Stellar Market Performance
21 March 2019
The past year has been an exceptional period for the centre of London from King’s Cross down through Covent Garden and across Midtown.
With the opening of the Coal Drops Yard shopping and leisure scheme and a continued flow of new office occupiers signing for space, the King’s Cross Central development continued to mature as one of the capital’s most vibrant hubs. Coal Drops Yard has brought together 100,000 sq ft of high-end shopping, restaurants and bars. Tom Dixon, Paul Smith, Barrafina, Wolf & Badger and Samsung are just a few of the brands in an eclectic mix of offers that have made a home under the magnificent Thomas Heatherwick-designed ‘kissing lips’ roof. Its opening coincided with the completion of further residential schemes at the development including The Gasholders which has seen 145 new apartments fit inside the frames of the old Victorian gas stores. Meanwhile, the flow of office occupiers into the area continues with Sony being the latest corporate tipped to be taking a new 124,000 sq ft at 4 Handyside Street.
Covent Garden has had a quieter year. The emphasis – as befits the area’s identity – has been on residential, retail and food. Luxury jewellery brand, Tiffany & Co, has agreed terms to open a flagship store on James Street highlighting how the calibre of shopping in the location continues to upgrade whilst still being able to attract hipper brands like sleepwear retailer, Desmond Dempsey. Looking forward, one of the most important influences on Covent Garden will be at its southern boundary where Westminster City Council are consulting with regard to a £28m redevelopment of the eastern end of Strand and Aldwych which would include a new plaza around the St Mary Le Strand church and improved public spaces including small squares and “activity zones”. This will increase the existing vitality of Covent Garden and create a connection through to both the South Bank and east to Fleet Street and beyond.
Overall Midtown had a stellar 2018 in terms of market performance. Investment into the area hit a 10-year high with transaction volumes of £4.99bn. This was mirrored by an equally buoyant occupier market. The total volume of space let during 2018 reached 2.8m sq ft – which was well above the long-term average – while availability dropped to 1.4m sq ft. This was 28% below the corresponding point in 2017.
The central area of London which these three locations encompass continues its upward trajectory. They are at the heart of the Capital’s creative and diverse spine and are attracting an ever-wider range of business occupiers with new development across all sectors including a greatly enhanced range of restaurants, bars and leisure.