Officebroker.com have today published an article about the increase in enquiries for virtual offices. Given the current economic outlook and the increased demand for flexible office space, this is hardly surprising. It does seem to indicate that the marketing message is getting across, however I imagine there is still some way to go before most people would be able to explain what a virtual office is. There could be some problems for the industry however. What if more people are set on choosing a virtual office, will that mean less will take a serviced office? If this was the case then providers and brokers would both lose out you could argue. Or if there were no virtual offices, would people not bother to seek workspace and therefore not start their business as they perceive it as too expensive? Hypothetical questions, but remember that it would be hard to maintain a growing business or more than 2/3 people virtually.
Two major companies, Shell and Tesco Personal Finance are close to agreeing a grand total of 190,000 sq ft of office space in Glasgow. Shell is rumoured to be close to relocating to Property Groupâ€™s 141 Bothwell Street at a proposed rent of Â£28 per sq ft. This would mean a deal of over 90,000 sq ft of office space. The company currently resides on Gordon Street with it’s HQ in the Hague, but has not made a final decision yet. If they do agree, it would equate to 90% occupancy at the building, as PWC took 28,000 sq ft earlier in the year.
Tesco Personal Finance are also alleged to be closing in on 100,000 sq ft of office space in Glasgow. Last year they took 47,000 sq ft at Interpoint in Edinburgh, but are thought to be considering moving to Broadway One. Tesco bought out RBS’s Â£950 million stake in the Joint Venture in December last year. It is now looking to open “Tesco Banks” in a small number of it’s supermarkets.
Just under 44,000 sq ft of office space was let in Q1 of this year in Glasgow – a fall of 50% on last year.
North America, with a national GDP of $14.3 trillion, is the biggest economy on the planet. This means that it is also the biggest office market on the planet. With serviced office space representing a tiny fraction of overall workspace globally, perhaps less then 5%, this is a massive opportunity for the industry. Despite the fact that there is likely to be serviced office space in every major US city, and perhaps even in the not so major ones, there is still I feel there is (as in the UK) a lack of understanding over what serviced offices actually are.
Staff at serviced office company Avanta are going to run in a 5.6 Km race to assist in raising money for UK children’s Charity “Sparks”. This will form part of the JP Morgan Corporate Challenge 2009.
Anna Haslam of Avanta said â€œOur team is made up of ten people from across our 18 business centres.” They are hoping to raise over Â£1,000 for the charity. Avanta, who have been involved with the Charity for a number of years, have also confirmed that they will again be sponsoring Sparks Race Day at Kempton Park in September. Paul Connew of Sparks said that Avanta, in whatever event they take part in, always went the extra mile for the charity and that every penny raised made a vital difference to the children and babies who will benefit from the money raised.
Good luck to all those involved!
UBS is mulling a decision over whether to reduce the amount of office space it leases at Broadgate in the City of London. The company has already had to make staff redundant at the scheme earlier this year. At the same time, it is believed that the company wants to build on land it has opposite this location.
The alleged reduction in the amount of leased space could cause problems for the owners British Land who want to sell a stake in the scheme. To put things into perspective, Broadgate is the owners biggest singular asset and was responsible for about 33% of it’s total income in 2008.
Reading legal company Shoosmiths has assisted Regus with the launch of a free legal helpline The service can take calls during the day about legal enquiries. It forms part of a wider initiative, the “Get Started” programme which lets start-up companies in the UK get free use of Regus business centres and services.
Mark Dixon, CEO commented thatâ€œIâ€™m delighted we are able to work with Shoosmiths in this way, providing additional services to our thousands of UK clients.â€ Regus have been working with Shoosmiths for the last 4 years. They also worked with worked with Alan Corcoran and Rose Donoghue as part of the wider scheme. Donoghue said: â€œThis is an excellent new service and one that weâ€™ve thoroughly enjoyed helping Regus to launch.â€
The Four Points Centre, at the intersection of FM 2222 and RM 620 in Northwest Austin, have landed another major tenant for their building. The software development company THQ, who have a HQ in LA, have agreed a lease totaling 33,000 square feet. Speaking on behalf on the landlord, Mark Greiner said the even in the most challenging economic conditions, the building managed to attract interest from major companies.
The building has 200,000 square feet of office space, 270,000 square feet of retail space and 550 residential units. In the future however there will be 1 million square feet of office space, as well as additional retail space plus a hotel. The deal is remarkable due to the fact that this area of Austin has seen steep rises in office vacancies of late.
Spinningfields has landed another coup by securing more office space from the General Medical Council. They will rent another 10,000sq ft in 3 Hardman Street. This is on top of the 50,000 sq ft they confirmed they would rent back in January. Steve Jones from GMC said that the extra space would allow them to station extra services in Manchester.
Mike Ingall, chief executive of Allied London said that the recent success was due to the prestigious location as well as the flexibility on offer.
So another success story for Spinningfields, is this scheme invincible?
easyOffice is expanding it’s network of serviced offices. easyoffice has enlisted the help of Devono to help increase it’s portfolio of centres from four to a target of over 30 by Autumn 2010. The majority of these new centres will be in London. easyoffice chief executive Mark Smith said: â€˜The market is right for this. There are deals that hitherto would not have been offered to serviced offices. And there is still demand â€“ this country is full of entrepreneurs and they will keep on coming.â€™
easyoffice, which started from one business centre in Kensington, now operates in Camden, Mayfair, and Glasgow. It is also believed to be wanting to open centres in Cheshire and Nottingham. The company will be both buying properties and well as looking for lease or profit share agreements. Mark Smith revealed that to rent an office with easyoffice, tenants need not put down a deposit and could rent a desk from just Â£70 per week. The company will continue to provide office space for entrepreneurs and start-up businesses.
Mark Smith said that people knew what to expect with the easybrand. He gave an insigt into his daily working life – â€˜I have a weekly meeting with Stelios. The first question is who we have signed this week. It is always entrepreneurs, such as a language person, a property person, finance â€“ we love that.â€™ Although the current plans are for the UK only, the company has not ruled out European expansion.
In a period of crisis, most of the leading businesses are trying to cut down their costs. Through the recent plans forwarded by a leading serviced office company, they would be providing less prohibitive leasing agreements for the high quality office space delivered.
The group would be providing workspace for businesses at a rate of Â£100 per month, which would include the space and various other amenities along with it. These flexible deals concerning the office space available are much more efficient than the long term leases.