Unused Office Space in London is the Equivalent to 17 Houses of Parliament
London currently has 20.2 million square feet of unused office space, a 3.3 million rise since 2020. This is because of the pandemic, the lasting effects of it and the increasing popularity of hybrid working, combined with sky high rent prices has made office working less appealing for businesses and their staff.
Come the end of 2021, the commercial rent price in London hit the highest in Europe, according to Statista, making the future likelihood of office space decrease even less likely.
The Numbers Behind the Scenes
As we need to utilise the sheer number of unused office space to rent in the city, not-for-profit organisations have compared the quantity of empty space to famous London landmarks. The data shown has said that London, as a whole, has a staggering 20.2 million square feet of unused space, totaling at least the area of 17 Houses of Parliaments.
The area of London with the most amount of space available is the City of London. Whilst the area has around 27,365 businesses residing within it, such as the UK’s leading financial and insurance companies, it does actually have 5.91 million square feet of office space available for rent. This can be compared the size of 98 St. Paul’s Cathedrals.
The West End doesn’t actually fall that far behind, with a close 5.85 million square feet available office space, equivalent to 75 Buckingham Palaces. This doesn’t come as any surprise with this specific area of London is the priciest for commercial rent, with office spaces going at a rate of £117.50 per square metre. However, in the Docklands, there is available office space to rent, equaling the size of 91 Westminster Abbey’s and in the Southbank area, there is office space equivalent to 84 Royal Albert Halls.
Reluctance to Invest
Moving away from those shocking statistics, there are still quite a large amount of business have doubts about investing in office space since the pandemic. However, the usage of meanwhile space is quickly becoming a beneficial strategy for combatting empty commercial units. This is where the Utilize Project introduces itself. A non-profit social enterprise that has a mission of helping neglected neighbourhoods take a big U-turn, by using resources, connections and drive to ‘do good’ and breathe life back into any vacant spaces.
The founder and director of The Utilize Project, Mahmud Shahnawaz explains that “empty commercial property brings with it a realm of issues for the community, from increased crime rates to poor local economies.” In turn, spaces can build themselves up by creating a community, growing local economy, creating jobs, reducing crime and put life back into the high streets. They can also provide many opportunities to SME’s, who cannot compete with the current rent prices in London, to have their chance at a start.
There is upwards of 22,500 commercial units that have been empty for at least 6 months. The Centre for London have insisted that meanwhile space schemes can provide invaluable benefit for all landlords, developers and local communities. Given the trajectory of current times and uncapped rising commercial costs, there are predictions that even more office spaces will become available throughout 2022, making the concept of meanwhile spaces even more important for keeping London communities alive.
Have you got a business down in London and are in need of office space to rent? Well, it may be worth taking up some of the available space across the capital, there is enough to go around! If you need any help, London Offices are here for you, give 020 7166 7981 a call now and we’ll lend our helping hands.