A New Breed of Serviced Offices
Perhaps as a result of the success of initiatives such as Round Foundry in Leeds and the Media Centre in Huddersfield, some providers are aiming to provide something a bit more sector specific.
Bracken’s ┬ú25m Calls Wharf development in central Leeds is squarely aimed at those companies with a more creative bent. Located in the riverside area, which has already developed something of an ‘indie’ feel with its boutique hotels, designer restaurants and converted warehouses, Calls Wharf is already 50 per cent let only four months after opening.
Centre manager Denise McGeachy says: “We knew we wanted to do a serviced office building and make it stand out and be different, boutiquey, and at the high end.
“We were dictated to by the building, which has pillars and big windows. We are on site and it’s the only serviced office┬ábuilding we’ve got. We are not a global business. It’s very personal. It’s almost like a bespoke serviced office building. Calls Wharf is quite ‘cool and quirky’ having been fitted out to a very high level. It’s definitely a take on serviced offices that Leeds hasn’t seen before.”
Something similar is happening in Sheffield with the emphasis on quirky Plans for the Electric Works – part of the city’s Digital Campus next to the main railway station – include funky chill-out space, as well as free Wi-Fi zones, lockers for re-charging laptops and networking events. The building, aimed at creative and digital industry companies, will even include a slide to get from one floor to another.
Cherry Salt, director at Creative Space Management – the building’s manager – says: “Electric Works will be far more than simply excellent office facilities.
“Whether or not they take space within Electric Works, members of the creative and digital sector can join the exclusive Electric Works club. Here, for an annual fee they will have access to facilities that will be open 24/7.” It is due to open in the autumn.
Cath Blakey is general manager of BPG Consulting, a creative marketing consultancy based in Evans Easyspace business centre in Harrogate.
Her company moved into the centre last October from a traditional leasehold office and she says it was the right choice. “This was one of a few options for us, but you get looked after as a small company,” she says. “You get access to facilities, they answer the phones, and there’s free parking.”
She is also pleased at the flexibility in terms of office furniture and tenure. “We had a lot of office furniture, but they were happy to move their desks out,” she says, “We are on a month’s notice. But if we do grow there are other offices we could rent here.”
And cost? “You just have to watch out for extras because they add up with serviced offices,” she says. “But the offices are maintained so it is quite easy to do your budgeting.”