New life grows in the shadow of the tower : The Market : DOCKLANDS A SP ECIAL REPORT
The up-turn in the commercial property scene has not been confined to C anary Wharf. David Lawson reports on the growing market
Wednesday 25 January 1995
Docklands has emerged as a bolthole for financial groups, squeezed out of traditional locations by lack of space or frightened away by IRA bombs. Ulster peace talks have eased the pressure but this could be more than balanced by companies who view the dwindling amount of new City space with growing alarm.
When Docklands was first turned into an alternative office location, the City responded by allowing more building. But investors have been slow to respond to the recent erosion of supply in central London. The Jubilee Line has also finally spurred companies into considering moving out.
Jones Lang Wootton charted active demand for more than 2m sqft of space and almost 3m sqft of potential inquiries late last year. If the big lettings to BZW and Morgan Stanley in Canary Wharf go through, JLW says this would cut the vacancy rate to 30 percent compared with 46 per cent in December 1993.
"We have had more people down here asking about sites than for the last five years," says Mike Bignall, development director for the London Docklands Development Corporation.
He is talking to three groups looking for sites to build between 50,000 and 250,000 sqft of space they feel they will not be able to get in the City. And Canary Wharf is not a second-best option.
"They want distinct buildings with their own identity rather than disappearing into a big complex. They also feel current land prices are good value," says Mr Bignall.
Sites being inspected include four acres on Poplar Dock and about 1.5 acres on Millwall Dock. Companies realise they have to look now because once the handful of LDDC sites are gone there will be little left of any quality. They must also harden up plansnow to have a chance of moving in by the time the new tube line opens in 1998.
One site on East India dock, near the Financial Times printing works, could be taken off the list if NCC takes up an option to purchase, following up its existing office development.
Owner-occupiers are leading the hunt. Franklyn Mint took advantage of rock-bottom prices to buy and convert 105,000 sqft of South Quay, taking 40,000 sqft for itself and probably farming out the rest. Financial groups are the big players, however. They need dealing floors and deeper office space than they can get from developers.
Retailers and hotel operators are also active. Apart from the massive Royal Docks plans there are proposals to review 1.2m sqft of retailing at Gallion's Reach near the aborted East London River Crossing. Property Securities Investment Trust should be onsite this year with a scheme for a 105,000 sqft retail park near the Surrey Quays Shopping Centre.
Southwark Council has a scheme for a leisure complex with London & Bath Properties at Canada Yard and at least a couple of hotel operators want to get into Docklands now it is filling up with businesses which need visitor accommodation. Whitbread is alsoworking on a bed-and-breakfast-style scheme at Beckton, which is well placed for the M11 link.
Life & Style blogs
Half of young women unable to ‘locate vagina’ and 65% find it difficult to say the word
Is Apple's iCloud safe after leak of Jennifer Lawrence and other celebrities' nude photos?
Porn film production 'must stop in Los Angeles' after actor tests positive for HIV
Anal sex study reveals climate of 'coercion'
The science of saturated fat: A big fat surprise about nutrition?
Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: Labour Home Office to be probed over what Tony Blair's government knew - and when
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Ashya King: Parents of five-year-old boy refused permission to visit him in hospital and denied bail at Spanish court
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
When elitism grips the top of British society to this extent, there is only one answer: abolish private schools
Ukip Douglas Carswell defection: Tory MP jumps ship to join Nigel Farage
- 1 Half of young women unable to ‘locate vagina’ and 65% find it difficult to say the word
- 2 Perez Hilton apologises for Jennifer Lawrence naked photo leak
- 3 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 4 Mexican woman becomes world’s 'oldest person' at 127
- 5 Jennifer Lawrence 'naked sex video' will be leaked threatens 4Chan celebrity photo hacker
£40000 - £50000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: SQL Impl...
£45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: SQL Technical ...
£85000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Head of IT (Windows, Server, VMware, SAN, ...
£55000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Lead C# Develo...