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June 20, 2012

Brookfield snaps up £500m worth of London offices

Filed under: News — Tags: , , — Office Space @ 6:00 am

A Canadian developer has snapped up more than £500 million worth of office space in London from Hammerson, with the massive efforts spearheaded by former Hammerson boss, Martin Jepson.

Mr Jepson, who left Hammerson in 2011 to join Brookfield, is working hammer-and-tongs to achieve the Canadian developer’s goal of building up a city office space portfolio that tops £5 billion. Hammerson had been in talks with Brookfield for quite some time in regards to the office space sale of its London offices, with Hammerson restructuring its business to place a higher concentration on retail assets such as its Brent Cross shopping centre.

Brookfield spent a sum of £518 million for around 75 per cent of Hammerson’s properties currently up for sale. Properties to change hands include 125 Old Broad Street and 99 Bishopsgate. The Old Broad Street location has been a thorn in Hammerson’s side, with the developer having to spend resources to repair the building’s glazing problems in the wake of glass panes falling from the building’s windows.

Other properties changing hands include the Principal Place development site as well as Leadenhall Court. The former, which has office space planning permission for 57,000 square feet of offices in addition to a rental tower, had been reluctantly put up for sale by Hammerson after potential tenant CMS Cameron McKenna got cold feet in the early months of 2012.

Hammerson is left with only a few remaining assets within London, though the developer is hoping to parcel them off over the next year and a half.

June 8, 2012

Central London demand at highest level since 2009

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Central London’s office space market has picked up recently, with demand rising to the highest its been since 2009 as a result of interest finally catching up with the diminished supply of city office space, Jones Lang LaSalle recently found.

The commercial premises consultancy found that total demand figures stand at 12.6 million square feet currently after potential tenant demand increased by more than 12 per cent over the last year. JLL City agency head, Dan Burn, remarked that central London is shaking off its torpor as signs of life begin to creep back in – an innervation he attributed to the technology, media, and telecoms sector expanding.

While things are indeed looking up, it’s not all coming up roses. Demand was still under the 10-year average by five per cent, JLL warned, leading many to believe that the eurozone crisis and ongoing economic uncertainty have left firms reticent to relocate to new office accommodation, which means that leasing volumes are remaining modestly low.

It’s true that JLL expects that new office take up will be stagnant in the shorter term, the property consultancy did say that it found some evidence that select firms were regaining their lost confidence and have started to actively seek new opportunities. Mr Burn said that JLL has begun to see indications that 2012’s second half could have more activity in store for it than the first six months of the year, as quite a few quiet discussions have begun to take place on both existing office developments and those slated for completion in the immediate future.

June 6, 2012

Manchester rents beginning to see signs of recovery

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Industry experts have begun to report that office space rental prices in Manchester city centre have shown signs of recovery.

A new regional office market report released by Knight Frank says that prime headline rents for office space in Manchester are undergoing a recovery, especially in light of the 6,820 square foot letting of Brown Street’s Chancery Place by insurance firm QBE.  The insurer is understood to have agreed to pay £30 per square feet of office accommodation, leading rental growth in Manchester to outperform other regional markets in 2012’s first quarter.

Prime city office space rents increased to £30 from £28 during the first three months of the year, with net effective rents arriving at a figure of £23.50 by the end of that period of time.  Knight Frank also reported that there was nearly 170,000 square feet of commercial office space let in Manchester city centre in the first three months of 2012, which was an increase of 34 per cent in comparison with 2011’s first quarter figures.

Manchester left its regional rivals in the dust, with Newcastle, Sheffield, Liverpool, and Leeds seeing much lowered take up numbers, with only Leeds approaching Manchester’s figures with less than 156,000 square feet.  The second-hand office accommodation market was strong, as the only grade A space let out of the 61 transactions in Manchester was the one at Chancery House.

May 15, 2012

Google sets up office space campus in Shoreditch

Filed under: News,Office Space London — Tags: , , , — Office Space @ 6:00 am

Google has come up with an innovative way to provide office space for new start-up businesses in London.

Google UK have joined forces with Jump Studios and set up their own campus. The campus is located in the Shoreditch area of the Capital, at the very heart of the tech district, and it will provide city office space to rent for those starting up a new venture.

In addition to the 200 office desks and 16 meeting rooms, the campus has an event space which can accommodate as many as 140 people. When workers want a break away from their desk, Google has set up break out spots. The seven-storey building also contains a café where people can go and relax over a cup of coffee.

The Shoreditch campus takes up 2300 sq metres of space. The café and the social areas are on the lower levels and the five upper stories contain open-plan work areas. The interior is kitted out with inexpensive materials, such as recycled vegetable crates, which give a modern but not yet established look to the building.

Shaun Fernandes, one of the co-founders of Jump Studios, said the campus provides a great working environment as well as providing space for relaxation.

Networking events will also take place at the campus and the partnership expects to invite expert entrepreneurs as guest speakers. New start-ups will also be able to take advantage of a Google mentoring program.

If you’re interested in grabbing some office space at the new campus, you can find it at 4-5 Bonhill Street.

 

 

May 9, 2012

Leicester mayor rethinks city office space planning

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Sir Peter Soulsby, the mayor of Leicester, has been re-thinking some city office space planning efforts, even going so far as to say that the focus may need to be shifted away from creating new commercial office space close to Leicester train station.

The city’s decade-old regeneration and refurbishment plan originally called for a £150 million office complex to be constructed in close proximity to the station.  However, ground was never broken on the development, and Sir Peter wants to shift the focus to other possible places within Leicestershire where prime office accommodation could be built instead.

The mayor has called upon businesses to aid the city council in drawing up documents listing all possible sites that could benefit from development efforts.  The study should be completed and ready for review within the next five months, Sir Peter added.

Councils may not always make the best decision when it comes down to picking the areas where redevelopment efforts should be focused, remarked the mayor.  The importance of identifying areas with the potential for development is high, but investors need to be made aware of the full range of development options the city has to offer as well, he also said.

Sir Peter’s determination that doing so will lead to definitive action remains unwavering.  He says that he would much rather redevelopment plans moving forward than having them simply ‘gather dust on the shelf,’ and the study – which is designed to be reporting back this coming autumn – is part of avoiding such wasted opportunities, as it will aid the council in keeping a more realistic eye on the allocation of additional car parking spaces to new office accommodation in development.

May 7, 2012

Prudential looking for 60k sq ft of city office space

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Reports have recently emerged that Savills has been hired by the largest insurer in the UK to find 60,000 square feet of city office space to act as its new headquarters, with the firm looking at locations such as the Walbrook Building, Heron Tower, and the Shard.

Prudential, the firm reportedly in search of new commercial premises, is currently holding down offices on Laurence Poutney Hill, close to Cannon Street station, but is not the only insurance firm looking for offices.  JLT Group, Amlin, and RSA are some of the other insurers on the hunt, according to CB Richard Ellis, which reported a sum of 13 insurance companies actively searching for approximately 1 million square feet of commercial office space in Central London.

The new Walkie Talkie, which is slated to be completed by 2014, will be the site of one insurer, US-based Markel, currently in negotiations for around 65,000 square feet across the 25th and 26th floor of the office tower at a rate of about £65 a square foot.  Another firm currently being advised by Savills, Amlin, is on the lookout for 100,000 square feet, and is also understood to be considering the Walkie Talkie, as is RSA, Liberty, Ascot, and Kiln Group.

However, the largest insurance sector deal in the pipeline is shaping up to be JLT, as the firm is coming closer to sealing the deal on 250,000 square feet of space at the St Botolph Building.  Other larger payers in the Central London market include Gallagher Heath and Miller, with the latter on the search for 80,000 square feet.

February 22, 2012

City office space rents plummet, firms look to capitalise

With office space rental prices in the City of London plummeting to their lowest levels in a quarter of a century, several high-powered financial companies are looking to capitalise on newly affordable City office space, sources say.

Jones Lang LaSalle recently commented that, based on information provided from British Land’s latest survey of office space in London, many firms in the capital could be relocating once the leases on their current commercial premises expire.  One such firm, consultancy company Jardine Lloyd Thompson, is currently on the lookout for 200,000 square feet of office accommodation, with a JLT spokeswoman commenting that the firm is considering several options in the run-up to a number of its leases coming to term next year.

Another company currently exploring options, law firm Nabarro Nathanson, is scouring the second hand markets at London Wall’s Alban Gate to accommodate its needs for 125,000 square feet of space.  A representative for the law firm remarked that it will continue to explore options ahead of the 2014 expiration of its current lease, adding that it would not be appropriate to comment further while discussions are underway.

According to an Old Mutual spokesman, the firm is on the search for 80,000 square feet to house its UK headquarters, as its current lease runs its course in September of 2013.  Old Mutual is determining whether or not their existing property will be suitable for the company’s future requirements, the spokesman affirmed, while also stating that the company has begun to review alternate possible sites, though it is still too early to announce any decisions that have been made.

February 21, 2012

Harvey Nash relocates to new City commercial premises

One global professional services group has decided to relocate to commercial premises within the City of London later this year, thus retaining the capital as its worldwide headquarters, commercial office space experts recently reported.

Harvey Nash has proudly proclaimed its confidence in the City’s reputation as a worldwide business hub by relocating its current office space in London to Heron Tower, EC2.  The professional services group is understood to have plans to invest as much as £2 million in new technology and capital expenditure through July of this year, with total lease expenditures on its new City office space to top £10 million over the next decade.

Harvey Nash undertook a rigorous selection process for its new worldwide headquarters, examining cities such as Hong Kong, Zurich, Dublin, and New York possible sites.  However, several critical factors played a role in the group’s decision to choose the capital as its global base for the next ten years, including how London has been a global ‘human capital hotspot,’ attracting the young and skilled not just from Ireland and the UK but from other European and Asian countries as well.

The capital has also developed a reputation for having one of the most innovative and fastest growing online media sectors worldwide save California, with office accommodations in Silicon Roundabout sought after more and more, while the regions east of the City and Shoreditch growing to global pre-eminence in a mobile and digital market that has grown by leaps and bounds.  Harvey Nash expressed how impressed it has been with the decisions of the Coalition Government and the Mayor of London to increase the international competitiveness of the UK and London, though it did acknowledge that there is still room for improvement.

February 20, 2012

Demand surges within City of London for commercial premises

Filed under: News,Office Space — Tags: , , — Office Space @ 6:00 am

Demand for commercial premises within the City of London has undergone a recent surge, helping to drive the uptake of new City office space to its greatest level since the credit crunch and resultant economic recession, experts say.

A raft of office space deals occurring in the last quarter of 2011 drove 2011 take up levels to 4 million square feet in 2011, a full 500,000 square feet over and above 2010 take up levels, according to property consultancy EA Shaw. Notable premises let out included those on the fringes of the City and the South Bank, along with space in Holborn,Bloomsbury, Covent Garden, and Soho, EA Shaw also said.

Tech firms alone were responsible for 1.3 million square feet of take up last year, more than double the 640,000 square feet they took up the previous one, the research found.  While a large number are still calling Silicon Roundabout home, many have shown interest in surrounding areas of the City due to the robust technology market.

Covent Garden demonstrated the largest growth in demand, hitting 1.241 square feet and exceeding its average long-term levels by 55 per cent, said EA Shaw.  The result of this trend saw rents increase by as much as 30 per cent in select areas adjacent to the City of London, the consultancy firm also said.

However, the widen London market was a sharp contrast to the increase in demand in and near the City, with economic uncertainty and banking institution downsizing aided in 2011’s demand falling 27 per cent in comparison with 2010 figures.

February 7, 2012

Welsh Government in hot water over office space in London

Filed under: News,Office Space London — Tags: , , — Office Space @ 6:00 am

The Welsh Government, which has recently landed in hot water after it was revealed that it is paying around £270,000 annually for office space in London, recently struck back against critics.

A spokesman for the government recently remarked that it would not make any apologies for its work to improve the economy in Wales, stressing the need for city office space in order to strengthen the Welsh Government’s presence within the capital. Meanwhile, Liberal Democrats and Conservatives alike have frowned upon plans for a new base in Westminster, but the current Wales Office’s level of accommodation was simply inadequate, the spokesperson added.

The global economy has been taking its toll on Wales, he said, as the Welsh economy has been prevented from growing due to the eurozone troubles and the financial and economic decision taken outside of Wales.  Despite a recent dip in the country’s unemployment rate, there are too many young Welsh that have yet to be able to find work, and the spokesperson said that the Welsh Government would be completely unapologetic for their efforts to create opportunities for younger people living in Wales.

As a major commercial and financial centre for the globe and Europe alike, London is the only place that the Welsh Government could possibly choose to strengthen its presence in order to exploit any and all growth opportunities it comes across, according to the spokesperson.

With Northern Ireland and Scotland already holding their own individual trade offices in the capital, Wales wishes to also have identical commercial premises in order to grow and promote the Welsh economy, he also said.

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