Concern is mounting over the escalating price of renting office space in central London, with the design industry complaining that it is being priced out of its traditional West End home.
In October, Westminster City Council published a report into the welfare of the creative industry in the borough, finding that the sector is struggling to afford to rent space there.
Recently, an office in St James’s was let out at £1500 per m2 per year (£140 per ft2 per year). Escalating accommodation costs are being blamed on the number of financial businesses entering the borough. ‘Mayfair and the West End are being targeted by hedge fund companies and this is pricing out design groups,’ says Andrew de Groose, managing director of Shoreditch-based digital consultancy De-construct. Perhaps the lowest rent in the borough can be found at Great Western Studios in Paddington, where companies pay £130 per m2 (£12 per ft2).
However, the development is scheduled for demolition to make way for Crossrail. Westminster City Council is attempting to find an alternative location for GWS, but manager Adam Withington says, ‘It is going to be very difficult to rehouse us and keep such a low rent offer – there simply aren’t suitable options available in West London.’