1. June 2019

  2. One down and one coming up

    17 June 2019
    We recently completed the letting of 2,500ft2 of stunning warehouse offices in Clerkenwell to the award-winning visual effects studio nineteentwenty.
    The Grade II listed 109-111 Farringdon Road was designed in the mid 19th century by the famed architect Henry Jarvis with his signature facade of striking red brickwork and arching gothic windows. Jarvis was recognised at the time by the Royal Institute of Architects and today has a lecture hall named after him at RIBA's HQ in Portland Place. 

    However, that classic exterior belies what waits within and it's contemporary design all the way from the moment you step inside. Artistic back-lit geometric panels line the walls of the lobby whose renovated cast iron columns reach up from a polished concrete floor; it's a blend of old and new that sets the tone for what's to come.

    Up on the first floor, nineteentwenty's new home has been cleverly crafted by filling in a former lightwell; an inspired move that has opened, expanded and illuminated the space. The aesthetic is ruggedly sleek and metropolitan with blasted concrete, white plaster, exposed bricks and high ceilings. Natural daylight pours in through big windows and the building has super-fast connectivity via fibre cables laid beneath white-stained, reclaimed wood flooring. Nineteentwenty can also look forward to their own demised terrace for socialising, relaxing and creative mindwork.

    Nineteentwenty was  established in 2013 by visual effects supervisors Ludo Fealy & Chrys Aldred, and producer Scott Griffin. The company works with agencies and major brands in film, TV and advertising and is adding a City Fringe office to its existing Bristol location.

    Packed with some of the best eating and drinking in London, Clerkenwell's ascendancy continues unabated, in no small measure because of its transport links. Currently served by Thameslink and three underground lines, Farringdon station and will be a pivotal interchange on the Elizabeth Line between Canary Wharf and Heathrow Airport.  

    109-111 Farringdon Road is an exceptionally high quality building from the Satila Stuidos stable and, in case you've been experiencing feelings of envy or missing out, we'll be offering an equally stunning 2,500ft2 on the 2nd floor in July - again with its own roof terrace. Please contact us if you'd like to be informed when the unit is ready to view.

  3. Midtown hideaway: self-contained office building on historic passage

    11 June 2019
    We are marketing a newly refurbished and self-contained Victorian office building set in a network of pedestrian walks between High Holborn and Theobalds Road close to Grays Inn Square.
    Extending to a total of 3,240 ft2, the building has a striking red brick and stone exterior and is arranged over lower ground to third floors: 824 ft2 on the lower ground, 750 ft2 on the ground, and the remaining 1,870 ft2 divided roughly equally across the first, second and third floors.

    Inside, the refurbishment works have concentrated on retaining the period flavour of the building where possible and adding a contemporary aesthetic and specification to create bright open workspaces on each floor.

    Cast iron fireplaces and renovated and high ceilings have been paired with a modern specification including oak engineered floors, air conditioning and recessed downlighting to create sleek and characterful work spaces.

    The kitchenette is a lesson in minimalism: tucked behind a corner, its dark grey cupboard fronts fold back to reveal wall shelves, a sink and worktop, under which are a hidden dishwasher and fridge. The WCs meanwhile are designed in modern classic fashion with deep green glossy metro tiles, Victorian-style porcelainware, checkerboard floors and a mix of contemporary and period pipework and taps.

    With its Victorian era street lamps and handsome period buildings, Warwick Court is an atmospheric and unusual mid-town location, well placed for a wander into the City, City Fringe and West End. Also nearby are three stations: Chancery Lane (Central Line - 3 minutes walk); Holborn (Central & Piccadilly Lines - 5 minutes walk) and Farringdon station (Thameslink, Metropolitan, Circle and Hammersmith & City Lines and an upcoming stop on the Elizabeth Line - 10 minutes walk).

    High Holborn has become a lively shopping street and is lined with food and drink options from quick bites to longer stays, while Leather Lane’s daily street food market is just 8 minutes walk. Two of London’s more secret public gardens are also close by, with Lincolns Inn Fields and Red Lion Square both pleasant places to sit for lunchtime in the summer.

  4. Colliers launches Brand Representation consultancy as retailers continue to target London

    10 June 2019
    Retailers undeterred by Brexit uncertainty and are competing for the best stores across the capital
    Colliers International’s Central London Retail team has created a dedicated Brand Representation team in response to the growing numbers of retailers who want a presence in London.

    Research from the firm shows that 17% more international brands have opened new stores in London since the EU referendum than they did in the two years preceding the vote.

    The new Brand Representation team will be led by Peter Flint and Rob Hargreaves, who together will provide bespoke acquisition services across London and also advise on how brands can control their property costs.

    Peter Flint of London Brand Representation at Colliers International comments: “London is a complex retail market and it is essential that brands – whether they are making their debut in the capital or expanding – get their strategy right.

    “Brands are coming to us for advice because of the dual perspectives we have from advising brands such as Uniqlo, Inditex, LVMH, Jigsaw, Sweaty Betty, Laderach, and ECCO, as well as many of London’s major landlords. Understanding both sides of the equation is vital.”

    Rob Hargreaves comments: “It’s an exciting time for London retail and it’s clear that brands are not being deterred from entering the market by continued Brexit uncertainty. The capital is still seen as one of world’s premier retail destinations by shoppers and retailers alike, despite the wider political and economic uncertainty.

    “This dedicated Central London Brand Representation team ensures Colliers is better placed than ever to provide occupiers with unrivalled acquisition and portfolio strategy advice across the capital.”
  5. Letting completed to major independent London publishing house

    10 June 2019
    We have just completing the letting of the 2nd and 3rd floors at 29 Cloth Fair in Clerkenwell to a multi-award-winning non-fiction publisher.
    Profile Books is an illustrious name in the literary world. The company was founded on April 1st 1996 and has gone on to publish multiple best-selling non-fiction works in a variety of genres including history, economics and science. Working with best-selling authors like Alan Bennett, Mary Beard and Simon Garfield, Profile Books has been named Independent Publisher of the Year 3 years in a row, as well as the ‘Publicity Campaign of the Year’ at the British Book Awards. The company is relocating from its exiting offices in Holford Street in Islington, just behind the Sadler’s Wells Theatre.

    Their new Clerkenwell offices are a pair of stunning, newly refurbished floors totaling 5,621ft with 3-metre high ceilings and superb natural daylight from windows spanning every elevation. The specification is sharp and understated with high quality wood floors, new air conditioning, exposed overhead ducting, and a smart décor of white walls and dark grey woodwork that is replicated in a sleek contemporary kitchen.

    The building occupies a historic position between Smithfield and Barbican. In medieval times, merchants gathered on Cloth Fair to buy and sell material during the Bartholomew Fair. The street was also once the home of the English poet John Betjeman and today contains the oldest residential dwelling in London.

  6. Flexible, fitted and ready-to-go

    6 June 2019
    161 Rosebery Avenue is a former Victorian warehouse in a tranquil corner of London’s creative quarter, at the point where Clerkenwell, Angel and Kings Cross converge and where stunning Georgian townhouses line the streets. Centred around the busy, social and commercial passage of Exmouth Market, there’s a something of a village atmosphere to this unique location.
    Here we are marketing ground floor office space of 1,060ft2, fully fitted and furnished for instant occupation including 12 desks, meeting room table and a client welcoming area: perfect for a creative business seeking to minimise the time spent move in, and more on getting on with business. 

    The modern aesthetic includes engineered oak floors, clean white walls and lots of natural daylight through floor-to-ceiling crittal-style windows that continued in the meeting room to continue the spatial flow. A kitchenette with integrated appliances, high-speed fibre internet, perimeter mounted air conditioning and full cabling throughout are all part of the package. The building also has excellent amenities including cycle racks, 24/7 access and a communal courtyard for occupants to enjoy, convene and collaborate. 

    Occupying the triangle formed by Roseberry Avenue, Hardwick Street and Garnault Mews, New River Yard is just moments from Exmouth Market’s rich supply of cafes, bars and gastropubs for coffees, lunches, informal meetings or winding down after work. With Islington’s Upper Street also within walking distance with its diverse mix of retail outlets and restaurants, all underlining the area’s vibrant and continually evolving nature.

    Conveniently placed for public transport, New River Yard is within easy reach of Kings Cross, St Pancras International, Angel and Farringdon Stations that, between them have tubes and trains in every direction both nationally and to the continent. Even greater things are on the horizon when Phase One of Crossrail brings the Elizabeth Line to Farringdon, putting Clerkenwell on a direct route between Heathrow Airport and Canary Wharf.

    The office space available on a flexible 18-month lease at a fixed rate that includes rent, service charge, building insurance, business rates, facilities management and commissionaire. Please get in touch if you would like to view.

    The Author
  7. Flexible terms at Central Shoreditch office space

    3 June 2019
    While the demand for flexible occupancy continues apace, there is a further desire among tenants for workspace that sits between the expense of serviced offices and the long term liability of a conventional lease. It’s a strong consideration for any disruptive or start-up business with a changeable growth trajectory or a simple desire to remain agile.
    One solution is to sublet a space from a vacating occupier towards the end of their term, which is precisely the offering at 44-46 Scrutton Street in Shoreditch. Here we are marketing a 1,991ft2 office with a flexible length of term from 12 months to a maximum end date of March 2020: the perfect Shoreditch office space for a business seeking a city fringe location coupled with short-term obligations.

    On the first floor of a former Victorian warehouse building, the unit has all the accoutrements required for Shoreditch office space. A shell of exposed brickwork, big sash windows and black-stained floorboards is met with a specification including perimeter trunking, air conditioning, suspended lighting, overhead galvanised channels, an in-situ kitchenette, meeting area and demised male & female WCs. All tenants have use of the building’s communal courtyard.

    Just south of the Shoreditch Triangle, Scrutton Street is well placed for enjoying everything that Shoreditch has to offer, from cafes and clubs to bars and boutiques, all surrounded by – and part of – the extraordinary buzz that comes from the centre of London’s creative community. 

    Connectivity is excellent, with no less than four stations within walking distance: Shoreditch High Street (Overground), Moorgate (Hammersmith & City Line, Metropolitan Line & Northern Line), Old Street (Northern Line and National rail) and Liverpool Street (National Rail, Stansted Express, Central, Circle and Hammersmith & City Lines).

    With a position straddling the border of Shoreditch and the City, Scrutton Street is perfect Fintech territory at the place where the design, fashion, media and technology crowd meets the financial centre of London.

    We are quoting a rent of £59.50 per sq ft for the office and all enquiries should be directed to:

    The Author
  8. May 2019

  9. Making the grade: is Cat A+ here to stay? Will CAT A+ plug the gap?

    31 May 2019
    The rise of serviced offices in London has created a subject for landlords to debate recently. In recent times some landlords have implemented pre designed offices with full fit outs including the necessary cabling works enabling a fully operational ‘turnkey office’ for a tenant to move into from day 1. This has become known as a ‘Cat A+’ delivery.
    Finishing a space to Cat A+  has been found to have its benefits, helping tenants to visualise the end product  rather than an empty floor possibly in a shell condition.
    Certainly when comparing a vibrant serviced office full of life to a blank canvas conventional office floor it can be more difficult to imagine the finished product. The Cat A+ strategy has been implemented to stem the tide of tenants eschewing the hefty upfront fit-out costs and deposits of conventional leases in favour of the new wave of hi-tech serviced offices now flooding the market. Serviced offices certainly solve a short-term problem with no initial Capital Expenditure required, but it’s a silver lining with a heavy cloud: all those events, wellness rooms and on-site cafes make a beguiling offer, but they come at a price – sometimes three times the rent of a conventional lease and reviewed on an annual basis. So once a firm grows up, has money in the bank and needs more space, their eyes begin to turn to their ongoing monthly outgoings.

    This proved the case at 25 Watling Street where all but one of the floors were let in a Cat A condition, but where the final unit was proving rather stubborn. With a contractor already on site the landlord elected to build a Cat A+ fit-out and, low and behold, a tenant was found less than 4 weeks from completion of the works. 

    Cat A+ bridges the gap between the time and cost of employing contractors, and the higher monthly outgoings of a hip co-working space, but the current model has predominately only been tested on the sub 5,000 sq ft market. In most cases a universal layout including meeting rooms, breakout area, kitchen with a breakout area can be used as a template. But as organisations expand, they develop very singular needs for their working environments which are impossible to second guess and may require additional capital to design and build which creates risk to a landlord indicatively delivering these works with no certainty it will secure a tenant. 

    The problem of speculative Cat A+ fit-outs is the shifting of immediate financial outlay to landlords with no certainty of timeframe or success in securing a tenant. It leaves many feeling understandably uneasy and it’s not a burden we expect landlords to embrace any more than is strictly necessary, and most definitely not indefinitely.

    So is there another way? We think there might be.

    Should Cat A+ build a proven track record, which may take several years to reassure landlords, will we see landlords attempt to speculatively deliver fit outs alongside a comprehensive refurbishment or even newly developed/ redeveloped scheme? As was the case with 25 Watling St aligning works whilst contractors are onsite certainly saves cost. Should Cat A+ case studies continue to support the claim that they can minimalism void periods for a deal package equal if not greater than the blank canvas model we expect this will be a strategy some landlords simply cannot ignore. 


  10. Welcoming Wellness: the City Corporation’s vision for London in 2036

    30 May 2019
    Last month City of London Corporation held presentation to set out its City Plan for 2036.
    Hosted by a panel from the Corporation the event was attended by representatives from the city's commercial property market.
    They presented a future strategy for the City of London with the main focus being the creation of a safe and secure city that promotes health and inclusivity. Along with improving air quality and expanding the amount of public realm through pedestrianised areas and green spaces, there is a focus on turning the City into a 7-day shopping and cultural destination through extra retail space, hotels and the introduction of a managed night time economy.    

    The corporation held a long public consultation exercise but were disappointed with the level of response from commercial occupiers in contrast to the high level of engagement from the city’s local residents. This may or may not shift the influence in the future of the city in favour of the relatively small number of people living there, but it certainly leaves the Corporation having to somewhat second guess the desires of existing commercial occupiers. That seems a shame given that businesses will undoubtedly be significantly affected such large-scale changes.

    More concerning was the lack of any concrete plan or ability to initiate any of the City Vision. With business rates going straight to the Government, the Corporation conceded that little existed in the way of funding to either begin any projects or to induce anyone else to do so. Rather, they are looking for the right schemes to be put forward by developers. 

    From Colliers’ perspective it’s encouraging to see so much priority given to making the daily lives of occupiers easier, but the City Plan cannot really be seen as more than a potential blueprint for what may or may not materialise.  

    Public realm is a particularly complex area. While the public consultation showed strong support for urban greening and open space, it came with concerns about its feasibility and viability. With developers necessarily looking at their bottom line, incorporating less rentable space into their schemes while maximising their return is a tough call. The wellness pitch that garners premium rents is usually associated with private roof terraces, lounge areas, cafes and fitness facilities, but it’s questionable whether occupiers would pay more to simply have a publicly-accessible space next to their building.

    Perhaps the City of London is relying on the sheer will and desire of developers to invest and construct in the Square Mile to drive the creativity and innovation required to deliver buildings that will, quite literally, need to appeal to everyone. 

  11. From courtroom to showroom

    30 May 2019
    Following on from letting the upper floors of Old Sessions House to Ennismore, the parent company of Hoxton Hotel, we have now let c. 5,000ft2 on the ground floor to the luxury Italian bathroom brand Gessi.
    Originally built as a courthouse in 1779, Old Sessions House has a long, storied and indeed motley history including a literary mention as the place where Oliver Twist was tried for the pickpocketing work of his friend The Artful Dodger. Given a Grade II Listing in 1985, the building is now being sensitively restored and refurbished by Sätila Studios to deliver a remarkable new location for modern businesses.

    Occupying the former prison cells, the ground floor space is truly one-of-a-kind and is a radical departure from the normal showroom environment: the flagstone floors, rustic brickwork and vaulted ceilings are a unique setting for Gessi to showcase its product range. The unit also includes external terrace areas totalling c. 1,900ft2 which will accompany their internal bespoke café. 

    Gessi began life as a small workshop in 1992 and has since grown into a highly aspirational and respected name in the high end bathroom industry. Today, the company operates from an international headquarters and production centre about 100km from Milan in a purpose-built 800,000m2 industrial park.

  12. London office occupiers facing space squeeze

    28 May 2019
    A 20-year record low for speculative space is leaving London with a seriously-eroded development pipeline of just 1m sq ft – enough to satisfy less than three months of demand at current levels.
    Supply of new development space is almost at a standstill and, while 2020 will see new product delivered, the intervening shortage will continue to provide occupier motivation for securing pre-lets. Speculative development levels are at their lowest in almost two decades and overall availability remains 15% below the 10-year average.

    We’re now anticipating a supply/demand imbalance in the second half of this year with downward pressure on incentive packages preparing the ground for future rental rises.

    This scarcity of good quality space is impacting take-up which dipped to an 18-month low in the first quarter of this year. However, the prevailing strength of demand is reflected in the fact that – even in the face of these conditions – the Q1 transaction levels were only 10% below the 10-year average.

    There is currently over 4m sq ft of space under offer across London as a whole and in Q1 more than 36 individual deals were negotiated for units in excess of 20,000 sq ft.

    Not surprisingly, prelets are increasingly prevalent in the London office market: more than 1m sq ft of space is under offer on a pre-let basis, while an additional 300,000 sq ft of new and refurbished space is also in solicitors’ hands.
    The Author
    Paul Smith
    Director and Co-Head



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