Commercial Blog January 2018 - Colliers International | London


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  1. January 2018

  2. Wise move: The Wisdom Council swaps bland for grand

    11 January 2018
    The Wisdom Council has just completed the move from fairly bland and faceless serviced offices to the glamour and personality of what is probably The City's most creative and cool office building.
    Founded in 2013, The Wisdom Council helps financial services firms shape their thinking on strategy, propositions, new product development and service delivery. The company connects across the financial services industry with regulators and policy-makers, industry and media commentators, manufacturers and intermediaries, traditional firms and FinTech start-ups.

    The company’s new home at Cannon Green is from developers Ocubis whose building has certainly moved things forward in the City office market.  Noticing the beginnings of an exodus from businesses at the more creative end of the Fintech and Recruitment sectors, Ocubis seized the opportunity to seduce those firms eyeing up the superior facilities, design and fun of city fringe co-working spaces.

    Cannon Green is therefore a very different workplace in the heart of the Square Mile; a building that blurs the lines between what is available in the City and City Fringe, but stands in stark contrast to its immediate neighbours.

    On an island site just north of Upper Thames Street and offering approximately 82,000ft2 of modern office space, the building recalls various aspects of London’s heritage, from private Victorian members’ clubs through the city’s industrial age and right up to its current status as a futuristic creative, tech and media hub. 

    Among a host of alluring tenant amenities are a business lounge, Gymbox gym, a bike cub & repair shop, three large terraces and The Listing, a new concept Drake & Morgan bar & restaurant.

    Cannon Green could well be a nod to the future in how office space in the still-rather-traditional City may need to adapt. As the desire for a more contemporary approach to working environments reaches out of the creative world and across the professional sector, the City will need to keep up with the concerns of the day to avoid losing its occupants to nearby Clerkenwell, Farringdon and Shoreditch.

    The Author

    Mark Bott
    0207 101 2020
    07879 890 115
  3. The skyline tells the story

    11 January 2018
    The capital’s skyline has been very much in the news during the first few days of 2018.
    The City Corporation has released a series of remarkable CGIs showing what it thinks the Square Mile’s skyline may look like in 2026. The jostling group of towers – some already built, some under construction and some still on the drawing board – speak volumes about how attitudes to development in the City have changed in recent decades.

    Thirty years ago, relatively modest developments such as Alban Gate on London Wall or Minster Court in Mincing Lane (you can just see the latter’s ‘steeple’ dwarfed in the middle of the image above) were the subject of huge planning deliberation and caution.

    The advent of Canary Wharf and the competition for occupiers it brought, changed all that. The City started taking a more pro-development stance which has given us buildings such as The Gherkin, Walkie Talkie, and the Cheesegrater (somewhere along the way nicknames replaced the best that marketing agencies could come up with).

    This atmosphere also paved the way for The Shard which - for the foreseeable future - will continue to stand head and shoulders above everything else on the South Bank.

    Meanwhile, over at Canary Wharf, an announcement last week showed how times have also changed there. When the massive urban regeneration scheme launched. the emphasis was very much on wooing banks and financial services businesses. In contrast, Brookfield has just said that it will retain around one million square feet across three new residential towers on the wharf to rent out as its first foray into the London private rented sector.

    The final skyline ‘sign of times’ was over in Kensington where it was announced that the legendary Roof Gardens on top of the Derry & Toms building are to close their gates. An iconic party venue in the ‘loadsamoney’ eighties, the gardens flourished when people tended to party ‘up the West End’ whereas their contemporary counterparts are more likely to be found in Hoxton, Shoreditch and Dalston.

    It seems that London’s skyline continues to tell a vivid story about where the capital is heading.

    The Author

    Natalie Lelliott
  4. Say moo to cattle-class workspace at Black Bull Yard’s last available office

    8 January 2018
    If the City Fringe is about anything, it’s about breaking free from the herd: nobody brings their business to the neighbourhood in the hope of going unnoticed, and nobody is on the hunt for a second-rate office.

    It’s those driving factors that have inspired such creativity and innovation in workspace design in Clerkenwell and Shoreditch, but sometimes there’s a building that goes just that bit further to stand out from the pack.

    Designed by the Clerkenwell based practice GPAD Architects and developed by Boultbee Brooks, Black Bull Yard provides 5 incredible office floors in a new building behind the original façade of a former Victorian warehouse.

    Unsurprisingly, the scheme has been a hit with occupiers and now just one office unit remains available – a second floor space of 5,406ft2.

    Sitting squarely on Hatton Wall that connects vibrant Hatton Garden to Leather Lane and its long established food market, the development’s location is as exciting and vital as the offices within.

    From the minute you enter the remodelled reception from a newly landscaped courtyard, the attention to detail and uncompromising quality is immediately apparent. Head up to the office floors and the sense of unbridled excellence only increases.

    While the specification reads like a wishlist of cutting-edge cool, it’s the way it’s delivered that gives it that vital edge, with meticulous finishing absolutely everywhere. New raised access flooring; new black powder coated suspended LED lighting; new self-contained WC facilities; exposed ceiling services; new comfort cooling and heating throughout; exposed brickwork; excellent natural light on four elevations and ceiling heights between 2.8 to 3.0m all go together to deliver truly breathtaking interiors. 
    Amenities for tenants include shower facilities, on-site bicycle storage, a communal terrace on the third floor and an 8-person passenger lift.

    Black Bull Yard is a fine and fitting addition to each firm’s canon. 

    The Author

    Elliott Stern
    020 7101 2020
    07834 918 700
  5. December 2017

  6. Getting fit isn’t just about gyms

    14 December 2017
    Bored by the treadmill? Cross about cross-training? When it comes to getting fit, the gym isn’t everyone’s cup of tea so it’s interesting to see the proliferation of new fitness concepts across the capital.

    For the frustrated prima ballerinas among us there is Barrecore which combines the essentials of a ballet class with targeting all-round fitness and working specific muscle groups. It draws on a variety of fitness regimes such as high intensity interval training and asana yoga to provide a progressive programme of classes.

    Intriguingly, one new concept in the capital which was conceived not primarily as a fitness offer is attracting people for just that reason. Chel-Ski – ‘where London meets the mountains’ – essentially uses a huge broad conveyor belt which replicates the slopes by tipping to steepening angles and speeding up to mimic an accelerating downward descent.

    It is also a phenomenally good work-out for the muscles that are intrinsic to skiing. Whereas on a dry slope you might be skiing for, say, a minute before you reached the bottom, the Chel-Ski machines mean you can ski for pretty much an indefinite period of time. For legs in the skiing position for minutes on end, it brings a new meaning to ‘feel the burn’.

    From a property perspective, the rise of these concepts is interesting as they are relatively premium activities (single sessions at Chel-Ski and Barrecore cost from £40 and £28 respectively), but they often occupy premises which have a modest cost profile and are not in prime locations. Chel-Ski is located on an SW6 light industrial estate and Barrecore occupies a variety of spaces including lower ground floors – basically space which is often not the most attractive to many other users.

    It also illustrates how the health & fitness sector is diversifying and that landlords need to be aware that they shouldn’t just be thinking about traditional gyms when they consider who could be right for space.

    By Ross Kirton

  7. November 2017

  8. Cats, stress and cafés

    30 November 2017
    This can be a difficult time of year: everyone’s ‘running on empty’, summer holidays are a distant memory, the days are darker, winter is upon us while the prospect of Christmas can represent both pleasure and pressure.

    Perhaps not surprisingly then, we’re beginning to see openings of cafés which offer the chance to de-stress.

    One of the most unusual is the London Cat Village in Shoreditch where you can book an hour to drink coffee and eat cake while the establishment’s feline residents alternatively laze around or get active on wooden tree towers.

    Research has shown that petting a cat can lower your blood pressure while only last week the Swedish Science for Life Laboratory published research which claimed to confirm that dog owners are less likely to suffer premature death. Unfortunately, at the London Cat Village – in common with some other leisure establishments - there is a strict ‘no touch’ policy.

    For non-pet lovers, there is also the new Yeotown Kitchen in Marylebone. It’s an offshoot of the North Devon retreat spa of the same name and alongside a ‘thoughtfully-concocted food and beverage menu’, its two-level space includes mood-boosting meditation pods where you can ‘nurture the mind and spirit’. Customers can recharge with five-minute guided meditations including The Bravery Break (‘for a boost of courage’), The Beauty Break (‘to encourage self-love and finding beauty within’) and The Brain Break (‘soothe anxiety, gain better clarity’).

    It’s opened opposite the über trendy Chiltern Street Firehouse and is also just around the corner from our offices so may become a hang-out for both stressed celebrities and chartered surveyors. An interesting mix to be sure.

    However, the point that connects these two cafes is that we’re now seeing a development of concepts that are geared to the personalities and needs of the people who use them rather than simply the inherent quality of the food and drink offer. Driven by the big coffee store chains, cafés have proliferated to an astonishing extent in the past decade. While the giants will continue to serve the needs of the masses, the challenge for more niche outlets will be about differentiation rather than just the quality of what they put in your cup and on your plate.

    The Author

    Colliers Retail Agency Central London
    Cecily Offord
    0207 487 1637
    079 1739 2857
  9. Don’t show me the money: GoCardless acquires 25,000ft2 in Clerkenwell

    17 November 2017
    The Colliers Tenant Representation team has just helped GoCardless in its relocation to Clerkenwell with the acquisition of 25,000ft2 at Sutton Yard, a striking 77,500ft2 refurbishment on the site of an old varnish works just behind Goswell Road.
    GoCardless has taken a self-contained office over three levels – ground, 1st and part 2nd floors – that will give the company its own entrance and an impressive welcoming point for clients. The GoCardless workforce, meanwhile, will be based in the 16,000ft2 open-plan first floor space.

    The move represents a continuation of the relationship between Colliers and GoCardless that began around 3 years ago when the Tenant Representation team helped the company find its previous 7,500ft2 premises in Angel.

    Sutton Yard is set in a private courtyard with impressive gates just north of Goswell Road’s junction with Clerkenwell Road and Old Street. It’s a place of expansive, open-plan and light-filled spaces with plenty of raw concrete, metal and exposed details punctuating the minimalist interiors, lending the design a modern-industrial edge. 

    The letting to GoCardless leaves just one last remaining space at Sutton Yard with 11,500ft2 available up on the 4th floor. 

    Founded in 2011, GoCardless helps businesses to process recurring payments around the world, and now processes £3 billion in annual transactions for over 30,000 organisations.

    The relocation to Clerkenwell comes after a recent successful funding round which saw GoCardless raise £16.6million, bringing the total amount raised by the start-up to £34.9 million with some of the world’s leading investors backing the firm including Balderton Capital, Accel Partners, Notion Capital, Passion Capital and Y Combinator.

    The Author

    Sophie Higgins
    020 7101 2020
    07786 510 974
  10. Fully booked: all units let at hi-tech reinvention of Euston railway buildings

    13 November 2017
    Acting on behalf of Aviva Investments, we have now successfully completed the letting of every office at the somewhat sensational refurbishment of the former Railway Clearing House at 163-203 Eversholt Street in Euston.
    Carried out to a design by Hale Brown Architects and shortlisted for the British Council of Offices Awards 2017, the refurbishment of the Grade II Listed parade of elegant Georgian buildings worked hard to retain the many surviving elements of the building’s history – including the existing steel structure, listed iron metalwork and timber tongue & groove boarding– while developing a brand new contemporary aesthetic and specification to add new interest. The result was a striking collection of sometimes breath-taking office spaces.

    About half a mile from Kings Cross and St Pancras International, 0.3 miles from Euston station and 4 minutes walk from the southern end of Camden High Street at Mornington Crescent, the buildings would be hard pressed to be more accessible and are surrounded by some of the most vibrant, diverse and cultural locations in Central London from Camden and Covent Garden to Fitzrovia and the West End.

    163-203 Eversholt Street will be welcoming as its new occupants: Total UK Ltd, the UK marketing and services subsidiary of global energy giant Total Group; international media distribution agency DHX worldwide (who have just signed Amazon’s largest ever agreement); Junifer Systems, suppliers of billing and customer information systems to major utility companies across the world; and Piriform Software, creators of flagship tools like CCleaner and Defraggler for cleaning up, maintaining and restoring desktop and mobile devices.

    The Author

    Ricky Blair
    020 7101 2020
    07961 104 125
  11. Colliers takes 48% of City Fringe office market

    10 November 2017
    Driven by massive demand and an equally mammoth black hole in supply, Q3 of 2017 was an extraordinary three months where a high volume of transactions on smaller office spaces drove our performance to 34 deals, amounting to a total disposal of 149,512ft2.
    This put us at the top of the EG league table for the quarter, with 12 more deals completed and double the amount of space let than our nearest competitor, giving us almost half the entire share of the City Fringe market.
    It was a quarter of stark contrasts, with the lowest level of take-up in more than five years at 240,000ft2 met by the highest level of space under offer for two years at 455,000 ft2.
    These conflicting stories reflect two prominent factors: the fundamental lack of existing space that has long been a bugbear of the city fringe office market, and the encouraging amount of new space that is coming up for completion.
    As construction works enter the final stages on a series of new developments, and with 70% of those spaces still available, there is likely to be a lot of pre-letting activity at the beginning of next year.
    Denied the same quantity of stock as neighbouring markets like the West End and the City core, the City Fringe is somewhat used to its fluctuating levels of take up. But it is this lack of supply and continued demand that has made the City Fringe market so resilient. In fact, compared with other quarters where more supply was available, the level of take-up in Q3 has been phenomenally high.

    As usual, the TMT sector was the major driver in demand, accounting for almost 50% of the deals last quarter. But London’s most successful and progressive market for the past five years continues to evolve, and as it does so there is ever-increasing interest from more conventional operators, most notably in the professional and financial worlds.

    It seems as though everyone wants a piece of the City Fringe and, in 2018, a lot more of them will finally get it.

    The Author

    Shaun Simons
    020 7101 2020
    07788 423 131
  12. London sends SMS message to France

    9 November 2017
    Next week, the worlds of retail and real estate converge on Cannes in the south of France for the massive MAPIC trade show.

    At the event a year ago, we were still getting over the shock of the EU Referendum result and how a ‘Brexit’ might impact London’s line-up of international retailers. Twelve months on, that question is being emphatically answered and especially on one of the capital’s most famous shopping streets.

    South Molton Street has every ingredient for being a superb shopping environment. It’s broad and pedestrianised; it sits between the thronged pavements of Oxford Street and the luxury of Bond Street and beyond; and has a pedigree of bringing some of the most stylish brands to the capital.

    For more than four decades, it’s been the home of the legendary Browns store which down the years has introduced designers like Alexander McQueen, John Galliano and Christopher Kane to the London fashion scene. However, the recession, fast-rising shop rents in the capital, and most recently a steep increase in business rates all had a negative impact on the street and it lost some of its vibrancy and identity.

    That is all now changing thanks to the major London landlord, Grosvenor, which controls around a third of the shops on the street and is implementing a new vision. And international retailers are also playing a major part in the street’s renaissance.

    Examples include the Spanish fashion brand, TBA, which has opened its doors at no.54 and offers unique equestrian-inspired fashion and accessories while French brand, IKKS, has a store at no.10 which is its women’s fashion line.

    However, right now its the opening of the Sézane pop-up store at no.20 which is getting the shopping blogs chattering about ‘SMS’ (as South Molton Street is increasingly known on social media). The brand was France’s first online-only fashion label and has developed an almost fanatically devoted following. It was founded by Parisian, Morgane Sézalory, who had a background in selling vintage wares on eBay before she started creating her own designs and launched a website to sell them.

    It is now venturing into physical retailing (stores have opened in Paris and New York) and it is telling that they have chosen the buzzing again ‘SMS’ to trial its London offer.

    Shoppers on the street can also expect the imminent of arrival of a major French lingerie brand which will also be debuting in London on South Molton Street. So, as a major chunk of our retail and property doyennes head towards Cannes next week, it’s great news for the capital that some of the best French brands are heading in the opposite direction to set up shop.

    The Author

    Paul Souber - Colliers London
    Paul Souber
    020 7344 6870
  13. Saying good bye to meat and drink?

    1 November 2017
    For those who forswore the demon drink last month as part of the ‘Stoptober’ initiative, it’s possible that this new abstinent lifestyle may now leave them with a hankering for a healthier diet.

    If so they’ve picked a good time to look at the veggie and vegan dining options. Meat-free and dairy-free eating has always been on the London food scene but it is now becoming very much a mainstream sector.

    Pret a Manger was bowled over by the response it got to its first ‘Veggie Pret’ in Soho and the second outlet – in the foodie mecca of Exmouth Market – has been met with similar enthusiasm and customer numbers.

    And a vegetarian diet that makes your waist line look better also does no harm to a business’s bottom line. Azzuri Group has recently rolled out a new range of vegan dishes at its Zizzi and ASK pizza chains, and the higher profit margins for these dishes look like they’ve made a healthy contribution to increasing the group’s revenues by 12% in the year to the end of July.

    The ‘Millennial’ generation is more attuned to this type of diet – but don’t want it with a side serving of the sort of self-righteousness which rather permeated the first generation of vegan and veggie eateries. The ‘cheesecloth shirt and open-toe sandals’ brigade of yesteryear have given way to a more playful and upbeat strand of places for a meat-free meal.

    Perhaps the best example is the splendidly named Temple of Seitan which, with a clear appetite for post-modern irony, styles itself as a ‘100% vegan chicken shop’.

    Seitan (yes, it is pronounced like ‘Satan’) is a wheat protein with a meat-like texture. The concept is the brainchild of Aussie couple Rebecca McGuinness and her husband Pat O’Shea. Rebecca used to work in a KFC and has pined for fried chicken since becoming vegan 10 years ago. So ToS is the glorious result. Punters queued in the rain when the first shop opened in Hackney and social media is now chattering about a second shop which is due to open soon.

    And, of course, we’re also seeing hybrids like the extremely popular Vita Mojo which whilst serving meat, fish and veggie dishes also gives you the chance to calibrate your diet by selecting the exact quantities of protein, carbohydrate and vegetables in your meal.

    So if you managed to boot booze out of your life in October, maybe now is the time to embrace a more veggie diet.

    Just think: on Christmas Day you could end up sitting down to lunch with seitan…

    The Author

    Central London Restaurants
    Josh Leon
    020 7487 1967
    07951 023 263
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