1. September 2019

  2. 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
    Head of UK Leisure Agency

    +44 20 7487 1615

  3. 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.

  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. Demand for basement space in The City continues to rise

    4 September 2019
    New HIIT and Strength Circuit concept CIRQ to open in Ludgate House

    CIRQ, advised by the UK Leisure Agency team of global real estate advisor Colliers International, has acquired the basement space of Ludgate House at 111 Fleet Street, London EC4.

    The fitness group has acquired 3,660 sq ft of space in this busy footfall location.

    The site will be a dedicated studio for new class-based concept with screen technology, CIRQ, which focusses on HIIT and Strength Circuit training.

    Ross Kirton, Head of UK Leisure Agency at Colliers International said: “This exciting acquisition by CIRQ (in partnership with The Health Club Collection) reaffirms the competitive nature of the central London studio gym market, and continues the trend of fitness groups seeking space in prime City locations.”

    Recent research by Colliers identified that people like to fit their workouts around their professional commitments. Of the 2,000 Londoners surveyed, 34 per cent of people like to work out in the morning, while 35 per cent go to the gym after work and another 15 per cent choose to keep fit during their lunch break.

    Kirton continued: “Our research also found that 45 per cent of people like to work out more intensely during the week, making Ludgate House, which is home to a number of densely populated office developments, the ideal location for CIRQ’s flagship.”

    Robert Burstein of CIRQ added: “With its excellent understanding of London’s health and fitness market, Colliers was able to expertly advise on which locations would give us the best access to CIRQ’s core demographic. We are excited to be bringing this new concept to The City and look forward to welcoming visitors from 3rd September 2019 onwards.” 

    The Author
    Head of UK Leisure Agency

    +44 20 7487 1615

  8. Concrete, crittal & cool: mid century meets industrial at 60s office refurb

    2 September 2019
    Aside from an Eames table or a Barcelona chair, fans of mid century modern design don't have much to look at in the city fringe. Yes they can visit the Barbican for a shot of brutalism and culture, but when it comes to sourcing a contemporary workspace, it's repurposed Victorian warehouses that hold the majority.
    So when a building from the 50s or 60s does emerge with a contemporary makeover it's an altogether more noteworthy event and one that gives these newly refurbished offices on Bastwick Street in Clerkenwell something of a fairly clear playing field.

    One on the first floor one on the second, each has a floor plate around 3,000ft2 and can be rented individually or as a pair. Fully fitted with furniture including desks, chairs, meeting rooms, board tables, breakout areas, storage units and kitchens, the offices are ready-to-go for any ingoing business 

    Both spaces are dual aspect banks of oversized casement windows running in ribbons along two elevations and maximising natural light. Below the windows stand droid-like air con units of stainless steel and black mesh in a bit of sci-fi styling while exposed concrete beans and columns, oak engineered floors, suspended light boxes and galvanised conduit complete the aesthetic.

    The specification also includes underfloor cabling and newly remodeled demised WCs and showers, while the building's amenities include a communal rooftop terrace, cycle racks, passenger lift and a remodelled entrance lobby with commissionaire and 24-hour access.

    Contemporary design - particularly architecture, interiors and furniture - takes its cue firmly from the 50s are 60s: wide open spaces and simple clean lines threw off the compartments and embellishments of the 19th and early 20th centuries, setting the blueprint for modern workspace. Almost every item of furniture on sale in Clerkenwell's showroom district is made for a space like Bastwick Street, so when it comes to pure authenticity, it really doesn't get more real.

    The location is no less credible: just off Goswell Road and meters north of Old Street, Bastwick Street sits at the centre of London's creative hub and is close to Clerkenwell Green, Whitecross Street food market, Smithfield and Silicon Roundabout, soon to become a new public piazza

    Such centrality means excellent accessibility. Three stations are within walking distance: Barbican (for Underground), Old Street (Underground add National Rail) and (Thameslink and Underground today, with the Elizabeth Line set to transform the station into a major London interchange on a 60 mile route from Berkshire to Essex and Kent with stops at Heathrow Airport and Canary Wharf.

  9. August 2019

  10. Fewer cars, more lunch?

    28 August 2019
    The ‘Lunchtime Streets’ initiative by the City Corporation has started and aims to enable workers, residents and visitors to enjoy a traffic-free lunch break.

    The first location to say goodbye to cars at lunchtime was St Mary Axe which sits in the heart of the ‘City Cluster’ of tall buildings including the iconic Gherkin, Cheesegrater, Aviva Building and the Baltic Exchange. For three lunchtimes, it was transformed to provide a car-free space for people to enjoy food, music and fun activities.

    Next month, Chancery Lane will banish cars for a similar period and at the end of next month there will be Clean Air Day – an event masterminded by the Mayor of London’s office which will see more than 12 miles of streets across Central London being closed to traffic on September 22nd.

    These are temporary events but the move towards fewer cars in London and more pedestrianised spaces is clear.

    The trend has definite ramifications for property owners, retailers and particularly operators of places to eat and drink. A move to environments where human beings are more important than cars brings into play the opportunity to utilise space for outside dining and events which will enliven shopping locations.

    In these scenarios, landlords will need to be carefully aware of how far an occupier’s curtilage extends and therefore how much they can utilise the space outside of their premises. Although British summers cannot be guaranteed to deliver regularly the kind of weather that Mediterranean countries enjoy, the ability to serve customers al fresco can be a valuable asset.

    It also needs to be remembered that sometimes pedestrianisation is not always the undoubted advantage that it may appear to be. Whilst anything that favours people of cars may feel intuitively good, sometimes retailers object to it because it detracts from footfall being channelled past their shopfronts and, of course, there is not the ‘drive-by’ awareness of people seeing shops, restaurants etc while they crawl past in jammed traffic.

    However, it’s clear that pedestrianisation and all its implications will need to be increasingly factored into the calculations of both London landlords and occupiers as the car gives way to footfall.

    The Author
  11. Two years at the top in the City Fringe

    12 August 2019
    The latest league tables of London Office Market Analysis from EG are out and the results for Q2 2019 show the Colliers City Fringe team leading the board for the eighth quarter in a row.
    The team managed a clean sweep across all three areas of performance from April to June 2019, transacting 116,013ft2 over 20 deals with a market share of 37%.

    It's a remarkable result achieved against a relentlessly turbulent political background.

    Despite all the goings on at Westminster, what is clear is that businesses want to be in London's creative quarter with as much fervour as the Prime Minister wants to come out of the EU. 

    From coworking providers to creative and professional occupiers, the City Fringe holds a unique draw as one of the world's most exciting and dynamic districts. With refurbishments and developments that set global trends in specification and design; a rich and varied community of architects, creative studios, fintech disruptors and flagship showrooms; and an equally diverse and vibrant culinary scene, it's little wonder the most talented people want to work here.

    So while the political climate may be ravaged by uncertainty, the desire and demand to work in the City Fringe seems reassuringly certain.

    The Author
  12. A full house at The Smithson

    1 August 2019
    With 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.


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