editorial team providing business information analysis to more than 15,000 professionals across the world’s leading hedge funds, investments banks, law firms and financial advisors. Reorg has taken the 5th floor and relocated to the building from Farringdon, having matured out of a serviced offices facility and decided to create its own identity by operating from its own space.

    Hatch is a global and multidisciplinary management, engineering and development consultancy, employing more than 9,000 people across 70 offices on six continents. The company’s London operation had been working out of smaller offices in Victoria and, driven by corporate activity and the acquisition of a company based in Clerkenwell, needed to expand and consolidate its operations. Hatch will take occupation of the 4th floor.






    The Author

    Dominic Hoole
    +44 20 7487 1821
    +44 7711 768225
    dominic.hoole@colliers.com
  8. Kicking off 2019: karate time in the City

    28 January 2019
    As part of their ongoing wellness challenges, the City Agency, Occupier Advisory and Investment Teams have continued their fitness journey, this time quite literally kicking themselves into shape with a Karate class.
    The lesson was held at 90 Basinghall Street, a refurbished office building in the heart of the City. The fifth floor unit where the teams worked out is a fantastic space, with an abundance of natural light, City views and a private terrace.

    These early risers enjoyed an hour-long session including basic punching and kicking – essential training in the rough and tumble world of commercial agency – along with learning a series of moves involving stepping and turning, known as a kata.

    Partner work and sparring were also on the agenda and, while a nameless few might be accused of getting a little too into it, and despite a couple of bear misses, energy was high and a jolly good time was had by all. So much so, that karate was a hot topic of conversation for the rest of the day.

    90 Basinghall Street is a characterful property with a beautifully remodeled and oak-paneled reception area. The fourth and fifth floors  offer high quality refurbished small suites from 883 sq ft to 2,683 sq ft, perfect for small enterprises seeking grown up workspace in the City. 

    The location is inarguably great with a bustling spot that’s not only between St Paul’s, Mansion House, Moorgate and Bank stations, but also within half a mile of Liverpool Street where the Elizabeth Line is set to arrive when Phase One of Crossrail completes this autumn.

    We are quoting a rent from £67.50 per ft2 for the space. If you’d like to see whether 90 Basinghall Street is the next home for your business, please contact the City Agency Team.

    The Author

    Natalie Lelliott
    02074871853
    07702975683
    Natalie.Lelliott@colliers.com
  9. Reinventing a Cannon Street Icon

    24 January 2019
    The reinvention of 30 Cannon Street is complete. This prominent city icon is now almost fully let after an extensive refurbishment and a raft of new lettings.
    Colliers was invited to join the existing marketing campaign as a joint agent last year and working with Romulus and their existing team we’ve had some great results. BMI Healthcare will be relocating its London office to the building later this year having taken a pre-commitment on the 1st floor and the 5th floor with its dedicated private terrace is also under offer. 

    As well as finding occupiers for the workspaces, we’ve helped to increase the variety and amenity for the building’s tenants as well as nearby occupiers. A letting to Six Physio gives the massage, physiotherapy and machine-based Pilates chain its 13th London clinic, and negotiations are currently underway to add a gym operator, which will add further to the building’s wellness credentials.  

    But the icing on the cake, if you’ll excuse the pun, is the letting to the French chain of bakery cafes, Paul, whose London HQ is relocating to the Cannon Street. 

    That means that just the ground floor remains. A total of 8700ft2 is available, either in its entirety or as two separate units, one of 2915ft2 and the other of 5768ft2, with huge volume and full height windows running around the entire floor that fronts both Cannon Street and Queen Victoria Street.

    30 Cannon Street has been comprehensively refurbished by Romulus with the pièce de résistance, an impressive shared roof garden with views across London, including a spectacular close-up of St Paul’s Cathedral. 

    The unique architecture of 30 Cannon Street, which was listed for its Iconic architecture in 2015, makes it a standout building on a prominent corner in the core of the City. Adjacent to Mansion House tube, it sits in all its glory located just moments from Bow Lane and the new Bloomberg Arcade in this reinvented corner of the Square Mile that also hosts The Ned, the newest location of Soho House.

    The Author

    James Walker
    02074871802
    07713256677
    James.Walker@colliers.com
  10. The Empire Strikes Back: storming refurbishment of an East End art deco icon

    15 January 2019
    As Whitechapel’s resurgence continues unabated, more and more remarkable buildings are being discovered and uncovered.
    The latest jewel to be restored beyond its original glory Empire House, a classic slice of art deco industrial architecture that was designed by Hugo Viktor Kerr, a man whose impressive legacy of residential and commercial buildings is nowhere better preserved than in the streets of E1.

    Developed by Medusa London and Susan Walker Associates and due to be completed in June 2019, Empire House has been stripped back to its fabric – fitting for a former clothing factory at the heart of London’s textile district – with much metal, brick, concrete and timber on display. The result is a series of workspaces imbued with a deep authenticity that encapsulates the phrase raw and rugged luxury.  

    At street level, the new entrance lobby strongly evokes the 1930s with its brass finished walls and fluted glass pendant light. The suspended mesh ceiling from which it hangs brings us right into the 21st century, along with other amenities including 30 cycle spaces, 2 showers, 10 lockers, an accessible passenger lift and BREEAM ratings of ‘very good’.

    In all, around 15,502ft2 of remarkable office space is distributed across five storeys: a 6,300ft2 duplex on the ground and lower ground levels and around 3,000ft2 on each on the first to third. The upper levels have classic banks of wide industrial windows that frame the city skyline perfectly, while the duplex has an entirely singular character with a statement spiral staircase and green-wall light wells.

    Whitechapel’s transformation has been remarkably swift with a number of venues now rooted as firm local favourites among residents and workers. From caffeine at Mouse Tai land the Department of Social Affairs, to food at Treves & Hawkes and The Stable, to the new Curzon Aldgate cinema. No longer an outpost, but a vibrant hub of life and commerce infused with striking new pockets of public realm.

    Of course, the really big news is yet to come, with the arrival of the Elizabeth Line at Whitechapel Station, just 5 minutes walk from Empire House. When phase 1 of Crossrail completes, the new platforms will upgrade the existing Underground and Overground to a bustling city interchange, creating Whitechapel as one the best connected locations in the capital.

    To see if Empire House could be the next home for your business, contact Elliott Stern or Ricky Blair on 020 7102 2020.

    The Author

    Ricky Blair
    020 7101 2020
    07961 104 125
    Ricky.Blair@colliers.com
  11. Wren House, Hatton Garden

    11 January 2019
    One of the most striking buildings in Hatton Garden and something of a local landmark, Wren House has led an eventful life. Originally constructed as a church in the 1600s, it was ravaged by flames in the Great Fire of London and later severely bomb damaged in World War II.
    It’s a building that has somehow rooted itself in the consciousness of local residents and workers, a combination of its distinctive architecture and ebullient location. At the corner of Hatton Garden and St Cross Street, Wren House is on a direct route from Leather Lane’s daily street food market to Farringdon Station. In short, a lot of people wander past.

    Reputedly designed by Sir Christopher Wren and renamed in his honour when the building was redeveloped by Warner Lofts, Wren House now sports a stunning modern glass walled extension on St. Cross Street. Alongside the original Grade II Listed façade, it does much to engage the curiosity of passers by.  

    Another addition to the building was a beautiful terrace on the fourth floor, which belongs the duplex office we are currently marketing. Arranged across the 3rd and 4th floors, this newly refurbished unit offers 5,447 ft2 of flexible, contemporary office workspace with a specification including folding walls, air conditioning, LED ceiling lighting, sleek fitted kitchen, fantastic floor-to-ceiling heights and large expanses of glass. To get you up to all this glory, the building has a passenger lift.

    For any creative, tech or professional firm, the location is top notch. Hatton Garden has become one of the most agreeable locations on the City Fringe, with its rich legacy of jewellers still in tact and now joined by modern shops, cafes and bars that give the street a unique flavour.

    Supremely accessible, Hatton Garden benefits from Chancery Lane tube (Central Line) at its southern tip, and Farringdon station just around the corner where Thameslink and three Underground lines are soon to be joined by the Elizabeth Line when phase one of Crossrail completes. Numerous bus routes run along Farringdon Road, Clerkenwell Road and High Holborn.

    The office is ready for immediate occupation and we are quoting a rent of £59.50 per ft2.


    The Author

    Joshua Miller
    0207 101 2020
    07917 725 365
    Joshua.Miller@colliers.com
  12. Ideal Standard taps Drapers House for new HQ

    7 January 2019
    We have now completed the first letting at the refurbished Drapers House on Clerkenwell Road to one of the world’s longest established bathroom manufacturers, Ideal Standard.
    It’s something of a lucky acquisition for the multinational firm given how showroom locations in the City Fringe are notoriously hard to come by. So much so that our Tenant Representation team were moved to blog about the difficulties of acquiring a street frontage in London’s creative quarter.

    Taking a ten-year lease on its new home, Ideal Standard is relocating from its existing headquarters on Charterhouse Street in nearby Smithfield. The move to Drapers House will give the company 4,000 ft2 to exhibit their products and house their design and sales teams. 

    The letting of the ground and lower ground floors is the first at the recently transformed building, once the home of iconic British fashion house Alexander McQueen and now refurbished to an outstanding design by Rockspring Property Investment Managers, an arm of PATRIZIA Immobilien AG.

    With the showroom space now successfully occupied, our concentration shifts to the upper floors, where four floors of remarkable office space await potential tenants.

    The first and second floors host a pair of single-storey units of around 2,200 ft2 of classic open-plan warehouse space with exposed timber, grit-blasted brickwork, and industrial windows.

    The crowning glory, though, are the penthouse floors. The third & fourth floor units provide a total of 4,400ft2.  This remarkable space includes a sleek mezzanine, two 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.

    With a location between St John Street and Goswell Road, Drapers House sits at the heart of Clerkenwell’s bustling street scene of creative enterprises from shops and cafes to designers and media firms. 

    Farringdon Station is within a few minutes walk and is soon to become a major London interchange when the first phase of Crossrail completes, adding direct trains to Heathrow and Canary Wharf to its existing Thameslink, Circle, Metropolitan and Hammersmith & City line services.

    The Author

    Alexander Howarth
    0207 871 7430
    0750 000 7571
    alexander.howarth@colliers.com
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