Investing in connected places

1QCS ExteriorWe spoke to Chris Hiatt of Landid, currently working on a refurbishment of One Queen Caroline Street in Hammersmith, about why they are in West London.

You have a strong presence in West London, why is that? What’s attractive about the area generally?

Back in 2013, we identified that the Western Corridor market, from Hammersmith to Reading, suffered from a chronic lack of Grade A office development coming through. As that market desperately needed the space, we set out a strategy of buying buildings along the M4 and creating high quality workspace for the upcoming generation of occupiers. This resulted in a portfolio of six office developments, two of which we have now sold (The Urban Building in Slough and One Valpy in Reading).

West London has a lot going for it – it is an established market with a whole load of talent living in Ealing, Barnes, Hammersmith, Shepherd’s Bush and Acton. What’s more, it is extremely well connected, with good existing transport infrastructure and Crossrail still to come in 2019.

West London is a series of towns and centres, all with their own personalities and attributes – which are particularly appealing to you and why?

1 Queen Caroline Street (3)Certainly Hammersmith has plenty of charm, the amenities there are exceptional and you have very easy access to the Thames. It’s home to cultural hubs like the Apollo and the Lyric Theatre, as well as an ever improving range of cafés, bars and restaurants.

Also, it is probably the best connected part of West London with quick access to Chiswick, Chelsea and the West End. Hammersmith is really on the up as a desirable location.

Chiswick High Road also deserves a mention; it’s consistently voted the best high street in London.

Take me through One Queen Caroline Street – what have you done to it, and what sort of occupier are you looking for?

Landid and Brockton want to deliver workplaces that meet the needs of the very best talent from within the UK workforce, and that aspiration is very much part of One Queen Caroline Street (1QCS).

1 Queen Caroline Street (5)Occupiers across all industries are finding cost and lack of space difficult to bear, and are looking westwards for a better deal. 1QCS has been designed to capture that market and has been revamped to provide large and flexible floorplates with space for collaboration and creative thinking. We have also installed 100mb/s broadband as standard, so any new occupier has instant access to super-fast connectivity. Each floor has been designed with ‘exposed services’ styling and a high level detailed finish. We have also installed a panoramic roof terrace with great views across West London.

One would assume that the TMT and creative companies would be the natural occupiers of 1QCS, but there is really no reason why financial or legal companies wouldn’t be perfectly at home there as well. The workforce has a completely different attitude these days, and tired, out of date offices are no longer acceptable to the current generation of businesses.

There’s been some talk about the Hammersmith Flyunder – cutting and covering the A4 – what do you think of that as an idea?

I think it’s a fantastic idea, but I am not sure it will happen in my life time. It would transform that part of London, and we would be super supportive if it were to happen.

What do you see as the key differences between One Queen Caroline Street and Charter Building?

Scale, firstly; The Charter Building in Uxbridge has been designed to have the largest speculatively floorplate in London at over 50,000 sq ft. We are actively looking for much larger users than for 1QCS.

Price is also a key difference, with rental cost estimated at mid-£30 per square foot for The Charter Building, versus £57.50 per square foot for 1QCS.

Are you looking for more opportunities in West London? If so, what do you look for?

Yes, we are always looking westwards!

The area is really well connected, and we are paying close attention to all West London sites that are touched by Crossrail – currently, Ealing is a stand out area.

We want sites where we can deliver high quality workspace that is well connected and has easy access to amenities (as well as the ability to place amenities within the building). They must be located in talent rich areas and can be delivered to the market by 2018.

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