Sunday Thoughts – Could the high street be revitalised to support its economic buddy – the office?
This week, we thought we would write our first #SundayThoughts post to reflect on the past weeks and months.
Despite the challenges we face, the future is looking a little brighter for the London office investment. Recently we provided our own comment on the trends that are being offered by innovative landlords looking to create a new market with new and better ways of providing flexibility for their prospective tenants. https://hartdixon.com/cat-a-and-tech-hold-the-key-to-our-new-office-life/
Whilst the retail and commercial office markets are constantly experiencing uncertainty, it would seem the London office investment market has remained resilient as evidenced in a recent Property Week article. https://www.propertyweek.com/news/london-office-deals-are-starting-to-pick-up/5110468. Here there are some big ticket transactions – with an expected close on the year of c£12bn according to Fergus Keane Wakefield Cushman & Wakefield.
In the same piece, Stephen Down of Savills attributes the increased activity to more available stock. Which is, of course spot on but in our view it is also how we develop this stock that will make all the difference to our towns and cities. With the recent changes to Use Classes, it could now be much easier to reconfigure alternative spaces to provide much needed local and more adaptable office space. In fact, these changes could see the relocation of some offices moving to the high street.
With new moves taken by innovative charities like the British Heart Foundation, it is clear that the future for some retail providers is e-commmerce https://www.bhf.org.uk/what-we-do/news-from-the-bhf/news-archive/2020/september/depop-partnership. It was great to see a charity like this take the leap of faith to a new market via a new platform! Does this leave room for landlords to re-configure this now available space to support businesses where the local office is becoming a must, to support models like ‘hub and spoke’ or to help bring to life the vision of 15-minute cities?