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  • Which Part of London is Right for my Business?

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  • Thinking of moving to a new office? Then you need to know which part of London is right for your business.

    Historically, London has always had certain areas and roads that are synonymous with certain trades. Saville Row, Fleet Street, Hatton Garden and many other areas of London were all famous for the trades that operated within them – some places, including Harley Street are still closely associated with their professions today.

    With reassuring signs in the UK economy and the easing of lockdown, London attracted more investment than Berlin, Paris, and Stockholm combined (according to Dealroom.com). However, despite remaining an Alpha++ rated global city (the only other being New York), London also saw the largest regional decrease in employees in 2020 (down by 2.5%).

    Many suggested coworking and flexible working practices will underpin their new property strategies – making it critical for businesses to position their offices as an attractive proposition to employees. When it comes to making the office more appealing, location might be a part of drawing people back. Here’s a look at the areas that businesses gravitate to and which sector they’re in.

  • Finding your neighbourhood

    As your people will be spending less time in the office, it is important to find an office in the right location. One of the indispensable methods that companies can maximise attraction and retention is by situating their workplaces (whether headquarters, coworking sites or ancillary offices) in these hotbeds of talent. By tapping into existing communities, workspaces become more than simply spaces to work – they become engaging experiences for clusters of like-minded individuals – both within and outside the company office.

    All this change begs the question — what are the best boroughs in London to work in today, and what neighbourhoods are suitable for your sector? Companies are looking to find a space that strikes an effective balance between budget and employee experience. Certain parts of London have become recognised as housing different sectors and geographically, you tend to find similar business in the same areas. But why is that? Here’s our breakdown for which parts of London are right for businesses.

  • London Bridge

    Industries/Sectors: Fintech, Advertising, Consulting

    Tenants: Ogilvy, WPP Group, EY, News UK, HSBC, Aljazeera, Tiffany & Co.

    Landmark Buildings: The Shard, Woolyard, Adelaide House

    Grade A Rent (per sq ft) £65 – £72.50

  • london-bridge-aspect-ratio-2640-1980
  • Southwark has undergone extensive development in recent years (including a complete £1.5bn renewal at Elephant & Castle), but the ground-breaking construction at The Shard utterly transformed London Bridge’s commercial landscape. Historically, the area was attractive for accountancy and consulting firms (EY, UBM, to name a few). While this sector is still thriving here, there is now a growing creative community with advertising firms Ogilvy, Omnicom and WPP Group taking space in the area. Not to mention the headquarters for media multinationals Aljazeera and News UK.

    Furthermore, London Bridge is now the second-largest fintech hub in London with the arrival of Nutmeg, Sapphire Systems and Blippar. As a result, it’s now one of the most coveted locations for offices with levels well above the 10-year average (810,189 sq ft). Two of the largest commercial schemes are due to complete in 2022 – the “Arbor”, formerly known as Bankside Yards (221,000 sq ft) and The Forge (139,000 sq ft).

  • City of London

    Industries/Sectors: Financial, Legal, Insurance

    Tenants: DLA Piper, Accenture, Salesforce, Markel, RSA Group

    Landmark Buildings: Walkie Talkie, Lloyds of London, The Heron

    Grade A Rent (per sq ft) £70 – £82.50

  • city-of-london-aspect-ratio-2640-1980
  • The City of London is assuredly the financial epicentre of London and Europe, and possibly the World. It’s home to many of the FTSE100 and several of the world’s largest financial institutions, such as the Bank of England and the London Stock Exchange, and at peak hours, it sees 513,000 people (10% of the capital’s workforce) commuting every day. At its core is the Square Mile, where you’ll find the iconic buildings that create the London skyline around Liverpool Street, Bank and out towards Moorgate, where many of the legal Magic Circle reside (Linklaters, DLA Piper, Slaughter and May).

    While many firms are re-evaluating their post-Pandemic strategies, the Square Mile has shown the strongest resiliency with footfall at 51% of February 2020 levels, as Bloomberg reported in October. Confidence with occupiers is rising too. The financial and legal sectors dominated demand in Q3 2021, totalling 2.4m sq ft with new tenants Travers Smith and T. Rowe Price. This was followed by the tech, media and telecoms sector at 24% (1.1m sq ft) with one of the largest deals from satellite comms company, Inmarsat (121,200 sq ft at 50 Finsbury Square).

  • Canary Wharf

    Industries/Sectors: Financial, Legal, Insurance

    Tenants: JP Morgan, Citigroup, Barclays

    Landmark Buildings: One Canada Square, Newfoundland Place, One Churchill Place

    Grade A Rent (per sq ft) £50 – £55

  • canary-wharf-aspect-ratio-2640-1980
  • Casting an eye over London’s skyline, Canary Wharf is undoubtedly the most prominent profile after the Square Mile. With over 120,000 daily workers and 400,000 jobs, it’s one of the epicentres of global commerce, with a Gross Value Added (GVA) for tenants at Canary Wharf of £40.4 billion.

    The largest two sectors in Canary Wharf remain finance and technology, but the balance is changing. In 2010, financial companies accounted for 70% of Canary Wharf’s tenants, and this number has decreased to a 55:45 split in recent years. Tech companies such as Revolut, Intel, and Oracle have set up headquarters in the area, and tech hubs such as Level39, an 80k sq ft incubator in One Canada Square, are transforming the occupier landscape.

    Orbital Insight, which monitors activity levels through mobile phone data, found that footfall reached 59% of February 2020 levels in October – the highest rate since the start of the pandemic and the highest footfall in any London district.

  • Kings Cross

    Industries/Sectors: Tech, Health, Media

    Tenants: Google, Facebook, Sony, Universal Music, The Guardian, PRS Music

    Landmark Buildings: Google UK, Handyside, Urbanest

    Grade A Rent (per sq ft) £65 – £77.50

  • kings-cross-aspect-ratio-2640-1980
  • Following a £3bn investment, Kings Cross has become one of London’s largest and most successful redevelopment schemes, rivalling Old Street’s “Tech City” a few miles south. It even boasts a new postcode (N1C). Moreover, Google’s new “landscaper” HQ has helped put the area on the commercial map – creating a flagship space that’s longer than the height of the Shard.

    Two stops on the Northern Line from Old Street, Kings Cross has grown into the favoured neighbourhood for tech titans (Facebook, Expedia, Universal Music, Sony Music). It’s also a hotbed for start-ups and hypergrowth businesses (Circl, Daccle, Brainpool) – not to mention several notable cultural and educational institutions.

    Further down Euston Road is a haven for science and medical institutions, home to BenevolentAI, the Wellcome Trust, London BioScience Innovation Centre (LBIC), the Royal College of General Practitioners, and the sprawling 1m sq ft building of the Francis Crick Institute.

  • Whitechapel and Aldgate

    Industries/Sectors: Financial, Shipping, Gaming, Media

    Tenants: BT, Sky, Uber, Groupon, Essensys, Samsara

    Landmarks: Aldgate Tower, The White Chapel Building, Department W

    Grade A Rent (per sq ft) £50 – £60

  • whitechapel-aspect-ratio-2640-1980
  • Other areas hot on the heels of Shoreditch are Whitechapel and Aldgate, which has undergone a 300m redevelopment. Extensive refurbishments to Aldgate Tower (325k sq ft) and the White Chapel Building (273k sq ft) are now complete, and a mountainous 400k sq ft, 15-floor building, was recently granted planning permission on Whitechapel High Street.

    While the area was historically a back-office district for large banks and insurance companies, the rise of London’s technology and creative sector, coupled with rent increases in Shoreditch, has resulted in tech and innovative start-up companies favouring the E1 area. Whitechapel is already attracting companies from the media, finance and gaming industries. Since 2015, it’s seen the likes of Unruly, Reddie & Grose, Shipowners’ Club, ComeOn! and Lebara taking space. With the Elizabeth Line expansion (stretching from Reading and Heathrow in the west to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the East), we can expect more of the creative sector making a move further East.

  • Midtown

    Industries/Sectors: Legal, Financial, Retail

    Tenants: Goldman Sachs, Sainsbury PLC, Towers & Perrins, Bird & Bird, Reuters

    Landmarks: Centre Point, Waterhouse Square

    Grade A Rent (per sq ft) £65 – £82.50

  • midtown-aspect-ratio-2640-1980
  • Though its borders are disputed, Midtown is widely agreed to encompass Bloomsbury, Holborn and Chancery Lane, linking the City of London with the West End and Kings Cross with Waterloo. As you might expect from its position, the area is a powerhouse of industry, with over 14,000 businesses employing 157,000 people. And, most famously, it’s our home.

    Traditionally, the district played home to the largest concentration of London’s financial, recruitment and business services industries. In addition, the Royal Courts of Justice and the Old Bailey nearby make this a prominent location for the legal sector. However, recent years have seen the area also favoured by media production and IT services. Some of the area’s most well-known residents are Deloitte, NY Times, REED, Reuters, Goldman Sachs, Sainsbury PLC, Olswang Solicitors, Manches Solicitors, Mitsubishi and Warner Bros.

  • West End

    Industries/Sectors: Professional, Insurance, Tech

    Employee Count: 650,000 people

    Tenants: CQS, Boohoo, Vodafone, Facebook, Liberty Global, Carlyle Group

    Landmarks: Millbank Tower, St James Market

    Grade A Rent (per sq ft) £80 – £120

  • west-end-aspect-ratio-2640-1980
  • The West End remains the most expensive area in London to rent office space, namely as it encompasses some of the most distinguished districts (including Mayfair, Soho, Covent Garden, Marylebone and Victoria). West End industries range from the more formal and financial in Mayfair to the creative industries in Soho, where film, video, and ad companies, many of whom are spreading further out (a prime example was Netflix’s 87,000 sq ft expansion into Fitzrovia last year).

    In August 2021, Savills reported the area is fast recovering from the pandemic with 1m sq ft of space under offer. The Professional sector accounts for the greatest proportion of requirements (23%), followed by the Tech & Media sector at 21%, and the Insurance & Financial sector with 20%. The largest transaction to complete in October and the largest of the year so far was Facebook’s assignment from Aegis at 1 Triton Square, occupying the whole building (312,000 sq ft) on a 15-year lease.

    Towards Vauxhall, Apple’s 6-floor, 500,000 sq ft UK campus at Battersea Power Station is set to complete next year. Joining publishers, Penguin Random House, the new development will employ over 1,400 people and will become a magnet for other tech firms looking to build business clusters.

  • Shoreditch

    Industries/Sectors: Tech, Fintech

    Employee Count: 132,000

    Tenants: Wise, Monzo, Deliveroo, Amazon

    Landmarks: The Tea Building, White Collar Factory, 6 Osman Road

    Grade A Rent (per sq ft) £65 – £75

  • shoreditch-aspect-ratio-2640-1980
  • From St Luke’s in Clerkenwell to Hackney Road (and perhaps Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park if you’re feeling generous) is the much-lauded and lionised Tech City – now called Tech Nation. The popularity of Shoreditch and Clerkenwell originated from start-ups looking for cheap space in 2018. Enhanced by the 2018 TechCity government grants and initiative, which concentrated on stimulating growth in digital businesses, Shoreditch, like many of its tech firms, has grown exponentially.

    In 2008, the area hosted approximately 15 companies and is now estimated to have over a thousand. Off the back of this demand, larger corporations have found the district increasingly attractive – Amazon at Principal Place, Google on Bonhill Street, to name a few.

  • With working trends shifting towards more remote and home working, having an office in a desirable and relevant location could play a key role in uniting people in the office. Whether that it is in London or elsewhere, with an increasing amount of office space across the UK becoming available, some companies are considering regional offices to support a more distributed workforce.

    The best place for your office is a location that is the right community for your business and has good local amenities for your people. Being in the right area for your sector can help to create a positive company identity that resonates with your clients and customers. This will also help companies to attract leading talent as well as laying the foundations to build a destination workplace.

  • London Office Rent Report

    Read our report on average office rent rates for Grade A and Grade B space in London, as well as a market overview and analysis of prime rent rates across London submarkets.

    download now
  • The-London-Office-Rent-Report-aspect-ratio-2640-1980

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