Category Archive 2018

Martin Levy ByMartin Levy

Co-Working – Stealth or sledgehammer disruptors?

Maybe it’s me because I’m at the coal face day-in, day-out but so many of my clients just haven’t appreciated the stealth of the WeWork co-working phenomenon and amazingly some still haven’t even heard of them. It’s a fact that WeWork is now the largest space taker in London and Manhattan too, thanks in no small part to a staggering £4 billion investment from Japanese conglomerate SoftBank and are reportedly worth more than £42 billion despite £1.2 billion in losses for the first 9 months of 2018.

Did you know that we’ve completed a total of 18 London office deals over the past 12 months, delivering over 70,000 sq ft of new business space to corporate occupiers?

What’s surprised us is that almost 23% were established clients moving from conventional leased offices to more efficient, centrally serviced co-working or managed space and that’s a trend we haven’t seen before.

With shorter lease terms and 3 and 5 year tenant breaks, more of our clients are asking ‘what’s all the fuss about ?’ Even British Land and Landsec are slowly turning the juggernaut around and launching their own versions to remain competitive with the more agile propco’s who were among the first to recognise the attraction of a bespoke build-out and instant fibre connectivity.

3 out of 4 of our new clients arrive from the US and are loving the new landscape as Knotel, Spaces, Convene and Fora join the elite providers by offering an array of fabulously stylish, community based facilities with open kitchens and coffee bars, terraces and break-outs.

We’ve seen that our clients are happier paying a premium all-in monthly rent for ‘turnkey’ space, robust instant broadband, leasing flexibility and scalable growth potential.

Co-working is not a panacea but we love what it’s done to disrupt the ‘cosy landlord’s clubs’ that had tenants queuing ‘cap and excessive security deposit in hand’ and that’s great news for tenants.

It’s a reality that the WeWorks of this shiny new world are now 21st century landlords but just another attractive option for our clients. It’s down to us to present the right balance on costs (including deposits and fit-out contributions) so come and talk to us about your office space needs and we’ll show you the very best range of options that’ll help retain your talent, keep them happy, engaged, motivated and profitable.

Martin Levy ByMartin Levy

Where’s Hot And Not: Q2/2018 + £5.00 + VAT for bringing a cup of coffee into our own meeting room ?!!

I thought I’d seen the lot in more than 40 years in real estate but even I was amazed when a highly valued US client received this email from their landlord – one of London’s leading co-working providers:-

‘The (£5.00) corkage fee is applied if you purchase your own external catering for the meeting room or you have gone to a coffee shop and purchased a round of refreshments specifically for the meeting. If one of your guests comes in with a ‘Starbucks’ coffee or any other external brand then of course we won’t charge a corkage fee for this as this is out of your control.’

Wasn’t that nice to receive within their first couple days in occupation despite having negotiated a 30 hour per month meeting room package as part of the deal ?

Look, service providers are in business and would monetise the air we breathe if they thought they could get away with it. In this instance they didn’t !

Just don’t get carried away by the glass, glitz and glamour surfing the co-working wave. Alright, it wasn’t a 60 page lease but it paid off handsomely for their solicitors and I to review the licence and the menu of ‘additional services’.

Before anyone else gets hurt, call me on 07968 191 233 for a personal perspective on the benefits of transparent, objective and conflict-free representation that will have landlords and building owners competing for your business.


Martin Levy ByMartin Levy

Negotiate my own rent review? I’d rather pull my own teeth!

That’s a direct quote from one of my valued clients.

I’ve made the point previously that landlords (particularly in London) are becoming anxious to agree early settlements against a back-drop of increasingly static rents due in no small measure to the inexorable rise in business rates (aka local property taxes). Since open market lettings represent the best possible comparable evidence when it comes to negotiating rent reviews, it pays to look even more closely at the range of tempting tenant incentive packages when analysing the all-important headline rent.

We know all the tricks, after all, we play the market every day and have recently secured dramatically improved rent free periods, significant capital contributions from reluctant landlords and even ‘muscled’ annual tenant breaks on a 5 year lease for a US client right in the heart of fashionable Shoreditch and that’s a first even for us.

Even though commercial rent reviews are customarily ‘upward only’ we’ve also successfully negotiated ‘upward or downward’ patterns which is enormously helpful during today’s challenging business climate.

Since we’re completely tenant-centric, call my mobile on 07968 191 233 for a personal perspective and let’s create a winning platform for your upcoming rent review or lease renewal.