Menu

BLOG

Sector
Archive
  1. November 2019

  2. Sustainability requires collaboration

    14 November 2019
    The recent Extinction Rebellion protests and the debate around the sustainability of ‘fast fashion’ have put a growing numbers of retailers in the firing line for social activists.

    H&M has a long track record of integrating ethics into its business notably with its ‘Conscious Collection’ line of clothing and also through its sustainable supply chain strategy. But during London Fashion Week one of its stores in the capital was the venue for a ‘Boycott Fashion’ protest.

    The irony - and perhaps inappropriateness - of this was further emphasised shortly afterwards when H&M announced the launch of a new clothing rental service aimed at making premium items available at an affordable price and extending the use and lifecycle of garments.

    H&M isn’t the first retailer to announce this sort of initiative - Banana Republic, Urban Outfitters, Scotch and Soda and Ann Taylor Loft have all launched subscription rental services this year -  but the negativity that the company is facing from the anti-fashion lobby has left its CEO, Karl-Johan Persson, exasperated. In an interview with Bloomberg, he warned that curtailing fashion retailing “may lead to a small environmental impact, but it will have terrible social consequences”. Perhaps not surprisingly, this only enraged his opponents further.

    Britons buy more clothing than any other European country, and its estimated that £2.7bn is spent fashion that they only wear once so it’s not surprising that retailing is increasingly under scrutiny. And, of course, property has a similar challenge: the built environment is responsible for almost half of all carbon emissions in the UK.

    So where property and retailing come together in the form shops it’s clear that we can make a difference in terms of how those spaces are created and operated. In London, major landlords such as Grosvenor, Shaftesbury and The Crown Estate are leading the way in this respect and retailers are responding to their lead.

    In this context, it’s perhaps not surprising that streetwear brand Napapijri felt that Shaftesbury’s Carnaby Street was the right setting for its first London store. The brand recently launched ‘Infinity’: a 100% recyclable jacket that’s been made using recycled fishing nets and which you can ‘trade in’ after two years of use.

    Given changing attitudes in society there is tremendous opportunities for retail and property to collaborate on sustainable responses to what shoppers demand. Hopefully, this week’s MAPIC retail property exhibition will generate many ideas which can support this process.


    The Author
    Paul Souber - Colliers London
    Paul Souber
    Head of Retail Agency - London

    020 7344 6870

    paul.souber@colliers.com

  3. Colliers Retail Agency Central London

    Trying something new

    5 November 2019
    Josh Leon looks at whether big groups with under-performing sites should think about partnerships to unlock profits.

    I went to a seminar organised by investment bank, Citi, recently that looked at investment trends in the F&B sector and inevitably in that environment and in the current climate, the conversation came up about big chains versus innovative independents - the latter increasingly outperforming the former.

    In this context, it was great to have Billy Hookway from JKS and White Rabbit founder, Chris Miller, on the panel as, while very different, they share the same aim of achieving scale through repeated diversification rather than the more familiar tactic of simple replication. Both have finance or private equity expertise as a core part of the business but both are operators. Imbiba is another London-based investor/operator with multiple small brands under its banner. Perhaps this model could act as inspiration for some of the big chains which have the sites and the resources but seem to have run out of ideas - and customers.

    It's undoubtedly more difficult to consistently come up with new ideas than it is to oversee a brand ‘roll-out’. However, if a business opens its door to new creative talent and sets itself up as investor as well as operator there is potentially an unlimited pool of ideas from which to choose.

    It's certainly more in line with what customers want. Although restaurant groups have traditionally grown through faithful replication, the trend for some time has been for unique experiences.  And that’s ultimately why we’ve seen so many of the big brands fail recently.

    Of course, there will always be room for a limited number of brands that can sustain ubiquity and be controlled at board level with a competent operational management firmly in place. But we’ve now seen that - outside the fast food and coffee sectors - that approach is increasingly unsustainable.

    The independent sector, as ever, is where the innovation is, and that is what the customer wants.   The recent explosion of street food halls and similar formats are clear evidence of this- a response to demands for choice, quality and an experience- a reaction against boringness. 

    So how can big institutional money tackle this challenge? While a board of accountants may be able to oversee a process of faithful replication,  growing a group while continuing to innovate is a completely different game and one you only get to play if you have the operational and creative expertise generally only found in the independent sector.

    In London, for example, there are still numerous sites held by the big restaurant and pub groups that are considered ‘prime’ yet massively underperform in relative terms. This is to the detriment of customers, landlords and to the institutional owners of these businesses. Maybe it’s time for those groups to switch from ‘Operator Mode’ to ‘Investor Mode’ in certain cases. Instead of coasting along or selling the asset at a loss, perhaps they should first try partnering with an independent operator with proven success, who may hold the key to big profits but doesn’t have the funds for a big premium or the required capex.

    In this scenario, everybody can win including landlords who retain the covenant strength of the ultimate owner of the asset.  In due course, these owners may find themselves with a stable of small, agile and innovative partners to invest in and work with, providing sites, staff, and capex and taking a share of the upside.  Deciding who to partner with is clearly the main consideration but if in doubt advice can be sought from people who know the sector intimately and have a firm grasp of the market.

    Ultimately, as the trend increasingly veers towards independent talent, maybe that’s how the big money invested in the sector can ultimately get in on the action.


  4. October 2019

  5. Right here, right now: plug’n’play space for immediate rental in Hatton Garden

    28 October 2019
    This third floor office space comprises 535ft2 and is a complete plug’n’play solution, supplied with a stylish contingent of complementing furniture and fittings including 8 fully cabled workstations, black mesh chairs, metal-framed room divider glass shelves, sleek LED lightboxes and comfort cooling units in anthracite. A sleek minimalist kitchen in gloss white with plenty of cupboard space blends into the white décor and a parquet wooden floor runs throughout the workspace.
    The building has a striking and classically-influenced exterior stone façade along with refurbished common parts featuring a beautifully restored original mosaic floor, which combine to create a sense of occasion and arrival. Additional facilities include refurbished WCs and a passenger lift.

    Two units at 6-7 Hatton Garden are occupied by the meeting room provider Breather who chose the building as one its London locations offering workspace and meeting room facilities at hourly and daily rates – perfect for an onsite solution if you’d like the facility to host larger meetings or events without a long-term commitment to more space.

    Hatton Garden has deep roots as a jewellery district and still retains a number of high end showrooms that keep its heritage alive. More recently an influx of design and media occupiers has given new energy to the street scene, creating a lively creative corridor between Holborn and Clerkenwell Road and home to the place-making Johnson Building by Derwent London.

    The location is just moments from the daily street food market on Leather Lane, the next street over to the west, and a firm favourite on the local lunchtime scene, while the rest of the immediate vicinity is packed with places from breakfast to bedtime and beyond.

    With the entrance to Chancery Lane Underground station (Central Line) at it’s southern tip, Hatton Garden is also just a few minutes walk from Farringdon station where Thameslink and three Underground lines are set to be joined by the new Elizabeth Line. This will create a pivotal Central London interchange and the only place where Thameslink and Crossrail intersect, as well as and the only station in the capital with direct trains to both Gatwick and Heathrow Airports.


    The Author
  6. Highly bright: 5-metre ceilings and wraparound glass at street level office

    25 October 2019
    Connecting Old Street roundabout to Angel, City Road has undergone a monumental transformation in the last few years, from a simple gateway to the City into an architectural corridor of residential and commercial towers.
    One of the most eye-catching is the 24-storey Canaletto building at number 259, designed by the renowned architectural practice UN Studio and a confident break from the norm with its curved cladding snaking around the exterior to create an arresting sight.

    The ground and lower ground floors are home to 6,850ft2 of B1 office office space in a single, self-contained unit that includes an extensive street frontage of full height windows that wrap around the entire external elevation and offer remarkable and highly visible prospects for branding. Inside, ground floor ceiling heights up to 5.3 metres allow the floor area to be increased and further dramatised with the installation of one or multiple mezzanines, while even the lower ground floor has a height of 3 metres.

    Sold in shell and core condition, the space features chunky concrete pillars around its perimeter allowing for an almost uninterrupted open plan floor plate, giving an ingoing business the freedom to create at will the space that fits its operation.

    259 City Road sits at the corner of Wharf Road, home to the Shoreditch location of Victoria Miro gallery and the approach road to the nearby Wenlock Basin and Regent’s Canal. The presence of so many galleries in the adjacent streets adds an artistic tone to the pervading creative buzz from the Tech City scene and proximity to Silicon Roundabout.

    Teeming with start-ups, fashion brands, architect firms, media and advertising companies, 
    Hoxton and Shoreditch are now home to some of the globe’s most recognisable brands. As well as a local abundance of Victorian warehouses and workhouses, the neighbourhood has entered a new era through an influx of world-class architecture, offering some of the best contemporary workspace in London, such as 259 City Road.

    The office space is available as a virtual freehold and we are quoting offers in excess of £4,250,000, equating to £620 per ft2. 






    The Author
  7. Rising above it

    1 October 2019
    On the face of it, the London office occupier market seems to be relatively unphased by the political chaos that prevails in Westminster.

    Demand appears stable, evidenced by above average take-up levels and reinforced by a summer of deal brokering, which saw more than 2m sq ft leased in July and August.

    Given that London is experiencing a major shortage of quality new office stock, naysayers might conclude that vacancy is only falling because of constraints on new supply. So is there any hard evidence to show that demand is not only holding up, but going from strength to strength?

    Financial services demand appears to surging but off a lower base than other sectors. The sector has accounted for 33% of demand in the year-to-date, compared to just 13% in the equivalent period in 2018. Much of this demand is like-for-like churn, with occupiers at best mirroring future space takes with current real estate obligations. Nevertheless, space is still being absorbed and not all of it is Grade A product.

    But the real dynamo in the London economy remains the Media & Tech sector. During the past 12 months, the sector has seen its strongest net growth in the past 15 years.  

    The trendiest locations for tech occupiers - Shoreditch, Farringdon and Clerkenwell - are now at record pricing levels for City Fringe submarket. And even where tech occupiers have gone further afield, big lettings to BT, Sony, Google and Facebook have further taken up any potential slack.

    London Media & Tech occupation grew 8% year-on-year, and we’re seeing new tech clusters emerge within large-scale developments such as Battersea Power Station (Apple) and White City (Publicis).

    The message is clear, London’s occupier market remains in rude health, despite the continuing structural, political and technological changes that are ongoing. Even the Square Mile is benefitting from the positive vibes. Media & Tech occupation in the Square Mile has raced ahead of the City Fringe markets this year - surging to more than 5m sq ft for the first time.

    The Author
    Guy Grantham
    Director | Offices research

    +44 20 7344 6793

    +44 779 596 3710

    Guy.Grantham@colliers.com

  8. September 2019

  9. Selling cinema

    19 September 2019
    Last week’s news that Selfridges is planning to open a cinema in its Oxford Street store is a further sign of the renaissance of London’s silver screens.

    Nationally, cinema attendance levels have hit a 40-year high while in the capital one of its iconic cinemas – the Odeon Leicester Square – has recently re-opened after a multi-million pound refurbishment. Confidence in the sector is high and there’s good reasons why.

    Many decades ago cinema was credited as having ‘killed off the music hall’, and its own slow demise was predicted in the face of first, television, and then digital downloads. Ironically, it is TV which is now arguably being more impacted by online entertainment although Netflix – which is supposed to bring the cinema into your front room - continues to haemorrhage money while the cinema chains count the takings.

    The ability to ‘deliver an experience’ is the key to cinema’s resilience as a leisure pursuit. What the new Selfridges screen and the refitted Odeon have in common is that they want to offer an enhanced customer experience.

    The Selfridges project is a joint venture with the people behind The Olympic cinema in Barnes. A quick perusal of its description of how the former recording studios were turned into a cinema (‘We went to Norway to find the comfiest reclining seats and then wrapped them in snuggly wool felt’) tells you about their approach.

    And there’s a symmetry about a retailer branching out into cinema as both sectors know they have to provide an experience-led offer if they are to thrive. In this respect they are both complementary and aligned.

    This ‘premium-isation’ of cinemas has started in the boutique end of the sector but it will inevitably spread to the multiplexes. Operators are striving to make sure that the cinema experience continues to beat watching a film in your living room.

    After all, no matter how big your TV is, it’s no match for the silver screen.


    The Author
    ROSS KIRTON
    Head of UK Leisure Agency

    +44 20 7487 1615

    Ross.Kirton@colliers.com

  10. Muted tones throw art deco shade at a revamped 1920s icon

    13 September 2019
    Despite its prominent position at a busy Clerkenwell intersection, it’s perfectly possible to miss the art deco glory of 91-93 Farringdon Road that sits above the street level showroom space. But look up and you’ll find a strong façade of grey stone under a tiled mansard wrapping around the junction of Clerkenwell Road and Farringdon Road, showing clear similarities with the Faraday Building telephone exchange on Queen Victoria Street in the City, and even the former home of the BBC World Service at Bush House on Aldwych.
    Known as The Corner Building, this striking slice of 1920s London is in a process of refurbishment including the main lobby, communal areas and a selection of offices. Currently available are three units between 2,200 ft2 and 2,600ft2 on the 1st, 3rd and 6th floors.

    Inside, the offices feature huge multi-pane sash windows that fill the spaces with natural light and act as a constant reminder of the building’s heritage, while the new specification brings things thoroughly up-to-date with exposed overhead services and air conditioning in galvanised channels; powder- coated LED lightboxes; raised metal tile floors and a décor palette of bright white walls and anthracite woodwork.

    The communal areas are also undergoing a refurbishment that uses a classic art deco pallet of colours and materials given a contemporary application. The main lobby features open tread steel staircases with glazed mezzanines; dual glazed doors to elevators; a reception desktop and building directory in grey marble, and suspended pendant lighting and wall motifs in brass. The confluence of styles and their treatment continues to the WC facilities where white fittings with black taps and accessories are met with green tea coloured ceramic tiles below pale pink paintwork. 

    Further amenities within the building include fibre optic cabling, secure cycle storage, WC and shower facilities and an onsite commissionaire.

    With a location at one of Clerkenwell’s most vital junctions, the building straddles the Farringdon/Clerkenwell border and is surrounded by the very best of both with Hatton Garden, Cowcross Street, the daily street food market at Leather Lane and the pedestrian café and bar scene of Exmouth Market all within a few minutes walk.

    Almost directly across the the street is Farringdon station, already well connected with its Thameslink and Underground services and soon to become a major London interchange with the arrival on the Elizabeth Line. 

    We are quoting an initial rent of £72.50 per ft2 for each office with occupation set for mid-September.

  11. Media-style office in Clerkenwell’s showroom district

    11 September 2019
    Having undergone a refurbishment and now available for occupation, this 4th-floor office sits at the top of a former industrial building in a prime Clerkenwell position.
    Measuring 1464ft2, the top floor space has high ceilings that reach up into the roof apex with exposed timber and steel joists that radiate plenty of loft character. It’s an authentic warehouse feel that continues with the beautiful original factory windows to the front, offset with double-glazed matching replacements to the rest of the space. Other renovation works include refurbishing the kitchenette and demised WC, along with repainting the original floorboards.

    The office has a partial fit-out that includes suspended lighting, grit-blasted brickwork, exposed air-conditioning units, galvanized conduit running overhead, super-fast fibre connectivity and a sleek glass-walled meeting room. 

    Set in Clerkenwell’s showroom district among occupiers including Vitra, Boss and Ocee, Great Sutton Street has amassed a comprehensive collection of art galleries and design stores that deliver a laidback and creative vibe. Running parallel to – and just north of – Clerkenwell Road, the street is also home to one of the neighbourhood’s best pubs, The Slaughtered Lamb.

    In fact, Clerkenwell is somewhat legendary for its vast offering of places to eat and drink, from an early morning coffee to late night cocktails and everything in between: it’s part of what makes it so easy for businesses to attract the very best talent in London. Within walking distance of Great Sutton Street are two particular local favourites: the daily street food market at Whitecross Street, and the recently created gastro-boulevard at The Bower.

    Nearby Old Street Roundabout is currently undergoing a major transformation and, in 2020, will open as a contemporary public piazza by closing off the north-west entrance to City Road. This latest piece of public realm will include new pedestrian crossings, dedicated cycle lanes and lots of seating.

    Transport connections are excellent with Farringdon, Barbican and Old Street stations all within a short walk and offering between them Underground, National Rail and Thameslink services. Old Street station is being refurbishment as part of the improvements to the roundabout above and, when the first phase of Crossrail completes, Farringdon will become a major Central London interchange with fast trains to Canary Wharf, Heathrow Airport and deeper into Kent, Essex and Berkshire. 

    The office is being marketed at a rent of £49.50 per ft2. If you would like to see whether this could be the next home for your business, please do get in touch.

    The Author
  12. Recently arrived at Kings Cross: newly refurbished 1,645 ft² office

    9 September 2019
    One of the most outstanding features of the Kings Cross office market is the continual demand for space and commensurate dearth of supply. It is quite possibly the most difficult part of London's creative quarter for a business to secure a workspace, meaning whenever something comes along it has an eager and waiting audience.
    At 223 Pentonville Road N1, about halfway between Kings Cross and Angel stations in a building of red brick and black steel, we are marketing a newly refurbished office floor of around 1,645 ft² with its own private roof terrace.

    Inside, the completely open floor plate is filled with natural light from large windows spanning two full elevations. Finishes include bright white decor with contrasting grey woodwork, recessed air conditioning, perimeter cable trunking and twin lifts opening directly into the space. 

    223 Pentonville Road is well set up as a contemporary workplace with facilities including an on-site commissionaire, 2 x 8 person passenger lifts, cycle storage and communal shower and WC facilities.

    Outside, the spacious and private terrace measures circa 470 ft² and has timber decking and exterior lighting. The view sweeps across Central London from the City to the West End and takes in many of the capital's architectural icons including The Gherkin, Barbican, Shard, BT Tower and St Pancras International.

    As well as a place of work, the local street scene is now a vibrant London destination with cafes, shops and galleries repurposed from fomer railway buildings and strung along the Regent's Canal including Granary Square, Kings Cross Place and Coal Drops Yard. Or, for one of London's most established and successful High Streets, wander east into bustling Islington.

    As a major gateway to London, Kings Cross is incredibly well served by national & international rail, underground and bus. With direct services to Heathrow, Gatwick and Luton Airports; Intercity trains to the Midlands, North England and Scotland; Eurostar to Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam; 7 Underground lines and over 20 bus routes, nowhere in the capital is better connected.

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


    The Author
  13. Limited supply: two floors under offer and four to go at The Stock House

    5 September 2019
    Originally built between 1914 - 1916 as a Clerkenwell warehouse believed to store London stock bricks, numbers 17-18 Britton Street EC1 have now undergone a 2019 refurbishment under the direction of ORMS Architects.
    Deeply rooted in Clerkenwell's heritage, Britton Street's history dates back to the early 1700s when it was known as Red Lion Street after the local pub. In  1937 the street was renamed after the antiquary John Britton who, bringing the story full circle, was an apprentice at The Red Lion, which by then was called The Jerusalem Tavern.

    With a name and materials that honour the building's original use, The Stock House had been given a new streetside elevation of handmade clay bricks made in Denmark at the Peterson Tegl brickworks. A grid of large oak-framed floor-to-ceiling windows with contemporary concrete lintls competes the transformation into a 21st century facade.

    Inside, the building totals 13,326ft² of considered and crafted workspace where the top two storeys are already under offer. That leaves four floors available: the lower ground, ground, first and second - making approximately 8,400ft² to be taken as a whole or individually. 

    The ground and lower ground floors form a single self-contained unit of 5,285ft², with a private entrance on Britton Street and and a feature helical staircase connecting the two levels. The remaining offices are accessed through the main building entrance with the first floor unit measuring 3,200ft², and the second floor 1,830ft² with an additional 1,300ft² private terrace.

    The Stock House welcomes occupiers and visitors to its lift lobby and hall with teal coloured walls, brass detailing and hardwood parquet floors. Inside the offices a high-quality Cat A specification and modern-industrial aesthetic prevails with concrete soffits and exposed overhead services including air-conditioning ducts and suspended LED lightboxes in rectangular and circular forms.

    The design continues to the WCs where a white Corian combines with black taps and Staffordshire Blue floor bricks,  while the building's contemporary workplace credentials continue with unisex showers and 20 covered cycle spaces.

    Clerkenwell really needs no introduction add the centre and vanguard of London's creative quarter, with neighbours of The Stock House including Linkedin, Vitra, Zaha Hadid,  Grey London and Publicis Groupe. The local scene of cafes, bars, restaurants and retail is one of the best in the capital and soon, the already-acknowledged connectivity of Farringdon station is set for the the arrival of Crossrail,  create a major London interchange with unique city connections.

    The Author
  14. Load more