As work begins on Derwent London’s £105m White Collar Factory, could we be seeing the start of a new, more grown up Shoreditch?
Shoreditch: From makeshift to sophistication
When tech startups first began clustering in the area, the appeal lay in its affordability and the makeshift nature of the business space on offer. Who cares if the offices are polished to perfection, so long as you’ve got the space to do the work, the startups thought. The vibe was relaxed, the community informal.
Then came public sector support to help raise the profile of the area, formalising its identity as a tech hub under the Tech City banner. Google brought its Campus London co-working concept to the area, while Cisco, Facebook and Intel also made significant investments.
The number of tech startups surged; suddenly Shoreditch was one of the most sought-after locations in London. As a result, the price of office space has risen and the business dynamic is changing, leaning towards better funded and higher profile startups. Shoreditch is no longer the destination for shoestring budget space.
In its place is springing up a new wave of sleeker, more sophisticated offices, suitable for growing businesses and those startup successes ready to move onto the next stage in their business journey.
White Collar Factory: the shape of things to come
Described by its developers as “beautifully usable and adaptable no-frills” workspace, the White Collar Factory will bring 270,000 sq ft of new office space to a site just off the Old Street Roundabout. At the core of the site will be a sixteen-storey office block which will be complemented by the redevelopment of several existing buildings.
However, it isn’t the exterior of the building which has been generating the buzz. Inside, it promises to offer businesses space which is both cutting-edge and retaining a warehouse style, all of which will has been specifically designed to match the needs of tech companies.
In essence, it will be a purpose-built version of the converted warehouses familiar to Shoreditch startups.
Serviced offices – part of the Shoreditch shift
While the White Collar Factory is one high profile example of this new style Shoreditch space, the trend is expanding to serviced offices too.
The latest business centre to launch here is a design-led space carefully planned to include a boardroom, multiple meeting rooms, and a business lounge. There might be a laidback vibe to the offices, but they’re anything but makeshift as this designer interior packed with business facilities proves.
Serviced office providers are, like leased space developers, changing the face of Shoreditch by creating higher grade, more sophisticated space to supplement that already on offer. Altogether, they’re signalling a shift towards a more mature, better established Tech City. In many ways, this makes sense: Shoreditch is growing up, alongside the startup businesses which have helped to put it on the map.
Read more on Shoreditch here:
- What’s Next for Shoreditch?
- Focus On: Office Space in Tech City
- Looking for an Office? 5 London Business Locations to Watch in 2014