Commercial Blog February 2018 - Colliers International | London



  1. February 2018

  2. 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.

  3. 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
  4. Three sides to every storey: stunning triangular offices in Clerkenwell

    1 February 2018
    Occupying a wedge-shaped plot reminiscent of New York’s Flat Iron Building, 44-46 Sekforde Street is a fantastic refurbishment of a former office building that sits among a collection of former factories, warehouses and Georgian terraces in in the warren of streets between Clerkenwell Green and St John Street.
    The location is the site of a former factory where Croll manufactured gas meters in the 1850s, but the current building was constructed in 1963 for Blick Time Recorders Ltd to a design by architect Robert Cromie who also designed the Theatre Royal on Drury Lane, the Royal Court Theatre at Sloane Square and the Apollo in Hammersmith. Most recently, the fashion company Henri Lloyd was headquartered here and ran regular sample sales.

    Today, after being completely reimagined, 44-46 Sekforde Street delivers on everything a contemporary Clerkenwell occupier demands through a deft mix of sleek modernism and hi-tech industrial chic bolstered with a rugged edge. Running to a total of 8,348ft2, the building consists of four office units – two single storey and two duplex – with floorplates ranging from 1502 – 2800ft2. The building has 24-hour access and services include secure cycle storage and a passenger lift.

    The unusual shape of the plot gives the spaces within a real sense of individuality with large casement windows running like ribbons around the building and letting in light from almost every corner. Bright white walls are contrasted with black painted window frames and grit blasted original brickwork; floors are covered in light oak engineered boards with galvanised steel perimeter trunking; exposed air conditioning ducts run overhead among suspended LED light boxes.

    Each unit has self contained WC and shower facilities that are equally slick with white ceramic metro tiles, sleek white sanitaryware including 1m wide shower stalls, and chrome taps and accessories.

    The 3rd & 4th floor office has been created with the addition of a new fifth storey that is stepped back from the building line, with the two levels connected by a striking black steel staircase with timber treads and glass balustrade. For a business that requires a private street entrance, look not further than the duplex on the ground and lower ground floors.. 

    Looking out across Clerkenwell Green, the building occupies a prime City Fringe position among myriad places to socialise and shop and just a few minutes walk from Farringdon station whose Thameslink and Underground services are soon to be met by the arrival of the Elizabeth Line to create a major Central London interchange.

    We are quoting rents between £62.50 and £69.506 per ft2 and the building is ready for immediate occupation.

    The Author

    Ricky Blair
    020 7101 2020
    07961 104 125
  5. January 2018

  6. The London office market saw robust demand in the face of wider market uncertainty in 2017

    31 January 2018
    Our latest London Offices Snapshot is now available.


    The London office market saw robust demand in the face of wider market uncertainty in 2017. In addition, long term commitments from Deutsche Bank alongside Bank of America, Citi, European Bank of Reconstruction and Development who are expected to sign for new HQs in 2018.
    Limited pipeline supply and occupier appetite is set to create acute shortages of prime product in many submarkets during 2018 – helping to insulate markets from downward pressure on prime rents.
    At the same time, a major influencer will be the flexible office, which in spite of hoovering up space, will deliver new product onto the market in 2018-19.
    On the investment side, Asia-Pacific investors paused for breath in Q4 but there is still plenty of hard evidence of strong Chinese (Hong Kong) investor appetite. We expect a continued widening of the overseas investor base throughout 2018.

    View the full report here.

    The Author

    Guy Grantham
    +44 20 7344 6793
    +44 779 596 3710
  7. Q4 2017: a remarkable result for the Colliers City Fringe Team

    31 January 2018
    The league tables for EG’s London Office Market Analysis (LOMA) have revealed the tremendous performance put in by the Colliers City Fringe team in the final quarter of 2017.
    Capturing 33% of the market share, and transacting no less than 42 deals, the team generated a total of 254,501ft2 in office space disposals, with the EG commenting that: “Colliers was by far the most prolific player in the City fringe”.

    Among the most noteworthy of Q4’s transactions were a trio of significant lettings: 100,000ft2 to Time Warner at 160 Old Street; the Ground & Lower Ground Floors of 80 Clerkenwell Road at a record rent of £81 psf; and 25,000ft2 to Go Cardless at Sutton Yard.
    While a lot of hard work and great team spirit were two important driving factors in the performance, credit must also go to landlords in providing some truly outstanding office space: for creative and professional enterprises alike, the City Fringe has some of the most beautifully realised workspaces that are an understandably irresistible draw.

    It's also yet another sign and vindication of the resilience of London's commercial property market, and of the people and companies located here. Despite a fairly drawn out background of economic and political unrest, businesses continue to fix their eyes on London for either starting up or expanding their operations.

    As the icing on the cake, the City fringe team’s performance contributed strongly to Colliers International being 2017’s most active London office agent by number of deals, completing on 240 spaces.


    The Author

    Elliott Stern
    020 7101 2020
    07834 918 700
  8. Spotting new proptech talent

    31 January 2018
    Colliers has just launched The Colliers Proptech Accelerator - a partnership with Global Technology Investor, Techstars. The intensive 13-week program is focused on the development and acceleration of technology driven solutions.

    The tech sector has been one of the major drivers of the London office market in recent years. You only have to look at the proliferation of tech businesses throughout the City fringe and elsewhere in the capital to see the dramatic effect of demand from the sector.

    Colliers is the dominant letting agent in the City fringe and in the final quarter of last year, we let more than 250,000 sq ft in the market. In total activity was around 700,000 sq ft and reflects sustained demand from tech and creative businesses.

    The property business itself was not an early adopter of tech but in the past two years there has been a rush of new innovation which is aimed at making the ‘mechanical’ aspects of property consultancy more efficient and, by doing so, liberate more time for the most valuable aspect of our work – the expert advice which requires experience and judgment.

    In this context, a new initiative from Colliers has the potential to power profound change in our sector. We have launched an initiative with Techstars – a worldwide network which helps entrepreneurs succeed – to encourage new innovation in the property sector.

    The Colliers Proptech Accelerator will provide early insight into companies and technologies that have the potential to provide value-enhancing strategies to our clients and improve our property skillsets and delivery.

    The initiative will identify and mentor start-ups around the globe that are developing industry-disrupting technologies in the property industry.

    The start-ups selected by the programme will be invited to an intensive 13-week course in Toronto which will be focused on the development and acceleration of technology-driven solutions.

    Applications will open in February for the first Colliers Proptech Accelerator class so if you think you have an innovation which has potential but needs to be supercharged to the next level, there’s more information here


    Helen O'Reilly

    Head of Digital Marketing | UK & EMEA

  9. In dogs we trust: UK’s largest canine welfare charity acquires extra space

    23 January 2018
    Based on Wakley Street EC1 between Goswell Road and City Road at the Angel end, the Dogs Trust has just acquired a building directly across the street to expand its operations.
    The charity has bought the freehold interest of 2 Wakley Street, a building that currently measures 7,591ft2 and has the potential to extend and create a total space of 9,932ft2.  

    Constructed in the 1980s, the building remains in fairly much its original condition with the Dogs Trust intending to carry out a light refurbishment before taking occupation. The existing offices at number 17 will be retained.

    Dogs Trust was founded in 1891 when “a small party of gentlemen brought together by Lady Gertrude Stock during the first ever Crufts dog show” formed the National Canine Defence League. Since then the charity has gone on to open centres all around the country and today cares for over 17,000 dogs each year through its network of 20 rehoming centres in the UK - and one in Dublin.

    Dogs Trust has also been involved in every piece of legislation affecting dogs over the past 125 years, from minimising their distress from fireworks to the way they are transported and general cruelty. In 1978, the charity’s former CEO coined the phrase ‘A dog is for life, not just for Christmas’ which still chimes today.

    The Author

    Ricky Blair
    020 7101 2020
    07961 104 125
  10. Back to the office

    17 January 2018
    It may be that in years to come, 2017 is seen as a pivotal period for the London office market.
    It was the year that revealed how the market was responding to the growing reality of a ‘Brexit’; and it saw phenomenal take-up by co-working and serviced office operators who went from being something of an adjunct to the ‘traditional’ leasing market to representing the capital’s biggest office provider grouping.

    These factors alone made everyone reflect on both London’s macro position as a global office destination and also on the very nature of how we occupy office space.

    Three decades ago, corporates were having to sign 25-year leases to get the space they wanted. Today, they can source offices through flexible providers for 25 months, 25 weeks or even 25 days.

    So now that we’re all just about back at our desks, what are the prognostications for the London office market this year?

    Well, in terms of the feared impact of a Brexit exodus, it’s good news that Deutsche Bank, Bank of America, Citi and the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development are expected to recommit to London this year by signing up for new HQs.  London office take-up surged in 2017 to exceed the 10-year average and pre-letting activity rose to reach 2.8m sq ft – an 87% increase year-on-year. 

    And from a space supply perspective because the development tap has never been fully turned on since the recession then there are actually locations across London where supply of space is very tight and rents are remaining relatively firm whereas they might have otherwise drifted downwards.

    The capital’s key office markets enjoyed a buoyant 2017 from an occupier perspective but that was largely due to the demand from co-working operators who, of course, immediately release space onto the market one they have ‘occupied’ it.

    There was also no shortage of demand on the investment front as the flow of overseas capital was augmented by concerted buying from Asia-Pacific investors.

    So, altogether 2017 was probably a ‘glass half-full’ year for the London office market but there will be many twists and turns on the way to a Brexit and it remains to be seen what the long-term effect of the new wave of flexible office space providers will be.

    The Author

    Guy Grantham
    +44 20 7344 6793
    +44 779 596 3710
  11. 207 Kings Cross Road WC1, Office Space, For Rent, To Let
    207 Kings Cross Road WC1, Office Space, For Rent, To Let
    207 Kings Cross Road WC1, Office Space, For Rent, To Let
    207 Kings Cross Road WC1, Office Space, For Rent, To Let
    207 Kings Cross Road WC1, Office Space, For Rent, To Let
    207 Kings Cross Road WC1, Office Space, For Rent, To Let
    207 Kings Cross Road WC1, Office Space, For Rent, To Let
    207 Kings Cross Road WC1, Office Space, For Rent, To Let

    Instrument House drums up demand from international investors

    15 January 2018
    After successfully finding tenants for all the office units at Instrument House in Kings Cross last year, we were instructed to find an investment buyer for the freehold interest...
    The sale presented a rare opportunity to acquire a prime office building in the heart of Kings Cross, which is now Europe’s Tech and Innovation Centre. Newly refurbished by Stiff + Trevillion Architects to a high specification, Instrument House provides a total of 12,232ft2 of beautiful office space over lower ground, ground and four upper floors. 

    After we let the building to four occupiers, the total passing rent being generated was £757,639.50 per annum from tenants in four sectors: PR (CC Group Communications Ltd); management (The Foundation Growth Consultancy Ltd); tech (Muso TNT Ltd); and online marketing sectors (Bounce Interactive Ltd and Mount Media Online Ltd).

    Our instructions were to seek offers in excess of £14,200,000, reflecting an attractive net initial yield of 5.00% (assuming purchasers costs of 6.73%). After a successful marketing campaign we eventually agreed terms at £15,000,000 to a private Hong Kong buyer, representing £1,226 per ft2: a record price for the area.

    While that’s a testament to the quality of the development as a whole – with its particularly winning combination of architecture, design and specification – it’s also a reflection of just how far Kings Cross has come and how fast in such a short space of time.

    From being on the fringes of the city fringe to becoming a prime destination in its own right, the neighbourhood has grown and evolved tremendously. There is a remarkable sense of completeness to Kings Cross with its high quality homes and offices extremely well served by an incredible selection of restaurants, bars, shops and striking public spaces. Not to mention, of course, the Eurostar terminal at St Pancras International.

    It is extraordinary for an area to pop on the radar of long-term international investment buyers so rapidly, but then again, Kings Cross is a long way from ordinary.

    The Author

    Richard Silver
    020 7101 2020
    07980 205 293
  12. 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
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