What was The Buzz in December?
Our monthly roundup of real estate industry news.
Here are a few of the stories that caught our attention in December. From London’s biggest offices deals in 2023, even more coworking brands popping up around the capital to the trends for 2024 (flexi offices, AI assistants, four-day weeks?), there’s a lot of discussion happening in the commercial real estate industry right now.
Deals inked: The 10 biggest central London office lettings of 2023
Avison Young has compiled a list of the 10 biggest deals in the capital and they collectively comprise nearly 1.6 million sq ft across central London. Companies committed to large new offices even as hybrid working remains popular, with a “notable revival” across different business sectors according to James Walker, principal and head of office leasing London markets at Avison Young UK.
Walker said: “Diversity and resilience are defining features this year, with the top 10 deals by size including occupiers from financial, retail, professional, corporate, tech, and insurance entities, all taking large quantities of space. Winners in this landscape include high-quality amenity-led buildings with strong ESG credentials, especially those strategically located near Elizabeth Line stations.”
AY has also observed a number of pre-lets signed due to a shortage of supply, and companies investing more per square foot in high-quality spaces while optimising overall space requirements. Read more.
Fora lined up to run flexible office space at Sixty London Wall
Flexible offices provider Fora is set to boost its presence in the capital and cater to solid occupier demand, after inking a deal to operate a chunk of space at Sixty London Wall.
The company merged with competitor The Office Group in September last year to create a business that collectively has more than 60 sites in London. Fora said it has signed a management agreement with landlord LaSalle Investment Management to run 33,000 sq ft of space at the building from the third quarter of 2024.
Enrico Sanna, CEO at The Office Group which Fora is part of, said: “In London we are experiencing strong demand, as employers acknowledge the need for premium and tailored office solutions that go beyond the conventional, one-size-fits-all work environment. This is an exciting addition to our growing portfolio of more than 60 locations in London and is a recognition that City workers are demanding more than a desk, they deserve the freedom and flexibility to work in an environment that caters to their individual work styles.”
Sanna added: “Best-in-class, well-designed workspaces boost employee wellbeing, recruitment and retention, as well as the reputation of the business itself.” Read more.
2024 workplace trends: flexi offices, hybrid headwinds and AI assistants
The average British person will spend a total of 3,507 days working over their lifetime. With so much of our time dedicated to the world of work, it’s important to understand the trends that are shaping it.
“Many places still haven’t found the right balance between home working and the office,” says Doug Rode, the UK and Ireland managing director at recruiters PageGroup. “So it will remain a dynamic conversation throughout next year.”
We may see more companies recalibrate their office requirements in 2024 as more expensive leases come up for renewal.
AI will also continue to disrupt the workspace in 2024. While many people became aware of the power of generative AI models, such as ChatGPT, in 2023, next year will see more businesses and employees integrate it into their daily workplace routines.
“AI is going to be everywhere,” said Josh Bersin, HR analyst, author and founder of advisory The Josh Bersin Company. “All of these workplace tools are going to be smarter and provide more information and advice… we’re just getting started with this. In a year’s time, it will be another order of magnitude better.” Read more.
Regal London makes co-working debut with platform at Shoreditch Exchange
Regal London, in partnership with Platform, a premium mixed-use flexible workspace operator, have launched their debut co-working brand Shoreditch Exchange, providing occupiers with co-working space, amenities and a community of like-minded people.
All spaces will be operated with a hospitality first approach on flexible terms with offices for up to 382 people on rolling membership terms and hot desks and meeting rooms all available to book by the day.
Research shows that there is 3.4 million square feet of central London offices under offer at the end of the third quarter of this year and that the well-documented flight to quality is clear, with amenity at the top of the list for occupiers. The premium co-working sector, including Shoreditch Exchange, attracts a wide range of businesses of all sizes who want to reap the benefits of a fully serviced offering and a range of comforts on tap to tempt employees back into the office.
Paul Eden, Co-Founder at Regal London said, “The launch of this first partnership with Platform at Shoreditch Exchange is an exciting development for Regal London. We are able to capitalise on the great location and reputation that Shoreditch Exchange has built up with local professionals and to bring together the expertise of each of our organisations to create a really exciting proposition whilst maintaining all the features that tenants love about the building so far.” Read more.