April 6, 2016
A new poll from Historic England claims that nearly half of Londoners (48 percent) think the now 430 tall buildings planned for the capital will have a negative impact on the skyline, compared to the 34 percent who think they will have a positive impact. The study also claims that more than half do not know how to make their voice heard. The figures were released as Loyd Grossman, Chairman of the Heritage Alliance, Sir Laurie Magnus, Chairman of Historic England and architect Sir Terry Farrell wrote an open letter calling for a clearer strategy on tall buildings for London. When asked which planning applications they would like to be consulted on, 60 percent believed people across the city should have a say if a tall building is proposed in a historically important place. But currently it is usually only those in surrounding areas who are consulted on proposals for buildings that may be so tall they affect views and settings for miles around.
March 31, 2016
Despite the challenging cost of real estate and general commercial life in Hong Kong, startup activity in the city has seen exponential growth in the last few years, fuelled in part by new and innovative approaches to occupying workspace. The conventional Hong Kong office market is, famously, the most expensive of its kind – making it challenging for small and medium sized businesses to enter the market via this form of space. Despite this, the region’s startup scene is booming. According to an InvestHK survey, over 1500 startups bloomed in Hong Kong in 2015, which is a 46 percent increase compared to the previous year. And those numbers are likely to keep growing. So the question is, how do cash-strapped entrepreneurs, startups and other businesses manage to establish a base in this thriving city, despite these challenges, and what lessons does Hong Kong’s experience have for the rest of the world?
March 22, 2016
Approximately 625,000 sq ft (58,063 sq m) of office space in Manchester is set to be refurbished over the next two years as the market responds to continuing demand. According to Savills, Grade B has accounted for an average of 62 percent of the city’s annual take up over the last 10 years, and with Grade A supplies running low the proportion could be even higher in 2016. Despite growing demand for Grade A office space in Manchester over the last three years, annual take up has consistently been under pinned by larger Grade B occupiers seeking to balance high quality offices with value for money. Savills also reports that the TMT sector has taken more Grade B space in Manchester than any other sector over the last five years, with deals totalling 710,889 sq ft (66,042 sq m); a significant increase on the 294,631 sq ft (27,371 sq m) of secondary space let to TMT occupiers in the previous five years.
March 16, 2016
Hong Kong is the world’s most expensive office location, followed by London, Beijing and New York.This is according to JLL’s Premium Office Rent Tracker, which compares like-for-like occupation costs across 24 cities around the world. This ranks Established World Cities such as New York and London, Emerging World Cities like Shanghai, Dubai and Mumbai, and New World Cities such as San Francisco, Boston and Toronto. The latest research shows that six of the top ten most expensive cities for office rentals are in Asia; with Hong Kong the world’s costliest office rental market on a net basis as well as including added costs such as service charges and property tax. The tracker found continued demand prime office space, despite a rise in economic uncertainty; while across the global cities, the technology, media and telecommunications sectors are moving into premium office space – previously dominated by the finance and professional services sector.
March 1, 2016
“Smart Cities” are emerging as a major force in China. According to a recent CoreNet Global report, China’s urban population surpassed that of the rural population in 2011 and it is estimated that by 2035 there will be more than 70 percent of the population living in urban areas. That urbanisation is creating more pressure for China to leverage digital technology to create smarter cities, which are defined as metro areas that leverage digital technology and intelligent design to facilitate sustainability, along with high-quality living and high-paying jobs. Initially, there were several ‘beachhead’ cities that embraced Smart City initiatives such as Hangzhou (above), Chongqing and Chengdu. Subsequently, the China Central Government issued clear guidelines to roll out smart cities in a systematic and more widespread way. While smart cities are definitely on the long-term agenda for China’s strategic planning, their impact on corporate real estate and site location decisions remains to be determined.
March 1, 2016
Last week we reported that the shortage of office space in London was driving up demand within the UK’s regional office markets. Now a new report claims there is under a year’s supply of Grade A space available in the regions which will result in rental inflation. Bristol and Cardiff are predicted to see largest rises at 12 percent and 9 percent respectively. According to Savills’ Regional Office Market Review & Outlook report, average take-up across the UK is currently at 4.6 million sq ft, and availability down 18 percent on 2007 levels. Although speculative development has risen by 129 percent over the last year to approximately 3.5 million sq ft, with 28 percent pre-let it is expected that this will largely be absorbed in first two quarters of 2016. This lack of available space has driven demand for value-add office opportunities to help plug the gap, with January 2016 marking the forty-first consecutive month of refurbishment activity.
February 11, 2016
Manchester could completely run out of ready to occupy, Grade A office space this year, according to a new report from Colliers International. The snapshot of the commercial property market in the city claims that take-up of space in Manchester during 2015 was over a third (37.5 percent) above a ten year average and the rate of occupation by both UK and overseas firms was double that of the previous three years. As a consequence, the local property market is currently unable to keep pace with demand and the availability of Grade A space declined by 61 percent during the year to reach its lowest level since 2006. There is now just 216,000sq ft of Grade A stock available to let in Central Manchester, with major new developments in the key Spinningfields district (above) and elsewhere not expected to complete until later this year and into 2018. Even some of these spaces are already let, according to the study.
February 4, 2016
The UK’s largest regional cities have produced twice as many startups as London over the last two years, according to research based on Companies House Data. The report, commissioned by office broker Instant Offices, compares the number of startups in each city to create a list of the country’s most entrepreneurial cities. The authors claim that the UK is now Europe’s most entrepreneurial country with over 2,644,100 businesses started within the last two years alone, according to data gathered from Companies House. The report cites the example of Liverpool with an estimated population of 440,000 and 57,323 new companies starting over the past 2 years. This results in an entrepreneurial population percentage of 16 percent. Birmingham’s entrepreneurial population percentage was 14.5 percent followed closely by Manchester at 14 percent. These numbers are significantly higher than the UK average of 2 percent and London’s 7.5 percent.
January 21, 2016
The automated world is far closer than many people suppose. Yet one demographic group that is less fooled than others on that particular score is the one now starting to make its mark in the workforce, suggests a new report. Amplifying Human Potential: Education and Skills for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, commissioned by Infosys from researchers Future Foundation, claims that 42 percent of 16-25 year olds worldwide feel their education did not prepare them for the world of work they are encountering for the first time with over three quarters having to learn new skills to meet the demands of employers. The report also claims that 40 percent of young workers believe their current job could be replaced by automated systems including robotics within 10 years. The report lands in parallel with a cluster of stories which highlight just how quickly the world is moving towards an automated future.
January 20, 2016
According to a new report from Navigant Research, the total number of identified smart city projects worldwide has grown from 170 in the third quarter of 2013 to 235 today. The report examines the current state of global smart city development, covering the related aspects of the smart energy, smart water, smart transportation, smart buildings, and smart governments sectors, segmented by region. The authors of the report claim that, as the benefits of smart cities become clearer, the number of projects and partnerships supporting the cause is rapidly increasing. In the last few years, city leaders, central government ministries, and technology and service suppliers have announced a range of new smart city initiatives, incentives, and product and service offerings, while more cities are moving from one specific technology interest to a broader range of solutions that have multiple applications.
January 20, 2016
The UK’s regional commercial property market has continued to improve on last year’s record levels of occupational take-up, with 9.6 million sq ft transacted in the Big Nine city centre and out-of-town markets during 2015, 20 percent above the five year average. According to Bilfinger GVA’s quarterly review of the regional office occupier markets this is the fourth consecutive annual increase in take-up and compares to an average of 6.6 million sq ft during the downturn years of 2009 to 2012. Take-up over the year was well above average in Birmingham and Manchester in both the city centre and out-of-town markets. Other markets where activity was well above average include Cardiff and Leeds city centres and the suburbs of Glasgow and Edinburgh. Fourth quarter take-up was dominated by above average activity in most city centres and a number of large deals in Edinburgh out-of-town.
January 19, 2016
Highly-skilled migrants are increasingly attracted to cities and regions rather than countries, the latest Global Talent Competitiveness Index has revealed. Silicon Valley, Dublin, Helsinki-Espoo, Dubai [pictured] and London are the real hubs, rather than the United States, Ireland, Finland, the United Arab Emirates or the United Kingdom. The index, produced by Adecco Group, INSEAD and the Human Capital Leadership Institute, ranks the factors driving the international movement of skilled migrants of 109 countries, covering 87 percent of the global population and 97 percent of global GDP. Switzerland is in top place, followed by Singapore and Luxembourg in second and third place. At seventh place, the UK is ahead of Germany and France, but behind top performers such as the United States and Canada. It also trails behind in terms of gender diversity; ranking 56th for female graduates and 71st for the gender earnings gap.