March 8, 2014

The Shard is finally getting tenants but is still only 30% full

Dolapo Omidire

The London Bridge Quarter (LBQ) currently includes two 2 buildings (The Shard and The Place) in the South Bank region of London. It was developed in a bid to create a new commercial district in what has been described as one of London’s most significant transport interchanges, London Bridge.

The Place (Baby Shard) and The Shard

The Shard, a part of the LBQ, is an 82 floor building that is currently the tallest building in the European Union. The entire project was developed by London-based entrepreneur Irvine Sellar and a consortium of Qatari investors.

The development, especially the Shard has received a lot of criticism regarding its ability to secure office tenants. In 2013 Sellar promised that the entirety of the development would be fully let by the end of 2014 but that was looking rather unrealistic. Thankfully last month a statement was released by the LBQ stating that it was now more than 65% leased. This comprises a vast range of tenants that include restaurants, a hotel along with a number of office tenants.

Tower Bridge and The Shard

Fortunately, News UK (The Times, The Sunday Times, the Sun, Dow Jones Wall Street Journal and HarperCollins) has taken out a 30 year lease on the The Place building. However, most eyes are fixed on the Shard’s office space, and with 70% of the Shard still laying vacant, many are curious if Sellar can deliver on his promise.

The statement released can be found below,  it first appeared on the Shard’s website.

The LBQ, the fastest growing new district in the Capital, has announced a strong start to 2014, letting almost 600,000 sq ft of office space.

London Bridge Quarter overall is now more than 65% leased, just a year after Boris Johnson officially opened its doors to the public. Almost 600,000 sq ft of the office space is now let across the estate, with additional advanced discussions underway with a number of further occupiers.

  • News UK has taken a 30-year lease for The Shard’s sister building The Place at London Bridge Quarter – the state-of-the-art 430,000 sq ft. office building directly opposite The Shard and London Bridge Station, designed by Shard-architect Renzo Piano. The Place at London Bridge Quarter will become home to a host of high profile media brands such as The Times, The Sunday Times, the Sun, Dow Jones Wall Street Journal and HarperCollins. Around 3,500 – 4,000 staff from these businesses will start moving into London Bridge Quarter from this summer.
  • The Shard, today confirms six additional tenants, equating to 170,000 sq ft (30%) of office space now let. The Shard is now half full.

Existing Shard tenants include fashionable restaurants Oblix, Aqua Shard and Hutong at levels 31-33, the soon to open five-star Shangri-La Hotel at levels 34-52, popular visitor attraction The View from The Shard at 68-72 and M&S Simply Food and Cafe Nero at station concourse level. Six new tenants comprise a mix of international businesses across a variety of sectors – media, leisure, hospitality, retail, banking, energy, law, and venture capital. This is aligned to its strategy of creating a diverse, vibrant and prosperous business and visitor community that is sustainable over the long term, and makes a significant contribution to London’s role on the international stage.

Six companies have leased space:

  • New York-based investment bank Duff & Phelps already occupy 17,500 sq ft. on level 14 at The Shard
  • International media group Al Jazeera are fitting out 27,700 sq ft. of studio and office space on level 16 at The Shard, and plan to commence broadcasting from late summer
  • Intellectual Property Lawyers Mathys & Squire are fitting out 28,400 sq ft. of space on level 15 of The Shard, to occupy from late spring
  • Energy company South Hook Gas has leased 15,000 sq ft on level 28
  • Venture capital group Foresight has leased 9,500 sq ft on level 17, with plans to be in occupation later this year
  • The world’s largest hospital group HCA will occupy 70,000 sq ft. on levels 4, 5 and 6 of the Shard, with plans to commence fit out works later this year

Irvine Sellar, Vice Chairman of REM, and Michael Baker Chief Executive Officer of REM commented, “Following its one year anniversary we are proud to say that The Shard has become not only a celebrated part of London’s skyline but also a popular business, tourist and dining destination”.

Neil Prime, Lead Director -UK Office Agency, Jones Lang LaSalle commented: “The strategy for the Shard has always been to attract a community of different sector occupiers at best rents, and as such we remained patient through the downturn of the market to protect the integrity of the asset.

Dan Gaunt, Head of City Leasing of Knight Frank commented, “Interestingly, News UK’s decision to relocate its high profile media and publishing brands to London Bridge Quarter this summer has created a substantial media village in the area – alongside News UK’s brands, Al Jazeera will commence broadcasting from The Shard this summer, the FT and IPC media giants are already close by, and an increasing number of PR and advertising agencies are emerging. This can only strengthen the area’s popularity and attractiveness to the worker community.”

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