Commercial Blog March 2018 - Colliers International | London

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  1. March 2018

  2. The name’s Bond: suitably sharp new offices opposite Farringdon station

    2 March 2018
    We’ve recently started marketing a collection of beautiful new office spaces on Farringdon Road in a fantastic former factory on a prominent corner site.
    The Bond Works, developed by our clients NFU Mutual, is the result of a complete refurbishment of a stunning Victorian building that was in 1882 as the home of engineering company Marshall Sons & Co, an engineering company from Lincolnshire that made steam rollers, traction engines and agricultural machinery.

    Consisting of 6 floors of beautifully crafted office space, with floors 1-5 between 3,200 and 3,700ft2. The top floor measures 2,669ft2 and is cut back from the building line along both exterior sides to allow for two balconies, each running the full length of the wall with original stone balustrades.

    In fact, each office benefits from two exterior elevations and is thus somewhat flooded with natural light through new powder coated double glazed casement windows to match the originals. the building is a beautiful corner property and makes a striking first impression.

    Inside, the specification includes grit-blasted brick walls, ceiling-mounted lacquered LED light boxes, and raised metal tiled floors with air conditioning below. A beautiful new contemporary reception area on the ground floor provides a smart and welcoming entrance for occupiers and their visitors, with high ceilings and tall warehouse-style windows.

    Developed by NFU Mutual, the building has been completely reimagined to a superb contemporary standard that reflects the needs of modern businesses but that respects and celebrates the building’s heritage and fabric.

    With 2 x 8-person passenger lifts, 3 showers, 15 cycle spaces and18 lockers, the building has been designed with plentiful of useful amenities that reflect and support the way people come to work and use their environment.

    Surrounded by one London’s most eclectic and cool gatherings of fantastic places to eat and drink from breakfast till bedtime, The Bond Works is also just moments from Farringdon station and thus supremely well connected. The existing Thameslink and Underground services are soon to be joined the Elizabeth Line on completion of the transformative Crossrail project, creating a major Central London interchange quite literally across the road from these offices.

    Works are due to complete Q3 2018. 

    The Author

    Alexander Howarth
    0207 871 7430
    0750 000 7571
    alexander.howarth@colliers.com
  3. Insta puts property in the picture

    1 March 2018
    Not so long ago, Instagram was a social media channel dominated by food, fashion and travel. Its image-based approach was ideal for friends sharing stuff that had literally caught their eye. While Twitter became increasingly orientated to b2b communication, ‘Insta’ remained mostly rooted in the domain of personal chat.

    Today, that is changing rapidly, Twitter is haemorrhaging users (500m down to around 330m) while Insta is inexorably increasing its reach. Twitter is trying to fight back: increasing its message character count to 280 and encouraging the use of pictures and video. Somewhat ironically, Twitter has now taken a ‘if-you-can’t-beat-em-join-em’ approach and uses Insta to promote its own content. It has 410,000 Insta followers. 

    So why is all this important for the property business? Well, let’s start with the basic stats: Insta has around 400m users and is growing rapidly. More pertinently, over 200m of those users view a business profile on the channel every day and swipe-through rates to view more info can average around 15-20%. ‘Instagrammers’ are increasingly influenced by the channel with regard to which restaurants and bars they go to, and in the retail sector, the number of Insta followers that a brand has is a key metric when landlords evaluate who they want to put into their shops and centres. 

    This is a particularly interesting starting point if you’re looking at online ‘pureplay’ brands which have not yet taken physical stores. 

    In the physical retailing environment, the power of brands to mobilise footfall through their Insta followers is huge – and, by extension, they are also promoting whatever shopping location where their stores are to be found. A brand’s presence on Instagram is becoming a dimension of its covenant strength. 

    In return, landlords are also getting into gear on Insta. Check out accounts like CarnabyLondon and ConnaughtVillage if you want to see how Insta can convey the heart and soul of place – whether you’re down the road or on the other side of the world. 

    So if you’re in the property business and you’ve not yet done so, it may be time to become an Instragrammer.

    The Author

    Sara Simpson - Colliers London
    Sara Simpson
    020 7344 6849
    07814 495712
    Sara.Simpson@colliers.com
  4. Leading crypto currency firm moves new money into the City

    1 March 2018
    Colliers recently acted for a leading crypto currency market maker in acquiring a 67-desk space in the heart of the City.
    Spaces, the co-working brand of serviced offices provider Regus, occupies four floors of the striking City Point building at 1 Ropemaker Street. As well as some fantastic views across London, the Spaces interior has recently undergone a complete reinvention to create a design-led location in a corporate building, mixing a creative and professional environment.
     
    Alongside designated offices and bookable meeting rooms, the plentiful communal break out spaces and onsite café with trained baristas give out something of a City Fringe vibe. It’s very much in keeping with a gradual but noticeable shift in City workspaces to compete with the open, modern and relaxed style of nearby Clerkenwell and Shoreditch. 

    City Point is one of the tallest buildings in the Square Mile, an iconic skyscraper from 1967 that was originally built as the headquarters of BP and named Britannic House - it was also the first building in the City of London to exceed the height of St Paul’s Cathedral. In 2000 a full refurbishment was carried out, including the addition of an extra 5 metres height, taking the 35-storey building to 127 metres tall. 

    Part of the Spaces sell is flexibility in both the length of occupancy and the workspace provided. As such, the landlord delivered a bespoke configuration to suit the tenant’s brief of a private open plan office space with accompanying meeting rooms for the tenant’s sole use.  Agreeing to a 12-month term allowed  the tenant to retain agility around a business plan of continued growth and expansion.

    A central, well-connected and easily accessible location was another key element of the brief and, with Ropemaker Street just around the corner from both Moorgate and Liverpool Street Stations, City Point was just the ticket.

    The Author

    Mark Bott
    0207 101 2020
    07879 890 115
    Mark.Bott@colliers.com
  5. February 2018

  6. Working with children and animals: the rise of the crèche and pet-friendly offices

    28 February 2018
    It’s a remarkable thing how changing trends in the domestic circumstances of employees can influence not only an employer’s operations, but also its chances of attracting the right workers in the future.
    The effect moves swiftly up the food chain as well. As tenants require ever more from their workspaces, so landlords and property developers must respond if they want their buildings let and to keep apace of demands.

    We’ve seen this in a number of areas. A lot of creative companies can’t afford to be based in the West End, so employers must relocate further East. As far fewer people drive to work, basement car parks become cycle stores and shower facilities, or are sold off to become fitness studios and gyms. Now, being able to bring the dog to work or having childcare facilities at the office is bringing new demands on employers, and consequently on providers of workspace to meet these evolving requirements.

    Last year we acquired space for the marketing agency 4Ps whose new office includes a crèche for its employees’ children and welcomes its workers to bring their dogs to the office. We also acquired space for Dogs Trust, where, somewhat unsurprisingly, many people take their dogs to work.

    In London Fields, a new co-working building from Second Home really welcomes working parents into the fold: as well as an on-site crèche, there’ll be milk-warming facilities in the greenery-filled cafeteria and parking for buggies and scooters. Parents can pop into the nursery whenever they like, or be updated when their child goes to sleep, or be left in peace has crèche facilities alongside a number of socially interactive spaces, services and programmes.

    The revamp of Sea Containers House on the South Bank was heavily based around social interaction and the building has a dog-friendly policy, while serviced office provider WeWork extends a warm welcome to pets at many of its locations. 

    While these new facilities and policies are mainly a feature of new buildings and workspaces, established buildings will need to update their offering in order to retain their existing occupants, attract new ones and to ensure rental levels don’t slide.

    Even when we are out on viewings, it’s quite common for company directors to bring along their dog when looking at potential workspace. So having rooted itself into the culture modern creative enterprises, the practice of bringing home life to the workplace is clearly one that is here to stay.

    The Author

    Dash Boyeva
    020 7344 6623
    07811 111888
    dash.boyeva@colliers.com
  7. Polished off: first and second floors at former diamond workshop now let

    26 February 2018
    All floors of the arresting 15 Crinan Street development in Kings Cross are now occupied or under offer. Champion Sportswear, a long-established name in fashion, will occupy the first and second floors of the building as their UK HQ. The firm has also recently opened a flagship store on Brewer Street in Soho.
    Other occupants at 15 Crinan Street include the precision lending start-up Boost & Co, whose innovation in the financial sector has given SMEs a modern and less rigid alternative to standard banking loan models.

    A former Victorian-era diamond workshop, the building has been given an arresting refurbishment under the direction of Gpad architects that is as multi faceted as the gems that used to be fashioned here. Extending to a total of 7384ft2 across 6 storeys – lower ground to 4th floors – the refurbishment employs a rich palette of contemporary and vintage fittings in a specification that not only looks to the future, but also deftly evokes the sense of age-old craftsmanship.

    Each one of the floors wears its heritage with pride and there are plenty of girt-blasted walls and chimneybreasts as a reminder of the building’s history. Extra personality comes from the style of windows on the different levels, from full height picture windows and street frontage on the ground floor, through brand new large sash windows on the 1st to 3rd floors, to the wrap around floor-to-ceiling glass walls in the new top floor extension. 

    That stylish and timeless backdrop has been beautifully augmented by a combination of industry, hi-tech and heritage-inspired materials and finishes including beautiful oak parquet floors, exposed overhead services in galvanised ducting and suspended halos of LED lighting.

    Even the communal wc and shower facilities are something of a work of art, finished in a palette of white, black and anthracite, offset with muted ochre accents, and feature high quality fittings and accessories alongside stunning geometric tiling inspired by the building’s gemstone legacy.

    The location is a classic Victorian back street that has seen remarkable transformation, both in the repurposing of its former industrial buildings alongside the landmark new development of Kings Place. Just yards from The Regent’s Canal and Battlebridge Basin, 15 Crinan Street is well placed to enjoy the remarkable buzz of Kings Cross including Pancras Square, Granary Square and a unique and vibrant waterside scene.


    The Author

    Alexander Howarth
    0207 871 7430
    0750 000 7571
    alexander.howarth@colliers.com
  8. Victorian values: high standards and classic London interiors at Old Street

    23 February 2018
    In a world of converted warehouses, repurposed factories and glass fronted office blocks, the refurbishment of 91-93 Great Eastern Street stands out as an archetypal and elegant slice of London Victoriana.
    Located at the point where Great Eastern Street meets Old Street, floors 1, 3, 4 and 5 of this gateway corner building have been refurbished and are available to let on a floor-by-floor basis. However, the second floor is scheduled for refurbishment after the existing tenants vacate in May, meaning an occupier could take the entire upper floors, securing a total of around 9,500ft2.

    As things stand today, the first and third floors each extend to around 2,400ft2 and form part of the original Victorian structure. There is something instantly familiar – and indeed comforting – about these office spaces: they feel, in very many ways, just like home and display the characteristics of houses that so many Londoners will have either grown up in, or live in today. 

    Sash windows, tall skirting, panelled interior doors, ornate fireplaces, original floorboards and decorative cornicing really set these workspaces apart in a marketplace concentrated on industrial themed offices.

    At the top, a newer construction on the 4th and 5th floors provides a magnificent penthouse office of almost 2,300ft2. Converted from its original residential usage, this stunning duplex space is wonderfully light, with double-height walls of glass running around its perimeter and leading out to a private wraparound terrace with views over the City Fringe.

    Each office is air conditioned and has been given a sleek, contemporary treatment that combines a smart minimalism with some beautiful fittings, including futuristic led lighting suspend by minimal cabling to create the sense of light boxes floating overhead. A crisp pallet of white, black and natural wood runs throughout.

    Building amenities at 91-93 Great Eastern Street include a reception lobby, passenger lift, video intercom, shower facilities, communal cycle storage, and 24-hour access, while the Shoreditch Triangle location could hardly be better placed for enjoying a remarkable local scene of places to eat and drink as well as excellent transport connections at Old Street and Shoreditch High Street stations. 

    The refurbishment has been carried out by GMS Estates who were responsible for another notable refurbishment at nearby 35 Paul Street.  Their signature recipe of attention to detail and reviving as much of a building’s architectural heritage as possible gives their developments as distinctive quality and flavour.


    The Author

    Joshua Miller
    0207 101 2020
    07917 725 365
    Joshua.Miller@colliers.com
  9. Time to be smarter in the workplace

    22 February 2018
    With employee wellbeing, operational efficiency and carbon reduction very much on the radar of both landlords and occupiers, we are seeing the start of a revolution in monitoring the workplace and ‘smartening up’ buildings through an unprecedented level of data collection.
    The digital capabilities of buildings are increasing and, as they do so, are pushing landlords and tenants not only toward greater efficiency in the way space is occupied but, importantly, stepping up the environmental performance of the workplace. The idea of ‘smart buildings’ has been around for a while but to date this has focused primarily on regulating energy consumption. This now extends to factors that impact on occupiers, such as indoor air quality.
     
    As digital tech makes it possible to increase the densities of workplace use this has some challenging consequences. One recent study of an open-plan workplace used by 15 people found that by 2pm each day, the CO2 level was over 1,000 parts per million – more than double the natural level in the atmosphere. No wonder people can feel sleepy after lunch!

    For buildings to work smarter, monitoring becomes pivotal and the good news is that, as the cost of sensor technology drops, other applications for workplace environmental control become possible. Recent developments in the ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) enables huge volumes of data to be collected from buildings.

    For properties that are not yet ‘smart’, fitting digital sensors will increasingly become a priority as cyber-physical integration enables improved control and management of resources.  At present, only a few occupiers have the resources to extract valuable business insights from the resultant Big Data. Co-operation between landlords and occupiers will therefore be essential, with occupiers exerting increasing pressure for this to be delivered. 

    As part of developing a new approach to building management, Colliers has recently launched a smart data analytics pilot at one of the major commercial assets we manage. More than 1,000 data points are being monitored and the aim is to identify opportunities to improve building efficiency and occupier comfort.

    The pilot building is a mixed-use block on London’s Regent Street, so it will give a cross-section of insights across the different uses to which space is put. Significant cost savings are expected to be realised (the target is cost neutrality in only months) whilst continuing to  improve occupier satisfaction and engagement.

    This new data-driven approach to building and facilities management looks set to deliver real financial benefits for landlords and occupiers whilst also giving people a more pleasant environment in which to live, work and play.

    Author: 
    Associate Director | Sustainability Services
  10. Mic on Mondays | Justin Sires

    22 February 2018
    Justin Sires, Head of Europe and Co-founder of PFL Spaces, joins us for a chat as part of our Mic on Mondays series.

    PFL Spaces is a global company who design, build and service bike storage and changing room facilities for office buildings. Justin speaks to us about why their service is so important and the future of the company.

    What are the benefits of a workspace having your product or service?

    The benefits are that it increases the health of tenants and reduces absenteeism, which is a researched and qualified fact. It most definitely assists owners and developers in attracting tenants to a building and in turn, helps the tenants attract key talent.

    Why do most CEOs see your service as a priority for their business?

    Generally, it’s the CEO’s who are the ones cycling in. Some of these CEOs and key decision makers have bikes that are worth £10,000 or £15,000, so they’re probably worth more than some of the cars parked in the car park. That is why it’s really important to make sure that the space is functional, secure and working, and ultimately why it is important for buildings to make sure they have great facilities.

    Where did the idea for PFL spaces originate from?

    It was very much my own identified need; I was a cyclist riding into work 10 or so years ago. I realised there was a lack of convenient services and facilities for people that were doing the same as me and this was something that was resonating with my colleagues too. Then I thought let’s see if I can make something of this.

    Close to 10 years on, we have now expanded into multiple countries and it has proven to be the right thing to do. I think ultimately cycling is only going to increase across the globe as we have the pressures of pollution, traffic and population growth, so it’s a great place to be in.

    Have you seen an increase in the popularity of cycling in those 10 years?

    Most definitely, particularly moving to the UK and London, it’s been something that has been very evident when I’m out cycling, even as I was cycling here today. Just to see the amount of pollution and traffic that’s around and I’m most definitely seeing that increasing. At PFL Spaces we feel, and we hope, that we are making a difference to improving the health of the planet as well as the health and well-being of people.

    What is the Future of PFL spaces?

    Our future is that we are changing our name, we want to get more people on to bikes, were all about the freedom of the ride, more people enjoying that time where they get let go from their parents control and ride off into the distance. So were changing from PFL spaces to Five At Heart, which is all about that experience you had when you were five years old riding.

    We are very much expanding our offering across geographies, we are currently in Australia, US and UK. We want to expand into greater Europe and also expand the offering of products and services that we have for clients.


    The Author

    Natalie Lelliott
    02074871853
    07702975683
    Natalie.Lelliott@colliers.com
  11. Mic on Mondays | Tom Redmayne

    14 February 2018
    Our Mic on Mondays series continues with Tom Redmayne Director of Business Development for WiredScore. Tom chats to us about connectivity and the importance of wired certification in commercial real estate.

    You can read the full interview below, or view the highlights of our chat on our YouTube channel. For more episodes make sure you follow us on Instagram @Colliers_London.

    What is your service and how is it important in commercial real estate?

    We are a digital connectivity rating scheme for commercial real estate, we allow landlords and tenants to objectively benchmark how well designed and connected different office buildings are for the internet. I think we can all agree that whatever is happening in the market, digital connectivity is a fundamental driver in people’s businesses and it’s only going to become more important in years to come. In fact, many people even talk about it now being the fourth utility.

    Why is Wired Certification useful?

    Wired Certification is useful to tenants for 3 things. One is to help them understand in private what is wrong with their buildings connectivity and digital infrastructure and how they can improve it. A lot of landlords understand this is becoming increasingly important for tenants, but aren’t quite sure how to go about it. So we help them understand and review their portfolio, to prevent them becoming obsolete further down the line.

    The second thing is on the marketing side, allowing landlords to go and promote how well designed and connected their buildings are and create a clear message to the market. Not only about how well connected the building is but how much they as a landlord care about the buildings of the future.

    The third thing is the design and engineering side. When you are building a new building from scratch, ensuring that you have the right digital infrastructure to future proof it is key and you can make a lot of mistakes early on that we can help remove.

    Have you seen an increase in how important connectivity is becoming?

    Yeah absolutely, it’s not just tech business or traders that care about connectivity now, it is the life blood of everybody’s business. Whether it’s a real estate firm or law firm, everyone works on computers and it is key to everything they do on a day to day basis.

    Do you change your service for different businesses?

    Although our users are tenants, our clients are landlords. This means we have two types of service; one for occupied buildings, so buildings that are already built, and we review the telecoms and help landlords to improve it and then promote it. Then we have a separate certification that works on development, from the planning and design stage upwards, to ensure people are building the kind of platforms that people are going to want to work in not just now but also for the next 15 years.

    What is the Future of WiredScore?

    We’ve had a really exciting few years, we are an American business originally and we have now expanded into the UK, Ireland, France and Germany. We are really excited over the next 12 to 18 months to increase our international presence, a lot of tenants on the larger global scale want to have international certification that they can understand when moving countries. We also want to look at different areas and sectors to think about how we can grow our business to suit our tenants needs.


    The Author

    Natalie Lelliott
    02074871853
    07702975683
    Natalie.Lelliott@colliers.com
  12. Victoria values: growing up and staying local in SW1

    9 February 2018
    We have just completed on the acquisition a 60-person office space for a financial advisory firm based in Victoria
    Like almost every enterprise in the UK, the company was looking to balance its expansion plans with the uncertainty of Brexit. Having doubled in size in the last
    2 years, the firm had an immediate and urgent requirement for more space but wanted as much flexibility as possible around its commitment and future.

    Based in Victoria for the last 7 years, the company was keen to stay in the area, not only for the excellent transport links for its workforce and clients, but also because of the remarkable local regeneration that has taken place.

    After helping the tenant get clear on their requirements and to define their brief, we filtered through a myriad of options to shortlist suitable buildings. We eventually secured a deal on favourable terms at 84 Eccleston Square, one of London’s most prestigious locations.

    This new development from The Office Group is a radical repurposing of a regency building into a futuristic co-working space. Beyond the 7-storey grand façade, architects and designers SODA have created an unashamedly minimal and calming interior of generous ceiling heights and beautiful concrete augmented with the introduction of natural materials and plants. This gives the building sense of wellbeing that’s followed through with meditation rooms, a library, a cavernous gym and two garden terraces with views across the city.

    As part of the deal, The Office Group agreed to tailor a space to fit the needs of our client’s business by developing a self-contained office with its own kitchen and private meeting rooms.

    The SW1 postcode has really come of age recently and is now a bustling district of retail and office space that has completely transformed what was a somewhat seedy part of Central London. With the refurbishment of many old office blocks and the addition of many new commercial buildings, the streetscape is both familiar and unrecognizable at the same time. 

    But it’s the life at street level that has really made the difference with cafe culture and boutique shopping drawing people to the main thoroughfares and turning them into a destination in their own right. No longer a place to simply - and quickly - pass through, Victoria is now somewhere to linger and enjoy.

    The Office Group is a true pioneer of the shared workspace phenomenon. Since launching in 2003 with a mission to “reconfigure the modern British workplace to bring it into line with a fast-changing world”, the developer has delivered on its goal and amassed 30 buildings that house over 15,000 members from various sectors of the modern economy, from freelancers and entrepreneurs, through app makers and architects to established professionals and disruptive start-ups.

    The Author

    Mark Bott
    0207 101 2020
    07879 890 115
    Mark.Bott@colliers.com
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