Canary Wharf Office Space Moves Away from Financial Firms
According to the Canary Wharf Group, a new generation of business sectors are changing the face of Canary Wharf.
What springs to mind when you think of office space in Canary Wharf? Huge glass-clad skyscrapers, corporate offices and imposing properties packed to the rafters with big-name financial firms? Probably. But according to the Canary Wharf Group, all that is becoming a bit old hat – and a new generation of business sectors are changing the face of Canary Wharf.
Over the past 20 years, the Canary Wharf Group has developed over 15 million sq. ft. of retail, leisure and office space in Canary Wharf, transforming the previously derelict Docklands into one of the world’s most sought-after and valuable commercial property districts.
Now, Canary Wharf is changing. Smaller technology firms are seeking office space in this traditionally financially orientated area of London, and as John Garwood – group company secretary of Canary Wharf – says, this is influencing a new style of workspace.
“Twenty years ago lots of our clients were in the financial services sector and the demand was for technologically sophisticated buildings with big floorplates, so we built that space for them,” he said, according to Building Design.
“Now the market is changing. Demand is coming from other business sectors and we’re looking at a mixture of options to meet this new demand,” he said, adding that financial sector tenants are still expected to drive a large portion of demand.
Canary Wharf Group is reportedly reassessing development sites “in the light of changing market conditions”, and is focusing on the technology industry (specifically technology firms in the finance sector), as well as a number of other markets. For instance its Wood Wharf development, east of Canary Wharf, is “much more about creative, media and technology companies”. Ultimately, the Group appears to be designing solutions to attract new industries, and to appeal to companies at various stages in their growth.
Among the next generation of office space development, it’s expected that much smaller floorplates will be created, some as little as 650sq m or 7,000 sq ft – which is roughly a 90-workstation office in serviced office terms. So although this is a drop in the ocean compared to the vast office floorplates taken up by Canary Wharf’s financial institutions, the space is clearly designed for established medium-sized firms as opposed to smaller organisations or start-ups.
For technology firms that are looking to become established in Canary Wharf yet don’t want such large offices, nor the long-term constraints of a conventional property lease, there are a comprehensive selection of serviced offices in Canary Wharf that provide flexible office solutions. These business centres enable companies of any size, but particularly start-ups and SMEs, to gain a foothold and grow their presence in key London locations.
Despite this change in focus by the Canary Wharf Group, research by the Financial Times earlier this year suggested that the Docklands would become home to the largest concentration of bankers in Europe before the close of 2012 ΓÇô shifting the focus away from the City and with the larger floorplates available in the Docklands area highlighted as a key reason behind this relocation.