Opportunities in Serviced Offices

Colliers International has published a new report on the serviced or flexible workspace sector. Colliers outline how the workplace solutions providers have been hoovering up office space in London at a faster rate than any other sector apart from tech and media.

Flexible office providers have accounted for 18% of take-up across London during 2017 date. Central London is now home to over 7.8 million sq ft of flexible workspace from 4.5 million sq ft in 2009. This is a rise of 73% in eight years, although flexible workspace space currently only represents 4% of total London office stock.

2017 is set to deliver up to 15,000 desks by year end. Serviced office lettings appeared to have peaked at 1.4 million sq ft in 2015, however, 2017 is set to see that figure eclipsed with 1.2 million already let and a further 750,000 sq ft under offer.

WeWork has taken over 1.25 million sq ft of office space within the past 12 months. Blackstone and British Land have both begun in-house flexibile solution without leasing space to major providers like WeWork or Regus.

Paddington and City fringe, have seen increasing vacancy rates below 5,000 sq ft, and Victoria and parts of Midtown have seen void periods double in 2017. The City core has held up, but also seen activity from providers such as WeWork, Prospect Business Centres, i2, Regus and LEO.

Metropolis has researched nearly 20 specific requirements for medium/large London serviced offices in recent months. These new searches come on top of 25 recent transactions for space. Opportunities exist for agents recruiting occupiers for the large new flexible work centres, for fit-out contractors refurbishing usually previously vacant space, for furniture providers and removal firms handling the myriad moves to the new buildings.

Colliers say the need for short leases and flexible space, particularly since the Brexit vote, is driving demand for increasing volumes of flexible workspace space. Although, flexible workspace only represents 4% of London office stock, it looks set to become an important slice of the market, not just in London, but increasingly in regional cities too.

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£1bn up for grabs on Metropolis

With over 6,000 office movers reported on Metropolis each year, we looked at an estimate of the total expenditure on relocation costs by these companies. Metropolis  estimate the total size of the office movers market in the UK each year.

Firstly, we looked at the average size of move. Metropolis tends to concentrate on the middle and larger end of the office relocation market, the total size of all listed office moves in the last year planned and implemented was over 80 million sq ft. Making some adjustments for updates, where company plans are updated more than once in the year, we arrived at 50m sq ft of unique office moves, both completed (space found), still deciding (potential mover) and searching (identified requirement).

We calculated an average office move size during the year of just over 8,000 sq ft. We then applied this average to a number of industry cost estimates.

Office fit-out costs can range between £15-£60 psf. If we take the most conservative estimate of £15 psf over 50m sq ft, these moves could generate £750m of expenditure on fit-out. Much more per office mover in central London.

Office agent fees, conservatively estimated at 2% of annual rent. If all 25m sq ft of office moves currently planned, but yet to take place, were considered around an average of £20 psf then office agency fees offer a potential £50m.

Furniture can also be a lucrative area for suppliers. Assuming 300,000 staff will move or be moving in the future, as part of these 6,000 office moves, if half of the companies spent a modest £500 on each employee for desk and chair this would total £75m. Of course this would be supplemented by additional furniture and some much higher expenditure at blue chip companies.

Removals can cost upwards of £10,000 for a small office and 40-50 staff. So conservatively, assuming some companies do not move, some expand into adjacent space and some move themselves, say £70m of business a year.

Cabling and IT upgrades can also provide opportunities for suppliers. Leaving aside the booming fintech sector, every company needs ever more sophisticated IT systems. With over 50m sq ft of unique moves this market can easily exceed £100m.

Other professional fees for dilapidations, consultancy and disposal costs can also provide opportunities, but these can be difficult to generalise.

In conclusion, on the most conservative estimates the potential business being signposted on metropolis is well over £1bn per year. Probably in reality over £2bn if less conservative assumptions are made.

Sources: Cushman & Wakefield Occupier Fit Out Cost Guide; http://www.getamover.co.uk; Morgan Lovell Office Relocation Checklist; Savills; Metropolis; 

Metropolis Launches New Website

We have a new website!

Please visit us at http://metropolisleads.uk

 

Cityoffices – An October Taster

Below is the October 2015 taster for http://www.Cityoffices.net – the sister leads provider to the market leading Metropolis Property Research.

With the office construction sector booming in London (the just published Deloitte/Cityoffices Crane Survey reveals an 18% construction rise since spring 2015) there is a huge volume of tenders being sought and awarded as every role from architects, planners and engineers to service consultants, letting agents and acoustic consultants are being appointed on a daily basis.

Looking back over October 2015 this Cityoffices bulletin just looks at recent news of some of the schemes (there are 120 schemes at either construction or demolition stage in London, with over 200 planning consents in the pipeline) which have progressed in the last month and some of the schemes which developers are likely to progress in the next 2-3 years. The London news stories and many regional updates in October, are backed up with full project details, including teams where appointed, on the database and included:

In London

  • New application on a 200,000 sq ft City of London building;
  • A Midtown building bought with potential to combine with an adjacent building to form a 50,000 sq ft scheme;
  • A demolition start to make way for a new City of London office tower;
  • A bank submits an application for a 20,000 sq ft refurbishment in EC2;
  • Consent for a new 375,000 sq ft office scheme in the Aldgate area;
  • News of the latest major pre-lets on office schemes in central London.

Outside London

  • Construction start on a central Birmingham scheme;
  • Developer buys a site in Bristol to house its next speculative scheme;
  • A summary of the Cardiff office scheme pipeline;
  • Some new office refurbishments in Glasgow;
  • A new 61,000 sq ft office scheme consent in Edinburgh;
  • Contractor appointed on a 167,000 sq ft Leeds office scheme;
  • A developer acquires a Manchester office block for redevelopment;
  • Consent for a major Newcastle mixed-use scheme.

These are just a sample of the many office projects that Cityoffices reports on each month and backed up with full histories and contact names and numbers where available. No other information provider can match a fraction of Cityoffices’ coverage.

If you would like to know more about annual Cityoffices subscriptions from only £750 – email Andy King at andy@metroinfo.co.uk

Bristol Office Market Looks Forward

A recent report on the Bristol office market by Lambert Smith Hampton suggests that although letting activity slowed in Q3 2015, there is some optimism for 2016, as the number of new requirements rises sharply.

During Q3 2015, some 195,000 sq ft of lettings were concluded in Bristol including moves by Civica, Northgate, EE, Meanwhile Creative , Optical Express and TMP. Total office take-up for the year is nearly 600,000 sq ft, but this is down on the 770,000 sq ft over the same period in 2014. Recent office take-up in Bristol has been led by Technology Media and Telecom (26%) and Professional Services (24%), followed by Construction & Engineering (14%) and Business Services. There have been a higher than usual proportion of Bristol office deals below 5,000 sq ft in autumn 2015.

Amongst the companies with requirements being tracked and spoken to regularly by Metropolis are AXA, EDF, Foot Anstey and Babcock. LSH point to 40 new inquiries in the last 3 months. Local agents are tipping the media sector as likely to be a good performer in 2016 and we have recently seen Green.TV and Mendip Mediai open bases in Bristol. Recently R&D has become a growing business sector within Bristol city centre and occupiers such as ADP and Oracle are expanding their operations.

Some 600,000 sq ft of speculative office schemes could start on site in Bristol in 2016, including refurbishment of Veale Wasbrough Vizards’ former offices at Orchard Court, Orchard Lane, Bristol. Overall office vacancy rates are around 6-7%.

Looking ahead, there are some 200,000 sq ft of large requirements in Bristol which are likely to find offices over the next 12 months, with a tier of medium sized searches which could double that total.

Central London Office deals June 2015

Central London office lettings registered nearly 1.4m sq ft sq ft of transactions in June 2015, spread across 58 deals during the month. this is the highest monthly floorspace figure in 2015, so far.

The month was characterised by 20 deals over 20,000 sq ft, including Deutsche Bank at t10 Upper Bank Street; Google at Building S2 Kings Cross; DKLW at C:Space on City Road, EC1: Marshall Wace at Sloane Street and Saffery Champness at 71 Queen Victoria Street. Other large lettings included deals to QBE, HSBC and NYK.

Financial sectors topped the table of lettings by sector, helped by the Deutsche Bank and Marshall Wace deals, followed by business services and computer/IT. Under offers increased to over 4.3m sq ft – the highest level since the recession. Under offers include Ashurst and DLA Piper (both now signed)

By area, the City accounted for a little under half the deals (22) and 54pc of the floorspace let in the month. Office demand is calculated to be around 6m sq ft in the City and 3m sq ft in the West End. Availability fell slightly during June, but a number of new schemes are poised to come on line.

The volume of grade A (newly built or refurbished office space) let during the month increased to nearly 1m sq ft as transactions for newly developed or refurbished space rose again.

Metropolis is working on a new report on statistics on the hundreds of new requirements added to the database in the first half of 2015.

Behind the scenes at Metropolis Property Research

Part 1 – The Lighter Side

Amongst the hundreds of phone calls and meticulous research work tracking down around 120 UK firms with plans to move each week, there are some lighter sides to the job of putting together our brand of intelligence led property business leads every 7 days:

– During one call, the tenant asked who we are, so that he could make a note, when the researcher said ‘Metropolis’, the manager asked if we spelt that the same way as Superman does?

– Many clients will be familiar with the tussle to extract information on when office and facility managers will be arranging their furniture and fit-out tenders, with many guarding the information jealously. Until that is, one day in a standard call to a secretive London law firm planning to move in 5-6 months time, the facilities manager suddenly volunteered “and we are about to look for someone to supply our furniture”. Well, ‘surprised’ wasn’t the word..

– a common misunderstanding when opening the conversation with tenants is: Researcher: “we’re contacting companies that are looking for offices” Tenant answers “well we’ve we’ve got none to sell”. OK, lets start that again..

– In another call to a media firm in a building about to be demolished, we established that the company had to move, whereupon the MD started asking what he should do in order to find new office space. Half an hour later, we were still talking, as he went through the pros and cons of different locations, rent levels, service charges, transport links, fit-out costs..

– One of the bugbears of the 21st century is the blanket ‘no names’ policy, “if you don’t already know the name of our facility manager I won’t put you through,” yah, boo, sucks. It used to be just animal rights-protest-fearing pharmaceuticals that adopted this policy, but now about half the corporate world tries to use this blunt tool to stop business inquiries. Unfortunately 90% of these individuals then quite innocently put their name and job title on their Linkedin page and their company Facebook page..

– Finally, some years ago, in a scene mirroring a Dads Army sketch, when talking to a firm with a very hush hush requirement, we asked who was handling the search, as the FM hesitated, we heard a colleague whisper “don’t tell him that John Smith is in charge”, so the FM eventually says “I don’t know”. Thank you and goodbye.