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Canary Wharf could become the World’s biggest tech hub

by Peter Smyth Tech Journalist
14th Jul 20 6:47 am

As banks and corporations downsize their office requirements, large buildings in central London are being left empty and a new breed of entrepreneurs are waiting to move in.

“Huge landmark office buildings in London are slowly being emptied and it’s presenting an amazing opportunity for the next generation of entrepreneurs in London. Canary Wharf may well be repurposed as the largest community of tech entrepreneurs living and working together the World has ever seen”, according to Jonathan Ratcliffe from Offices.co.uk

Businesses have vacated 1m sq ft of prime office space in London since lockdown started, and the impacts are far reaching.

Landmark skyscrapers in the City of London and Canary Wharf have been hit very badly by trends started and turbo charged by Covid and Brexit. Morgan Stanley are reviewing their London requirement; Credit Suisse Group AG are giving up nine floors of prime office space and Barclays Plc is threatening to ditch its headquarters all together. The pandemic is simply finishing off the job for bank bosses as head counts were declining and layoffs common place – a total of 6m sq ft of office space has been lost in the last 9 years.

So, who fills the void?

The new generation of tech founders and entrepreneurs love to work from coworking spaces – look at the popularity of WeWork. They thrive in communities, love the energy of a working collective and are happy paying monthly fees for an all-inclusive workspace.

The trend though is not limited to offices – it also extends into cars, flats, food etc. The popularity of serviced living has grown massively in London, where for a fixed monthly direct debit you get a room with shared facilities – young people are already moving into prime London areas (workspace included), and it’s often cheaper, and massively easier than living outside Zone 2 or 3 and commuting in.

The choice of serviced offices in Canary Wharf is good, with providers such as WeWork, The Office Group, Orega, Landmark, Regus, Spaces already providing room for coworking, but the growth has only just started.

It is thought as landlords are forced to re-think their short and medium-term strategies, the voids will be filled by flexible office providers on medium term leases providing space for businesses switching from leasehold. Whereas whole vacant buildings will be redeveloped into flexible living accommodation.

“Canary Wharf is presenting itself as a prime opportunity for thousands of the World’s best entrepreneurs to co-work and co-live together – can you imagine the results that would produce for the UK. Working, living, and socialising all within a huge incubator type community, all 97 acres of it – it would be amazing”, concludes Jonathan Ratcliffe from Offices.co.uk

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