Commercial Blog January 2019 - Colliers International | London


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  1. January 2019

  2. 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 £65 per ft2.

    The Author

    Joshua Miller
    0207 101 2020
    07917 725 365
  3. December 2018

  4. What’s the alternative in London?

    19 December 2018
    An increasing number of investors are looking to ‘alternative’ property investments for the kind of long-term secure income that is no longer common in the office, retail and industrial sectors.
    As detailed in our new research report on the sector, alternative investment volumes have accounted for more than one quarter of all UK commercial property transactions in each year since 2015, and have since become the second most sought after sector behind offices. In 2017, alternatives transaction volumes reached £17.6bn, easily outpacing both industrial (£11bn) and retail (£8.3bn).

    Some of the predominant targets for alternatives investors are the private rented sector (PRS), hotels, student housing and care homes – all asset types which are well represented across London. In line with the rest of the UK, the London alternatives market has grown over the years and in 2018 we have seen around £5bn of transactions.

    There are strong commercial and social drivers behind the investment case for these types of assets. The trend towards urbanisation; the economics of higher education; and an aging population will all support the need for the more private rented sector homes, student housing and healthcare facilities while rising tourist numbers will increase the demand for hotel rooms. 

    Investors can be further reassured by the fact that demographic trends are relatively predictable and it is, therefore, possible to estimate demand for these alternatives sectors. Similarly, occupier demand for some alternatives is less cyclical than in the traditional sectors and therefore less exposed to economic shocks.

    However, there is no doubt that there are also risks associated with alternatives investments. Despite, in many cases, exhibiting higher yields than the traditional sectors, alternatives are often reliant on operator performance and can be exposed to management risks and/or contingent costs.

    Ultimately, the alternative sectors are perhaps best suited to those investors that are seeking stable and long-term income rather than short-term strategies and those who are trying to ‘play the cycle’.

    One of the key compelling aspects of those sectors is the prevalence of long leases of up to 25-30 years, often in combination with sale-and-leaseback or income strips strategies whereby an investor buys an income stream, rather than the physical asset. Accordingly, alternatives are considered by some investors as relatively defensive, stable and low-risk investment vehicles. 

    So whilst London’s commercial property investment market has always been characterised by its trophy office buildings and luxury retail, you can expect a growing volume of investor money in the capital, both domestic and cross border, to head for assets which are maybe more pedestrian, but increasingly intrinsic to our lives.


    Oliver Kolodseike 
    Senior Property Economist 
  5. Colliers secures luxury successor for Motcomb Street unit

    14 December 2018
    The Grosvenor Estate, advised by the Central London Retail division at global real estate advisor Colliers International, has let 4 Motcomb Street to luxury childrenswear brand Marie Chantal.
    The 512-sq ft unit will be Marie Chantal’s second boutique in London and will complement the brand’s already successful online offering. The business is owned by the Crown Princess of Greece and inspired by the ethos ‘let children be children’.

    Sara Simpson, a director in the Central London Retail Agency team at Colliers International, said: “Grosvenor has a deep understanding of the streets and neighbourhoods in Mayfair and Belgravia; it has, over the years, helped to cultivate a district that now makes an important economic, social and cultural contribution to our capital city. Marie Chantal is a strong addition to the businesses already operating on Motcomb Street, which is fast becoming a favourite with high-fashion and couture retailers.”

    Marie Chantal joins a growing list of luxury brands located in this area, including Carolina Bucci and Christian Louboutin.
  6. Mic on Mondays | David Kosky

    10 December 2018
    David Kosky is a co-founder of Work.Life, one of the UK’s largest co-working environments.

    What is Work.Life?

    Work Life is a co-working business, that specialises in working with landlords to animate and activate their buildings.

    How was Work.Life established?

    So we set the business up in 2015, our first space was in Camden. The opportunity we saw was that more and more landlords wanted to co-work in their buildings but still very much investment building driven. And we saw an opportunity to deliver a smaller scale co-working business, an operation to animate and activate buildings but not to over-expose them with investment value concerns.

    What sets Work.Life aside from competition?

    We have a very landlord friendly, strategic property strategy. We take smaller spaces with ground-floor frontage to help animate buildings from the ground floor.

    How does Work.Life create the perfect co-working environment?

    For us, size is a big thing, so actually having smaller spaces allows us to get a very personal feeling in our spaces. It’s all about understanding experience and we’re experienced led; we want people to feel relaxed, at home, welcome in all our spaces, and everything we do from the furniture to the way it’s designed is all done with that in mind.

    What is the future of Work.Life?

    We are continuing to grow, we have spaces in nine locations, and we are also working more and more closely with landlords and bigger businesses, who are all looking to co-working to animate their buildings and really improve the whole experience for their customers or their tenants.

  7. Work over art: media-style offices above gallery in RIBA winning building

    7 December 2018
    Almost dead centre in the Shoreditch Triangle, this trio of modern offices flaunts a sense of fun and individuality with quirky offset picture windows in one of the most striking contemporary buildings in the neighbourhood.
    Available are three units, two on the third floor and one of the fourth, ranging from 740 to 926ft2. With a quoting rent of £47.50 per ft2 and flexible lease terms, they offer cost-conscious businesses an economical price-point to secure a workspace in a prime City Fringe position.

    Exposed concrete soffits with surface mounted light boxes are accompanied by concealed air-conditioning, raised floors, kitchenettes and in-situ meeting rooms, while the building offers its occupiers a commissionaire, shower facilities, cycle storage and events/conference spaces available for rent.

    Designed by David Adjaye, one of Britain’s leading contemporary architects, Rivington Place opened in October 2007 and won a RIBA award in 2008. It was the first new-build public gallery in London since the opening of the Hayward Gallery way back in 1968. 

    The building is the home of two of London’s most enquiring and enlightening cultural organisations:  Iniva (Institute of International Visual Arts), and Autograph ( the Association of Black Photographers). 

    Iniva explores the diversity of society through exhibitions, debates, learning and digital initiatives, while Autograph uses photography to explore questions of cultural identity, race, representation, human rights and social justice. In short, there is always something interesting and thought-provoking to enjoy.

    The combination of gallery and education spaces, meeting rooms, café and the Stuart Hall Library make Rivington Place a unique and enriching place to work: a space for viewing, researching and learning about contemporary art. 

    The area, of course, needs no introduction. The epicentre of creative cool in London, Shoreditch has spawned many an imitation but still reigns supreme. Home to some of the most inspiring creative businesses in London in fields form architecture and interior deign to media, fashion and right through to forward thinking tech and financial sectors, the area is live from dawn ‘til dusk with a hug offering of places to eat and drink, as well as plenty of places to stay the night when going home is no longer an option.

    Close to Shoreditch High Street (Overground) and Old Street (Northern Line and National Rail) stations, Rivington Place is also within walking distance of London Liverpool Street where its Underground, National Rail and Stansted Express lines are soon to be supplemented with the arrival of the Elizabeth Line when phase one of Crossrail completes.

    The Author

    Sam Jacobs
    +44 20 7487 1747
    +447703 804 533
  8. Two girls in a boat: an oar-inspiring challenge

    3 December 2018
    On December 12th, Lauren Woodwiss and Jemma Rix will board their 2-person rowing boat at San Sebastian on the island of La Gomera, just off the west coast of Africa, in an attempt to row unassisted across the Atlantic Ocean. Setting sail in the twin girl-powered (and aptly named) Boudicea, the two friends are taking part in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, regarded as “the world’s toughest rowing race”.
    Colliers is delighted to be sponsoring Lauren and Jemma in what promises to be a massive personal undertaking and an extreme test of physical and mental endurance amid searing equatorial heat and 40 foot waves. The crossing is particularly momentous given that only 7 female pairs have ever successfully completed the voyage. Despite those odds, the girls plan to smash the existing record of 50 days and 7 hours.

    As well as a rightly colossal sense of personal accomplishment from victory in their mission, Jemma and Lauren have a bigger reason for taking part in the race:

    “One of the best things about this challenge is that it gives us a fantastic platform to raise lots of money for our three chosen charities – Cancer Research UK, Fareshare, and The Mintridge Foundation – as well as raising much needed awareness about ocean pollution.” All three charities fall under the umbrella of health and wellbeing, two passions shared between the intrepid pair.

    Cancer Research UK is the largest independent funder of cancer research in the world, supporting scientists, doctors and nurses in discovering new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer. Fareshare helps fight hunger and food waste, redistributing surplus food around the UK to community groups and charities to turn into meals for vulnerable people. And the Mintridge Foundridge Foundation harnesses the power of positive sporting role models to help and influence young people by increasing sports participation, nurturing sporting talent and enhancing life skills.

    Jemma and Lauren aim to raise over £50,000 from taking part in the challenge, both from corporate sponsorship and by match funding ALL monies raised from partners by holding their own fundraising initiatives. They certainly can’t be accused of sitting on their laurels!

    The girls expect to be – quite literally – at sea for between 50 and 70 days and will have a gruelling rowing schedule: one hour on, one hour off, every day and every night. They’ll each burn 4000 calories per day and expect to lose 10-15kg of body weight.

    The race will be tweeted, posted and streamed on numerous social media channels. Last year’s challenge clocked up a social reach of 20 million along with 2.5million pieces of news coverage and an astonishing 80million TV viewers. 

    If you’d like to help Jemma and Lauren reach or beat their target, they’ve set up at a donations page at: 

    Meanwhile we’ll be keeping everything crossed for their success, and for their safe – if not dry – arrival in Antigua.

    The Author

    Sophie Higgins
    020 7101 2020
    07786 510 974
  9. November 2018

  10. The department store reinvented

    27 November 2018
    While there’s no shortage of pundits who want to proclaim the death of the traditional department store, the central concept which gave rise to this type of retailing – the curation of a wide range of items in one store – remains appealing to many shoppers.
    The latest manifestation of it can be found in London’s Duke Street where Grosvenor, the landlord of No.55, has opened the North Mayfair Emporium – a vibrant mix of fashion, style, food and drink.
    The former Jigsaw has been converted into a shared space for brands including Bailey Nelson, Lumitrix, Roscomar, Sons of London, Winser London and YOUPEOPLE with food & drink by Fernandez & Wells.

    The initiative signals another step in the evolution of pop-up stores. Once not much more than a way to mitigate the cost of an empty store, pop-ups – if correctly delivered – can bring excitement and footfall to a retailing location.

    For the landlord, they enliven a store and offer the possibility that a temporary occupier will turn into a permanent tenant. For a brand, they are the chance to road test their offer and see if it is received well in that particular location. This latter point is extremely important as brands sometimes don’t ‘travel’ even when it’s just a different place in the same city.

    Where the Emporium moves the model on is its multi-brand offer which brings a different mix which theoretically could be changed even in the relatively short life of a pop-up.

    The North Mayfair Emporium is open through till Christmas Eve. Whether you’re interested in how retail is reinventing itself or you just like great contemporary fashion, it’s well worth a visit.

    The Author

    Colliers Retail Central London Team
    Sasha Riddle
    0207 487 1607
  11. Little gems: Grade A refurbished offices at invigorated city corner

    26 November 2018
    It would be hard to find a clearer view of Cannon Street’s modern makeover than from the floor-to-ceiling windows at number 76, where a cluster of recent transformative developments is gathered outside in a total reimagining of the location’s relationship to the rest of the City.
    At the crossroads of Cannon Street, Dowgate Hill and Walbrook, this newly refurbished 6-storey building sits in esteemed company, sharing the intersection with three notable buildings in a location that is now a vibrant destination rather than simple entry and exit point. On offer is a total of 5,804ft2, divided across four units with with floor plates from 1,400 to 1482ft2, all with a splendid view of the corner and right up to the Walkie Talkie on Fenchurch Street. 

    76 Cannon Street has an interesting façade of stone with turreted brick interventions that deliver unexpectedly expansive outlooks from the full height windows. The new refurbishment includes raised metal floors, suspended ceilings with LED lighting and fan coil air conditioning to the offices, while amenities within the building include a commissionaire, passenger lift, cycle parking and shower facilities. A sweeping communal roof terrace rounds things off.

    Sharing the south side of the junction is the redeveloped Cannon Street station, a huge undertaking that required the demolition of two 1960s office blocks and replacing them with a brand new building with zero downtime for the National Rail and Underground platforms. The finished scheme, completed in 2010, delivered 400,000ft2 of prime office and retail space.

    On the north side of the junction are two transformative developments designed by Foster & Partners. The Walbrook Building has an arresting finned exterior of bulging glass walls and houses around 450,000ft2 of retail and office space. The bold and curvaceous structure, also from 2010, is now joined by The Bloomberg Building which, as well as completing the corner and setting new standards in the eco-friendly stakes, delivers a welcome connection to the rest of the city through a slender concourse that cuts through the middle of the development.

    The Bloomberg Arcade provides a vibrant and pedestrian friendly walkway to Queen Street and Cheapside lined with familiar names from the restaurant world. The mix of high end and grab’n’go options includes Vinoteca, Caravan, Brigadiers, Bleecker and Kym’s in a welcome beefing up of the local dining scene and an instant integration of Cannon Street into the City.

    Continuing this strident march forward of the immediate locale, the recent opening of The Ned – the first city outing for Soho House Group – just a few minutes walk away the other end of Walbrook on Poultry, has introduced an entirely new kind of meeting place into the square mile. With 15 restaurants and bars The Ned provides a beautiful and informal environment to match anything in the West End and, with its 2,500 memberships already taken and 6,000 people on the waiting list, it’s clear the concept is something people have been waiting for.

    It all adds up to a remarkable renaissance for Cannon Street. Once merely the place to rush in and out on the daily commute, it’s now an attractive place to work and enjoy. If you’d like more information on 76 Cannon Street, please contact the City Agency on 020 7487 1900.

    The Author

    Emily Hirsch
    +44 20 7344 6764
    +44 7784 211 706
  12. Loving the gym

    19 November 2018
    The prospect of a trip to the gym will mean different things to different people but you wouldn’t have imagined that romance is one of things that springs to mind. However, in a survey of 3,000 gym users that we conducted for our latest review of the London gym market, an amazing 75% said that they’d go to the gym on a date.
    The fact that so many people could see the gym as the place for a romantic encounter perhaps speaks volumes for how embedded the ‘keep fit’ process is in so many people’s lives.

    The London health and fitness scene continues to boom, but there is an increasing polarisation in the market between the luxury and studio gym sectors and the budget offers. The premium market accounts for 18% of clubs but represents more than half of all floor space because of its need to accommodate specialist areas such as altitude conditioned studios, o-zone treated pools and bespoke training equipment. 

    While the sector was once dominated by mid-market branded groups such as Fitness First and LA Fitness, the mid-market’s stronghold has weakened in the face of new niche offers like 1Rebel, F45, Barry’s Bootcamp and the rapid growth of low-cost formats such as Pure Gym. As a result of this diversification, the mid-market sector now only represents 19% of all London clubs while studio gyms make up 41% of clubs across the capital. 

    Among the newcomers to the scene is the American brand, Peloton. It combines cycling studios with a retail arm where customers can purchase a bespoke bike with an inbuilt 22-inch HD screen onto which a range of immersive cycling classes that can be streamed to you in the (dis)comfort of your own home.

    Meanwhile rents are also getting suitably pumped up. Average studio gym rents are around £32.50 per sq ft – a very decent return to landlords for what is often space that would struggle to attract an alternative occupier.

    Given the younger generation’s focus on healthier lifestyles plus the growing importance of wellbeing, the London gym sector looks like it will continue in good shape for some time to come.


    Ross Kirton
    Head of UK leisure agency,
  13. No more room at The Loom (for now!)

    19 November 2018
    Helical's magnificent reworking of a Victorian wool warehouse in Whitechapel is now fully let.
    This remarkable slice of industrial heritage on Gower’s Walk was given a stunning refurbishment to a design by Duggan Morris architects, resulting in several prestigious and well-respected design and construction awards:  a RIBA NationalAward, the AJ Retrofit Award for Best Listed Building and a BRICK Award for Best Refurbishment Project.

    The Loom has drawn new and established businesses across a multitude of sectors, from fashion and finance to charities and creative agencies, all enchanted by the building's beauty, the spaces within and the value for money of an office space in Whitechapel. Not to mention, of course, the vibrant social and cultural scene.

    Among the latest new occupants are Dutch fashion brand G-Star, moving from their previous office in Bermondsey, and INgrooves, an independent music producer relocating from the Shoreditch Triangle.

    Alongside these new tenancies are a number of moves within The Loom including Tribe, an international creative experience agency with offices in New York and Los Angeles; the charity TBF (the public transport benevolent fund); video marketing agency Vidsy, and the seemingly ever-expanding mortgage market disruptor, Habito, taking yet more space in what is their third expansion since arriving at the building.

    It's the first time in its history as offices that the The Loom has been fully let. The original conversion back in the 1980s delivered fairly rudimentary workspaces in what was very much a tertiary location; a far cry from the Whitechapel of today.

    That companies are electing to remain at The Loom after a period in occupation and as their businesses evolve is testament to the quality, atmosphere and design that's now on offer coupled with Helical’s policy of flexible leasing. It's also the best indication we can imagine of a building delivering on its promise.

    And despite its fully let status there is still plenty to talk about at The Loom with a new fully fitted turnkey solution being offered in 2019 and a selection of units becoming available. If you'd like to find out if The Loom is the right next home for your business, feel free to get in touch. 

    The Author

    Elliott Stern
    020 7101 2020
    07834 918 700
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