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Clare Hudson
Clare Hudson
  • 2 Minute Read
  • 11th March 2011

Empty Office Space Solutions

“Behind the glitter is an awkward truth: The lights are on, but almost nobody is home”. China Digital Times

What is the solution for empty office space? 4 months ago, statistics showed that 16% of office space in Central Croydon was vacant. Similarly, as much as 21% of Silicon Valley’s Class A office space remained unused in 2010. Similar stories can be told for Dubai and Shangai.

How many office/ commercial spaces remain empty in your area? Some buildings remain derelict or unoccupied for years. What is the reason? It may be tough to find companies to rent the space due to location, government cuts or simply a decline for the need of serviced office space. But surely, there’s an alternative. Good quality space shouldn't be left to deteriorate. said, “A basic tenant of business is that if you lose your customer base, find another one”. In the U.S.A many property managers are starting to get revenue for their unwanted space by renting to non traditional clients, such as local religious establishments and youth groups. Such groups could be charged 50% of the original leasing price and the facilities could be donated for free. This could then mean you are entitled to tax write-offs for donations.

Another idea is the urban farm. Non-profit groups, community centers or schools may be interested in renting the space to grow things. A great example of a successful office space urban farm is Pasona 02- human resources firm in Tokyo. Employees take it in turns to tend daily to the rice paddy and other vegetation. As a result, team skills and communication are improved, employees learn new things and interact with each other in new ways.

Perhaps urban farming will become commonplace in the future? After all, the end result is fresh vegetables grown locally which could potentially be served to school children, the local community and the homeless. But can it be done on a low budget and how would a profit be made? Can this sort of work be done by non farmers?

Another idea I have come across is renting the spaces out to party planners, community groups and local schools. Some Business Centers spend a large sum of money on outside amenities and park areas. Could some of this space be rented out for events?

Could some spaces be converted into learning institutions or schools? Three years ago, Bristol Cathedral Choir School became the first school to convert an empty office block into a space for teaching. Ty Goddard, chief executive of the BCSE said "We all see buildings that are a blight on our daily lives. I’m saying, local authorities: wake up to the massive assets you have in your portfolio.' Lots of buildings are going to waste. We’re looking at the potential for them to be refurbished to provide more learning spaces".

London architecture student Jonathan Gales has an interesting solution. He believes that predominantly unoccupied skyscrapers should be reconstructed to allow for increased green spaces at staggered heights throughout the city. He said that this would create an increased capacity for the city’s “urban lung”.

Gales even goes as far to say that instead of sending all the scrap metal and glass to landfills, a more sustainable and ideological idea would be to re-purpose some of the old skyscraper buildings by re-crafting them into an underground tomb to honour the skyscraper and all that it represents. His design can be seen in the image above.