Westminster Office Space ΓÇÿLostΓÇÖ
Over 4m sq. ft. of office space in and around Westminster has been ΓÇ£lostΓÇ¥ during the last decade according to research from property consultancy firm H2SO, with many of the office buildings being converted into homes.
Published in the firmΓÇÖs research study “The ‘Lost’ Offices of London’s West End”, H2SO reveals that of the converted office space in Central London, around 75% has been converted to residential accommodation, while the remaining 25% (1m sq. ft.) was converted into hotel, leisure and other non-office uses.
With a further 1.8m sq. ft. of Westminster office space seeking planning permission for additional conversions, the property firm suggest that the trend of turning office space into other commercial property uses is not likely to disappear in the near future.
Between 2004 and 2009 however, this loss of supply in the Central London office market was apparently off-set by the construction of new office developments ΓÇô with more than 3.2m sq. ft. of office space reportedly constructed in and around the Paddington area.
In the heart of the West End however, the off-setting effect of new office schemes has apparently not taken place, with and estimated net loss of over 320,000 sq. ft. of office space occurring during the same five year period.
“The trend for office buildings in London’s West End being converted to other – primarily residential – uses gained momentum more than a decade agoΓÇ¥ explained Paul Smith, Partner at H2SO.
“Today, the proliferation of residential accommodation is accelerating significantly again as the value of high-end residential outstrips cooling commercial values. Many period office buildings that started life as private homes are struggling to find commercial occupiers. This presents the opportunity for residential conversion, and the planners have generally looked favorably on such proposals.
But as Mr. Smith went on to explain, the loss of office space could be good news for the office space market throughout the West End:
“While on the face of it this apparent loss of stock might appear to be bad news for the West End office market, it should actually be welcomed as it repositions a whole raft of buildings back to their appropriate use, brings new life to them and also funnels demand to the office buildings that work best for contemporary occupiers.
“The trend puts the West End in better shape to meet the needs of those who either want to do business or live in the location.”