There's somewhat of a battle going on over in the West End, where the conversion of office space into homes is set to be challenged. Apparently Westminster Council doesn't want to lose any more commercial desk space at the hands of residential developers.
Agents and developers supporting the transformation of offices into new homes say that many of the period buildings they come across such as in Covent Garden, Soho and Marylebone aren't fit for work purpose anymore. They cite the demand for open plan workplaces and agile environments over small, singular offices as a good reason to re-purpose - often taking the building back full circle to its original residential roots.
"Offices want open space, and workers don't care about the history. But the buyers do," is one indicative comment in the argument. It can also be contested that developers have the money to lavish on restoring and preserving period details and original features.
Westminster Council only has to look over the border in Camden Borough to see how the office landscape should look in the 21st century. The Interchange is pioneering three co-working office hubs - Utopia, Atrium and Triangle - giving workers modern spaces designed by DRS under Tom Dixon, a ready-made business community, communal cafés and restaurants, and facilities that boost employee engagement.
Here at London Residential we love Camden Town and Kentish Town's mix of period dwellings and listed buildings that are lovingly looked after by residents, juxtaposed with new, modern offices ready to embrace today's way of working. We think it strikes the right balance.
Since 2011, developments have risen in price by 87 per cent and the average price per sq ft in these boutique conversions is now £1,800. In the past four years, 1.4 million sq ft of office space has been turned into 1,300 homes, and 1.8 million sq ft of office space is currently under conversion.