Writing for Business Advice, Cal Lee, head of flexible office marketplace Workthere, offers micro business owners a guide to London’s most affordable alternative working spaces, taking cost, culture and potential into account.
For startups and businesses looking to scale up or down, the cost of your office is often the key consideration when searching for new office space, be it co-working or serviced offices. It can also be quite an overwhelming task if you are not familiar with a city, area or the type of space that is available.
Below are some of the areas in London that offer a good value alternative to the more traditional office locations.
Borough (alternative to Southbank)
Southbank has increased in popularity over recent years particularly given it has seen a substantial rise (105 per cent year-on-year) in venture capitalist investment into start-up companies located in this area.
However, a lack of new office supply coming to the market in the last 12 months has resulted in a growing supply/demand imbalance, inevitably impacting serviced office rents, which have risen from £650 per person to £750 to £850 per person per month.
Situated just 10 minutes’ walk from London Bridge or one stop on the Northern Line, Borough is a great alternative to Southbank. Uncommon opened there last year and FORA is set to open there in early 2018 which, combined with the existing stock, provides some great value alternatives to those around London Bridge and Waterloo, with prices around £550 to £700 per person per month.
Borough offers a variety of great local amenities, including Mercato Metropolitano, a very popular Mediterranean marketplace.
Angel (alternative to King’s Cross)
King’s Cross, one of the principal homes for Google, has become the new employment destination for London, boasting both superb green space and an outstanding food and beverage offer with the imminent opening of Coal Drops Yard adding a further 250,000 sq ft of excellent retail space.
These contributing factors have generated a significant premium with serviced office rents rising to levels between £800 and £900 per person per month.
Angel, just one stop along the Northern Line, offers a competitive alternative with serviced office space around £500 to £600 per person per month. It also provides a vibrant mix of different bars, restaurants and cafes, making it one of London’s most popular areas to live. Both RocketSpace and The Office Group (TOG) launched in Angel last year providing space for ambitious start-ups to scale their business.
Aldgate (alternative to Shoreditch and Old Street)
Shoreditch and Old Street Roundabout remain the “kings of tech” and are home to most start-ups in London with serviced office rents ranging from £650 to £850 per person. However, Aldgate is increasingly proving an attractive location for those businesses seeking more value for money when it comes to their office.
Situated just south of Shoreditch and close to Whitechapel, Aldgate now offers a great range of amenities with popular local restaurants such as Culpepper and Yuu Kitchen. In the last year several new providers opened including Mindspace with its first UK location.
We have found that Aldgate is increasingly becoming a very popular location for start-ups and scale-ups and is a great option for those businesses that don’t want to comprise on quality with serviced office rents around £450 to £550 per person per month.
Victoria (alternative to Mayfair)
Mayfair remains the most expensive serviced office market in London, with prices around £1,100 to £1,200 per person per month. In the past 12 months Victoria has established itself as an excellent alternative, offering larger spaces as well as lower rents, which are in the region of £650 to £850 per person per month. LEO, TOG, Central Working and i2 Office have all launched new locations in Victoria, which has greatly increased the quality of available space and the profile of the area.
In addition, Victoria is seeing major regeneration with Landsec’s development around the station. NOVA, is now home to a variety of great bars and restaurants including Sticks’n’Sushi and Will Ricker’s Stoke House. For hedge funds or private equity companies seeking a more vibrant location than the traditional Mayfair, Victoria is a great alternative.
Vauxhall (alternative to Victoria)
If Victoria is still a little too pricey, then Vauxhall is another great option. It is only two stops from Victoria and the development around Nine Elms is really beginning to take shape.
Last year Apple announced its new HQ at Battersea Power Station, joining the US Embassy south of the river. With a selection of new providers entering the marketing in 2018, it is a great time to get into this market.
A prime example is Tintagel House, which TOG will launch in February 2018. Pricing from £450 to £600 per person per month.
The City (alternative to Shoreditch)
This might seem a strange suggestion as the City is considered one of the foremost and traditional office markets in the world. However, Shoreditch and Old Street are now so popular with start-ups that rents in serviced office space have overtaken those in the City.
The City has a significant amount of supply going into 2018 with many new centres opening around Bank, Liverpool Street and Monument in 2017. The result is that serviced office rents in the City have remained, if not dropped, a little over the past year and the market now represents great value compared to some of the other popular sub-markets in London.
On average more basic space is £500 to £650 per person, with premium space around £700. We are even seeing some start-ups and scale ups who moved to Shoreditch move back to the City to take advantage of lower rents.
Take a look at Workthere’s infographic guide to London’s alternative working spaces
Sign up to our newsletter to get the latest from Business Advice.