Demand for space in Docklands takes off

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The Independent Online
MORE Docklands office space was let in the year to March than in the two previous years, according to Michael Pickard, chairman of London Docklands Development Corporation, writes Tom Stevenson.

Tenants were found for more than 800,000 sq ft, confirming a shift in the fortunes of the development that for years has been dogged by its perceived inaccessibility and lack of amenities.

The residential market also picked up with a fall in empty flats and houses from 600 to 68.

Next week the LDDC will announce whether Barratt or Wimpey has been chosen to build up to 1,800 new houses in an urban village planned for the Royal Docks near London City airport.

A separate competition to win the right to build a 1 million sq ft exhibition centre, also in the Royal Docks, has drawn up a shortlist of four potential contractors.

New tenants during the year included Texaco, Credit Suisse First Boston and Sainsbury's SavaCentre, bringing to 55,600 the number of people working in the former docks.

In Canary Wharf, the area's flagship development that came out of administration during the year, more than half the offices are now let. By the autumn, 13,000 will be employed in the former Olympia & York scheme.