A full house at The Smithson1 August 2019With the letting of the ground and lower ground floors at The Smithson in the centre of Clerkenwell, this glamorous and really striking contemporary building in the centre of London's creative district is now fully occupied.The final let brings to a close story that is taken two years from start to finish involving collaborations with the developer and architect to deliver a truly remarkable building whose stepped terraces creates an instantly recognisable new element in the Clerkenwell skyline.The ground and lower ground floors have been let to Airsorted, the digital concierge service providing full management of short-term lettings to Airbnb hosts to free them from the day-to-day obligations of check-ins, check-outs, cleaning and laundry. Airsorted was established on Boxing Day in 2014 from the flat of founder James Jenkins-Yates and is now the world's largest Airbnb management business.The award-winning design practice Peldon Rose was appointed to create the interior fit out and delivered a truly great workspace for Airsorted who are established EC1 occupiers and are relocating to The Smithson from their former offices on nearby Goswell Road.Developed by Savills IM, The Smithson's location at 14 St John Square gives it one of the most atmospheric and historic positions in the City Fringe, with cobblestone paving and the mediaeval St John's Tower. The square is surrounded by a number of high end furniture, fashion and design stores in what has become Clerkenwell's renowned showroom district.Colliers worked closely with the developer and their architects, Hate Tindle, to deliver a beautiful set of contemporary office spaces that are exceptional in their nature, specification and detail. The remainder of The Smithson building is let to Pan Macmillan, one of the UK’s largest book publishers.The project has been an inspiration from beginning to end with a team of people committed to delivering first class office spaces that demonstrate a clear enthusiasm for cutting-edge design, beautiful materials and, on a practical note, meeting the demands of modern enterprises to run a successful business.
The height of good space: breathtaking new offices in Clerkenwell30 July 2019Almost directly opposite Leather Lane, this striking and comprehensively refurbished corner building, previously occupied by Agent Provocateur, is a true eye-catcher with its refurbished sandy coloured bricks and dark grey stone reliefs and metalwork.Inside we are offering three office units – 1,813ft2 on the second floor, 1,251ft2 on the third and 607ft2 on the fourth - all of which fully deliver when it comes to inspirational, creative workspace. The lower ground, ground and first floors are under offer.Whichever way you look inside there is seemingly glass everywhere: from reinstated double glazed industrial windows, to full-height walls of warehouse-style glazing enclosing the meeting rooms, to the contemporary - and somewhat magical - glass pendants hanging overhead.The office interiors have high ceilings that further enhance the naturally breezy feel of the spaces and are supported by original steel columns and beams in dark grey to match the windows. The specification also includes dark oak engineered floors, air-conditioning, kitchenettes, underfloor cabling and bright white decor.A particularly standout feature of the building is that each of the offices on the second, third and fourth floors has its own private terrace giving valuable outdoor space for informal meetings, team events and thinking time, as well as a place to relax, enjoy lunch and take a break.The building is accessed by a reconfigured contemporary entrance lobby, with further amenities including communal shower and WC facilities, cycle storage and a passenger lift.Leather Lane's daily street food market has become a huge favourite with local workers and the location among a number of Clerkenwell's best local pubs bars gives 154 Clerkenwell Road a huge advantage to any business looking to attract the best talent.Transport connections are no less excellent with Chancery Lane tube (Central Line) within a short walk along with Faringdon station where Thameslink and Underground services are soon to be joined by the Elizabeth Line. This new route across the capital will give Clerkenwell a major London interchange on a direct route between Canary Wharf and Heathrow that extends further into Essex, Kent and Berkshire .Does this sound like the next home for your business? If you'd like to know more, contact Alexander Howarth.
Nice knowing EU23 July 2019As this year has progressed, the commitment of overseas occupiers to London office space has moderated.The record-breaking levels seen in 2018, now seem a world away. Take-up by non-domestic companies in London during 2018 reached 4.6m sq ft, which was an increase of 18% year-on-year and more than 60% above the 10-year average.However, within this trend it was clear that demand from European-owned businesses was softening and has slumped further in the year-to-date, to its lowest level since 2001. Concerns about the UK’s manner, timing and even probability of its departure from the EU, have led to a pronounced level of caution from potential continental occupiers.Transactions over 5,000 sq ft by European occupiers were 71% below the 10-year average in 2018 and the numbers have only deteriorated further in 2019. As at May 2019, letting activity by European occupiers was a stark 91% below the long-term average for the first five months of the year.The largest commitment of the year-to-date, ironically, has been by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), which although not classified as a European body (because it’s owned jointly by 67 countries) still contributes to overseas take-up.The bank has taken 365,000 sq ft at 5 Bank Street, E14, where 2,500 staff will be based, moving from Exchange Square in the City of London.While the mid-level, European-owned operations appear to be adopting a wait-and-see attitude to relocations and new commitments to real estate, non-UK/European/North American operators seem remarkably unphased by the whole Brexit process. Boosted by the deal to EBRD, transaction levels by ‘Other’ occupiers are already above average in 2019 to date. The 1.2 million sq ft transacted in 2018 is on course to be repeated this year.Reductions in average deal size remain to the fore. Overall, average deals were smaller than at any time in the past decade. While the average for UK firms has risen in 2019, the number is still significantly below the 10-year average (-25%). Caution remains the watchword, across all sectors - and nationalities.
City Spaces3 July 2019We spend a lot of time talking about office space, tenant amenity and rents in the Square Mile, but as the weather (hopefully) gets warmer we are now turning to the outside spaces on our doorstep.
Whether for some fresh air, lunch, a jog, or a sense of occasion, the City has a remarkable and surprisingly varied collection of classic and contemporary public spaces that are free to access. These are some of our favourites…1. One Fen Court EC3Described in the Guardian as a "candy striped miracle on the London skies", the public roof garden at One Fen Court on Fenchurch Street exudes exclusivity despite its free public access. The feeling of standing inside the skyline (rather than above it) gives the terrace a special something - making you feel part of things rather than simply looking down on them.2. Paternoster Square EC4Adjacent to St Paul’s Cathedral, bustling Paternoster Square is today unrecognisable from its former huddle of post-war office blocks. In 2003 Arup assembled a collective of leading architects including William Whitfield, Richard MacCormac and Allies & Morrison to reimagine the site.Alongside its busy shops and cafes, the square hosts a street food market and regular ‘pop-up’ featured including a big screen and deck chairs for free public viewing of Wimbledon. The newest addition to the square is a mini golf course with London inspired putting greens. Definitely worth a lunch time visit!3. Flat Iron Square SE1In Bankside, just south of Southwark Bridge and Borough Market, Flat Iron Square occupies seven railway arches and a Grade II Listed former warehouse. There’s there is very little that doesn’t go on here, with an all-day garden, bars, restaurants, street food trucks, live music and weekend flea markets. The industrial surroundings are an evocative backdrop for lunch, drinks or dinner and there’s another big-screen opportunity for fans of tennis and football with showings of the Women’s World Cup and Wimbledon.4. The Sky Garden EC3Thirty-eight floors up, and occupying three storeys at the top of the Walkie Talkie, the Sky Garden’s open air terrace, observation decks and breathtaking 360° views of London are given a spectacular tropical lift with richly planted horticulture from the award-winning landscape architecture practice Gillespies. If you feel like a fresh start, you can join a 6:30am Sunrise Yoga class followed by breakfast in the sky. It’s a super-smart venue and you need to book your free ticket in advance, but the experience of London’s highest garden at the top of the City’s fifth tallest building is one that’s well worth planning for.5. Festival GardensWhen it comes to views in the City there is little that can compete with a clear view of St Pauls Cathedral. The protective line of sight means that the Cathedral is visible 10 miles away from the highest point in Richmond Park but people from all over the world will travel much further than that to take in the view from Festival Gardens. After you walk past the Cathedral several times a day it is easy to take the historic landmark for granted. There is no better place to enjoy a quick lunch in the sun.
Fit for purpose?2 July 2019When we completed our latest research into the London gym & fitness sector, it came as no surprise that London has the highest concentration of gyms in the UK. Demand continues to grow and in the face of this, landlords now have the opportunity to start thinking creatively about the way gyms are incorporated into wider residential or mixed-use developments.With 52% of people saying they exercise more intensely during weekdays, office landlords have the chance to better utilise and monetise buildings’ underused or vacant spaces. Already, the conversion of lower ground floors in offices has created a steady stream of new gym opportunities.Similarly, the cooling of the retail sector is likely to provide more opportunities for in-town and out-of-town facilities. The convenience of being able to shop and workout in a single location continues to appeal: the number of gyms situated in High Street locations has increased by more than 15% since 2017.Fitness is also used as footfall generator by retailers in the sector. The free classes offered by Sweaty Betty and the virtual studio classes promoted by Peloton continue to prove very successful. Meanwhile, Virgin Active - which divested its neighbourhood estate to Nuffield in order to concentrate on central London and other metropolitan locations - is converting traditional gym floor space into immersive group exercise studios.The UK gym market will undergo further consolidation and an increased number of mergers and acquisitions as the sector matures; while demand will see London experience progressive rental growth. Against this backdrop, all London landlords should be exploring if any of their assets are fit for purpose as a gym or fitness class space.
Fitness in Fashion1 July 2019Over the last year the rise in the ‘boutique’ gym has taken over and given our old friend Fitness First a run for their money. New gym concepts and classes are popping up on every corner and the options are endless.Instead of the large mega-clubs of tens of thousands of square feet catering to the widest possible audience, people are beginning to shift their exercise routine to smaller, specialised training studios. Whether it be spinning, yoga, boxing, cross-fit.. you name it, you can do it!Going to the gym with friends is beginning to replace going to your local pub, and the younger generation are opting for a gym class followed by a protein shake instead.To name a few, Soul Cycle, has just opened their first studio outside of America in Soho, 1REBEL meanwhile, offers a range of classes including boxing, spin classes and gruelling circuits combining treadmills and free weights and KOBOX specialises in boxing classes combined with nightclub music.Anyone who is into health and fitness, or anyone with an Instagram account would have heard of the latest fitness community, F45. An Australian operation that is now a global concept with over six million members. The company has more than 1,500 studios around the world including 35 in the UK, three of which are in the City of London. They have become an Instagram sensation through posting images of F45’ers following completion of their gruelling ‘8-week challenge’ and it is safe to say, it works.We wanted to join the hype, and 10 member of the Colliers team endured an early Monday morning HIIT class and, despite our fairly high level of fitness, it was hard.Much to our surprise 6-packs were not visible immediately, however, walking up the stairs was a struggle until Thursday.In a move to replace the often anonymous experience of working out in massive groups, the F45 training studios have smaller classes to foster camaraderie and support between members with classes changing each day to avoid any repetition. That’s a valuable commodity given the intensity of the some of the sessions.“For years, fitness-lovers have had a stark choice: either pay hundreds of pounds a week for personal training sessions, or very little for an over-crowded traditional gym where no-one helps you, knows your name or cares about your results. The rise of the boutique sector reflects what was missing here: a mid-priced option which delivers amazing results as part of a semi-personalised model."In this respect, F45 is to fitness as Uber is to transport. We both deliver the benefits of a personal service to the masses, for a fraction of the cost, using smart technology.The boutique sector is also not just in the fitness business: we provide community, friendship, stress-relief, entertainment...even an opportunity to meet a partner! The often-unspoken benefits of team-training are as important as the workouts themselves.” Mike Harley, co-owner for F45 VauxhallWith the flexibility and variety of options that comes with the boutique gym craze, and new gym concepts opening on a regular basis. F45 and number of other operators have a high demand to open new branches across London and in the City, thus increasing requirements for suitable ground floor and lower ground floor space.Have we seen the end of standard gyms? Is the cross-trainer a thing of the past? Only time will tell, but it’s safe say being fit is definitely in fashion.
One down and one coming up17 June 2019We 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.
Midtown hideaway: self-contained office building on historic passage11 June 2019We 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.
Colliers launches Brand Representation consultancy as retailers continue to target London10 June 2019Retailers undeterred by Brexit uncertainty and are competing for the best stores across the capitalColliers 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.”
Letting completed to major independent London publishing house10 June 2019We 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.
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