Bloomsbury, London

Bloomsbury blooms as infrastructure investment leads to strong occupier demand

Unprecendented improvements in accessibility provided by the Elizabeth Line (Crossrail) at Tottenham Court Road Station strengthen Bloomsbury's already strategic location adjacent to Covent Garden, Soho and Holborn.This ongoing investment has paved the way for a revitalised office sub-market in central London as occupiers and investors compete for a slice of the action.

The area, broadly defined as from Tottenham Court station across to Holborn station, up to Bedford Avenue and down to High Holborn, is transforming into an emerging hub for business and culture. New office developments in the area have been met with high levels of demand and significant rental growth.

The quality of stock being delivered has led to new occupiers relocating to the area. The Avenue, a 71,300 sq ft development by Ashby Capital, Exemplar and The Bedford Estates, completed in Q2 2017, is now fully occupied after six months with travel fare aggregator website Skyscanner, alongside bookmaker William Hill, recently committing to the building. Nearby developments The Post Building (Brockton Capital/Oxford Properties) and 1 New Oxford Street (TH Real Estate) have also pre-let a significant amount of space to management consultant McKinsey & Co and Swedish retailer Cos respectively.

At Smart’s Place, Savills is advising Morgan Capital Advisors and AXA Investment Management on the disposal of their stylishly remodelled and extended 40,000 sq ft Grade A office building which will be available from late 2018. Other new developments hoping to accommodate further migration into the area include Derwent’s One Soho Place, where development is expected to commence in the second half of 2018 on a 285,000 sq ft mixed-use scheme.

The area’s retail and leisure offer is also changing. Acting on behalf of Derwent, Savills has introduced Planet Organic, Hotel Chocolate, Waterstones, Oasis and Marie Claire’s new beauty retail concept at Tottenham Court Walk. Across the road at The Avenue, British lifestyle brand Cath Kidston is in situ, alongside Danish bakery Ole & Steen and Dutch homewares store Hema, while at the new Centre Point Plaza, confirmed restaurants and retailers include Sushi Samba, Vapiano, Blacksheep Coffee and Pret.

As part of The West End project’s £26 million investment into Tottenham Court Road and station, there has been a concerted effort to improve the public realm in Bloomsbury, including a new park on Alfred Place, a new plaza next to Centre Point and landscaped public space to be introduced at Princes Circus. The project aims to transform the area into a safer and more attractive neighbourhood for residents, boosting business and creating new public spaces for the community and visitors to enjoy.

There have also been improvements to pedestrian crossings and walkways to allow visitors to the area to linger, while a £41 million re-routing project by Camden Council will change the one-way systems on Gower Street, Bloomsbury Street and Tottenham Court Road into two-way, tree-lined streets.

Full of leafy squares, Bloomsbury boasts beauty and history with the 30-acre estate of Bedford Estates, the largest private landlord in the area, owned by the Russell Family since 1669.

The area is also home to the University of London along with various healthcare institutions. As such, Bloomsbury has the heritage and architecture similar to that of the West End, while new office developments and an evermore vibrant retail and leisure scene create an environment that is also appealing to businesses located in the City.

Bloomsbury is where east meets west in central London and everyone is watching how it will perform in the next few years.

Further information

Read more: West End Office: Market Watch

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