Innovation City Seeks to Lure London Start-Ups to Olympic Sites
Infinity SDC Ltd.’s Innovation City affiliate is trying to lure tenants to offices built for the 2012 Olympics and away from London’s Soho and Shoreditch areas as competition for commercial occupants heats up.
Innovation City, a data-center venture between closely held Infinity and developer Delancey Estates Plc, plans to turn the Main Press Centre and International Broadcast Centre at the Olympic Park in east London into about 1 million square feet (93,000 square meters) of office space after the games. It plans to lease the facilities to technology companies and to add a data center after being chosen for the task last month.
“The rents that we can charge are quite low,” Innovation City Chief Executive Officer Gavin Poole said in an interview. “If you look at some of the discussions and some of the reports coming out, particularly around the Shoreditch area and Soho area, the cost of office space has gone astronomical.”
U.K. commercial real estate values fell for the seventh straight month in May and have stagnated during the past two years as Britain’s economy weakened, Investment Property Databank Ltd. said in June. The average value of stores, offices and warehouses declined 0.5 percent from April, IPD said. Total return, which combines changes in real-estate values and rental income, was zero for May, compared with 0.2 percent in April.
The media centers in London’s Stratford neighborhood are accommodating 20,000 journalists during the Olympics. The Broadcast Centre will have 95,000 square feet of offices and 575,000 square feet of commercial space available after the games. The Press Centre will have almost 317,000 square feet of offices. Around 47 percent of the space has been pre-rented and Innovation City may add 500,000 square feet of offices, according to Poole.
The commercial rents begin at 15 pounds ($23) a square foot and can be as much as 35 pounds a square foot, Poole said. Monthly rents for prime offices in London’s West End averaged 92.50 pounds a square foot last year, broker Knight Frank LLP said in a March report.
To contact the reporter on this story: Chris Spillane in London at firstname.lastname@example.org;