London’s property development: For the good of the city or damaging?
It hit the news this week that 9.2 million square feet of London’s office construction has picked up pace, with final construction due to finish, collectively, over the next three years.
Central London currently has the lowest level of available office space for 6 years, even though they have had £21 billion invested in the Centre’s property in 2013. So, is the City just responding to demand, or will this push the City’s population even more to the brink? What are the positive and negative implications of such a large-scale construction?
On the plus side
According to a recent survey by Deloitte Real Estate, from the 9.2 million square feet, 45% is already let, showing that there is obviously a demand for space here, and it won’t sit empty once completed. The new office space will offer more choice in location and style, which is an attractive prospect in a city in which you currently take what you can get.
With only one construction site in the City of London, and the rest in surrounding areas, this gives London an opportunity to build up areas which currently need development, giving them an opportunity to thrive in their own right, like the Silicon Roundabout area, now a thriving tech city, thanks to recent development and funding.
After the double dip recession in the UK, this development is beneficial in aiding the economic recovery. The new jobs it will create, both for craftsmen during construction or for businesses with their new office space, would be beneficial. And with flexible working on the rise, a larger number of small businesses can rent space; it’ll be a more affordable option for them as fewer desks will be needed.
Recent regeneration projects, such as around King's Cross, Docklands and Elephant and Castle have proven successful, and upcoming areas, such as Battersea, obviously have faith in the projects as they are planning and already developing flats, shopping areas and a new Underground station to accommodate their rising population.
Is it sustainable to demolish 4.5 million sq ft, in order to make room for new office space? Why don’t we upcycle? It would also save a lot of time if renovated what already exists in the capital, and they’d be able to offer more space quicker.
And, with this amount of office space about to become available, will other UK cities see even more of a decline in workers and businesses, as they move to the capital for the wealth of opportunities on offer? Cities like Birmingham and Manchester, which are just starting to develop specific industry hubs, will see more spare office space and a dent in their economy.
And, with so many new ‘glass and steel’ buildings popping up on the London skyline, is London going to hide and disrespect the historic nature and attraction of its capital? It should be taken into consideration where the capital will find the space to build shops, homes, schools and doctor's surgeries for this influx of new residents.
There’s a lot going on in the City and there will always be investment and growth, but, realistically, what will the implications be of such a major level of change in such a short time? Does the City need this to get the economy back on track or will this just create more problems? What’s your view? Why not drop us a line below and tell us whether you think this is good, bad or a mixture of both and why.