Shard “Vertical City” Vision: Getting Closer?

The Shard SE1 South Bank

With the news that The Shard has secured three more tenants, could the vision of a “vertical city” within the skyscraper become reality?

Among the latest tenants to take space in The Shard is financial advice specialists Arma Partners who will move from their current Mayfair address into 10,500 sq ft of space on the twenty-seventh floor. They will be joined by an as yet undisclosed global drinks brand which has taken the remaining 4,900 sq ft of space on the same floor.

The third tenant to agree terms on space is Warwick Business School which has chosen the skyscraper as a high-profile location for launching its London presence. It will take 12,000 sq ft of space on the seventeenth floor. Work will now commence to fit it out as classrooms and meeting rooms which the business school will use to host students on its MScs in Finance and Human Resources.

While some commentators might say that allowing a business school within its walls is yet another sign that The Shard is struggling to attract traditional office tenants, representatives of the building have announced the news as another step towards their vision of a “vertical city”.

Indeed, The Shard is already set to house a healthcare facility, following a deal signed last year with private healthcare firm HCA for 85,000 sq ft of space spanning floors 4, 5 and 6. Initial plans for the facility are for the provision of out-patient treatment, although planning permissions which have been sought by the company suggest that in-patient care may form part of future plans.

According to Irvine Sellar, Vice Chairman of REM, and James Goldsmith, Leasing Director for REM, there are now eight property classes to be found within the skyscraper, and they will continue work towards “the vision of creating a vertical city comprising a vibrant community of occupiers from across multiple sectors.”

From late summer this year, media organisation Al Jazeera also plans to be broadcasting from the skyscraper.

While the building’s three latest tenants have taken a combined 27,400 sq ft of space, the majority of the 589,000 sq ft of office space within the building is still available.

However, it is a different story across the London Bridge Quarter as a whole, where space is now two-thirds let. This includes the offices within the Baby Shard – recently renamed the News Building – which is fully let to News UK, and the wide range of hotel and restaurant space within The Shard which is continuing to prove popular as a tourist destination.

As the London Bridge Quarter continues to thrive, London will be watching to see which tenants are next to take space in its iconic skyscraper.

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