Property and Construction
April 26, 2017
The British Council for Offices has announced the six winners of regional property awards for London and the South East of England. The winning entries, announced at a lunch at the Park Lane Hilton were Sky Central (main image), 8 Finsbury Circus, The Estée Lauder Companies, 20 Eastbourne Terrace, 67-71 Beak Street and Sea Containers House. The prestigious BCO awards programme claims to recognise ‘the highest quality developments and sets the standard for excellence in the regional and national office sector.’ The winner of the Best Commercial Workplace was 8 Finsbury Circus while Sky Central took home the prize in the Best Corporate Workplace Category.
April 25, 2017
Inaccessible workplaces are too common problem that disabled people face in accessing buildings and public spaces, and the Government must lead a charge in improving access and inclusion in the built environment, according to a report by an influential cross party committee published today. The Women and Equalities Committee’s Disability and the Built Environment inquiry has been examining the extent to which those with accessibility issues are considered and accommodated in our built environment, and whether more could be done to increase the accessibility and inclusivity of both new and existing properties and spaces. The report recommends public procurement, fiscal initiatives and transparently modelling best practice, while bringing the full range of work on improving access and inclusion in the built environment into a coherent and transparent strategy, with the Department for Communities and Local Government held responsible for making this happen. The report found that many workplaces are inaccessible, there is very little choice of where to live and the public spaces through which people need to move can be prohibitively excluding; all of which constitute an unacceptable diminution of quality of life and equality.
April 24, 2017
In a deal of enormous significance for the commercial property and workplace sectors, IBM has agreed a deal with coworking giant WeWork to take on all the space at its 88 University Place office in New York. Although originally targeted at startups and freelancers, especially those working in the creative and technology sectors, a growing number of corporate clients are seeing the appeal of coworking space in a fast changing world and now make up over a fifth of WeWork’s membership worldwide. Meanwhile, in moves that are sure to have major implications for the corporate real estate and facilities management market, WeWork has also announced plans to become a major real estate investor and introduce a wider range of FM services. The firm already operates in 135 locations spread across 44 cities in 14 countries.
April 24, 2017
The commercial real estate finance sector is witnessing a dramatic shift in attitudes towards the issue of sustainability, according to a new report from the Better Buildings Partnership. It claims that major commercial property lenders are already exploring new opportunities that go well beyond traditional risk management through sustainability initiatives that ‘drive new business, strengthen customer relationships and improve the data they hold on the buildings in which they have underwritten’. The report, Beyond Risk Management: How sustainability is driving innovation in commercial real estate finance, is sponsored by CREFC Europe, GeoPhy, ING Bank and Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, and claims to reveal pioneering examples of how lenders are incorporating sustainability into their core business activities.
April 20, 2017
The UK government has opened the tendering process the Estates Professional Services framework, the vast public sector property contract that covers all central and local government property and which reports claim is worth up to £430m in fees to the firms appointed. The bid is managed by the Crown Commercial Service, an agency sponsored by the Cabinet Office which has been driving the major overhaul of public sector property as it seeks to save £8 billion through a programme of rationalisation and divestment. The contract runs for four years with the present framework due to expire this September.
April 18, 2017
The UK remains the preferred region to invest in commercial real estate despite seeing a slight dip in popularity since Brexit, according to the latest BrickVest commercial property investment barometer. In March 2017 nearly one in three (30 percent) selected the UK as their preferred commercial real estate investment location, down slightly from 31 percent in March 2016. BrickVest’s quarterly survey of 3,000 investors found that a quarter (25 percent) of respondents favour Germany as their second location of choice for commercial real estate opportunities, the same as last year. Less than one in five (18 percent) selected the US which represents a fall from 21 percent last year. The same number (18 percent) also selected France although this is an increase from 14 percent in 2016.
April 13, 2017
Australia can justifiably claim to lead the world in thinking about office design and management right now, but it may be coming at a cost as rents surge for high rise office space in its major cities. The cost of renting office space in the skyscrapers of Sydney and Melbourne (pictured) is rising faster than in any other major global city, as a lack of space pushes up rates. The costs of space have yet to hit the heights of tall buildings in cities like Hong Kong, but Knight Frank’s Skyscraper Index claims that the cost of renting space in the upper floors of skyscrapers in Melbourne had risen by 11 per cent to £40.98 per square foot per year in the six months to the end of last year, while those in Sydney had risen 10.1 per cent to £78.39 per sq ft.
April 11, 2017
London’s office workers are looking for shorter commutes, demanding more collaborative and networking opportunities while at work and better access to green space, retail, leisure and wellness; all of which could present a huge opportunity for the less congested outer London boroughs, a new report suggests. According to Savills latest London Mixed Use Development Spotlight, as employers and employees alike demand more from their workplace and their work- life balance, London’s outer boroughs could reap the benefits by providing greater flexible office space and affordable homes at a variety of price points. According to Oxford Economics, employment in sectors that tend to occupy co-working spaces is set to rise by 20,000 people in the outer London boroughs over the next five years, which equates to a gross additional need of 1.6 million sq ft (148,644 sq m) of office space.
April 10, 2017
Fresh concerns have been raised about the levels of investment by the UK’s local authorities in commercial property. New figures published by CBRE suggest that councils spent around £1.3 billion on commercial property in 2016, most of it borrowed from a Central Government scheme not designed for that purpose. The news is certain to raise alarm across the UK and especially in Westminster. In November of last year, a report from the Public Accounts Committee warned that the increasing scale of commercial activity taken on by local authorities carried a high level of risk and that the council employees and councillors making decisions often lacked the skills and knowledge needed to take on such projects. At that time, the Government put the level of activity at around £1 billion. The fact that this figure is now significantly higher and mostly borrowed money is sure to increase concerns.
April 5, 2017
Demand for coworking spaces is growing at an average of 10-15 percent per annum across all regions as firms look to cut their real estate costs by embracing the concept based on shared work spaces and collaboration. That is the key finding of a new report from Cushman & Wakefield. As the trend gains momentum, according to the study, developers are increasingly incorporating the aesthetic and function of such flexible working environments into mainstream building design. However the main driver of uptake continues to be concern about the cost of renting offices in prime locations and it is no surprise that coworking is focussed on major globalised cities.
April 4, 2017
Despite its reputation as the most expensive office location on Earth, commercial property investment in London’s West End has hit a record high of £1.93 billion in the first quarter of 2017, according to Cushman & Wakefield. The figure is up by 22 per cent on the five-year first quarter average, surpassing the West End’s previous record of £1.8 billion in 2013. The report suggests that interest from overseas investors and several large deals had boosted the figures, including the sale of the Facebook Campus and One Kingdom Street. Across the whole of central London, the total volume invested hit £4.18 billion – up from £3.7 billion in the same period last year and approaching the 2015 level of £4.6 billion. The City also enjoyed a strong first quarter, with total transaction volumes increasing nine per cent on the year prior to £2.25 billion.
March 31, 2017
While talent continues to reign supreme on the list of top concerns for US companies a growing number of respondents to CBRE’s annual Americas Occupier Survey cited economic uncertainty as a top challenge, up from 36 percent in 2016 to 52 percent. As a result, 87 percent of corporate occupiers report that they are managing to this uncertainty by disposing of surplus space and/or implementing more efficient workplace designs to prepare their portfolios for the future. Only 26 percent of respondents expect to expand their portfolios over the next two years, down from 38 percent in the 2016 survey. Approximately one-half of the 2017 survey’s respondents indicated that the size of their portfolios would remain stable with 2016 levels. However, while uncertainty is driving many real estate decisions, creating a workplace experience focused on talent remains top of mind for the majority of occupiers surveyed.