Over the years we have helped numerous tenants find their perfect London office space and it has been interesting to note how some of their requirements have changed.
Years ago tenants wanted their own “front door” and self contained buildings over numerous floors let at a premium. Over the last couple of decades, there has been a huge shift of tenants needing to operate over large open plan floors, in order to maximise business efficiency.
In the heady days when London was leading the charge of the financial markets, we helped an array of tenants find large impressive manned receptions leading to high level oppulent office space featuring views over landmark green spaces in prime Mayfair and St James’s. Today’s post credit crunch tenants often seek lower profile space as they dont want to be seen as proflegate.
Car parking used to be very desirable and even today one or 2 spaces can help let an office. Since the introduction of Ken’s Congestion Charge, however, driving in Central London has become much more expensive and parking in town is much less in demand. We are arranging a lease at the moment where the tenant is asking the landord to transform car parking into cycle racking. The deal is about to sign, most of the pre lease discussions have concerned presentation of basement shower rooms for cyclists!
Whenever interest rates go down, there is increased demand to buy a freehold rather than rent an office and have to put up with landlords, managing agents, rent reviews and service charges. Having said this, commercial mortgages are difficult to obtain right now. There is also an intrinsic problem with smaller freeholds in that they tend to offer “lighthouse” space over 5 or 6 floors.
A new requirement we have recently detected, is for outside space. It has always been nice to have a balcony or a roof terrace, but seldom high up on the corporate search list. We suspct this new “must have” is to satisfy the boss, who can’t stop smoking!
Over the years, the requirement that remains constant is for a well known reasonably prestigious address that is close to great transport. Great transport is key because the main premise of working in Central London is the potential to attract talented staff from north south, east and west.