It’s a bit of a catch-22 situation. London is the place to be if you’re looking to make a name for yourself in music, art, video and movie production, social content, and any one of the many fragmented sectors of new media. But being the place to be makes London highly sought after – and expensive.
Rents in London can be eye-watering compared with smaller towns and cities in the UK. The costs of even renting small studio spaces or desks can be too much for some companies to take on. But there is always a way if you know where, and how, to look.
We had a chat with one of Realla’s property experts, head of sales Matt Glenny, about how to go about searching for the perfect space and how you can do it without breaking the bank.
Location location location
London’s creative scene has gravitated towards the east of the city, to the new hipster magnets: Hackney, Shoreditch, Dalston. There are big benefits to being in these locations: the kudos factor if nothing else, but the fact that you’re rubbing shoulders with like-minded companies makes for lots of opportunities to win new clients and bounce ideas off other creatives.
But with the majority of work being done in the virtual world, do you really have to be where all the other media companies are, paying premium rents for the privilege? Not necessarily, says Matt.
He says: “If someone said they wanted to be in Shoreditch I’d tell them to think about alternatives. At least consider two or three areas like Clerkenwell, Old Street or Whitechapel.”
Cast your search net a little wider and you’ll find options all over London. Even the less trendy places are developing their own media hubs. And if you find something in an up-and-coming area you can say you were there before it was cool!
Know your needs
Once you’ve decided what neck of the woods you want to be in, you then need to think about the type of space you need. And this, Matt says, depends on a number of factors that are specific to you.
He says: “A lot of it depends on how much capital you have to spend. If you’re not taking a private office of your own you can rent space in a place that has a members’ club vibe, or you can go all the way down to renting desks in someone’s office. Media companies in particular often like to be around other media companies when they’re starting out.
“You can find a specialised incubator that’s full of companies like yours. It depends if you are happy to have open discussions and share space or if you want to be more private. It depends on what you’re like as an individual.”
Know the market
The voracious appetite for flexible office, studio, desk and meeting space in London has sparked an evolution of commercial property in the city. Landlords have embraced the change and the opportunities it brings. Matt says that London is arguably the “most advanced market in Europe for flexible space”, with a host of new specialist serviced office operators alongside the traditional landlords, who are themselves getting in on the action.
He says: “Things have changed over time. This started in the UK 15 years ago with people like Regis offering new types of space, and it’s diversified massively over the past six years. There are so many media start-ups; there’s much more demand from smaller businesses.
“And now WeWork and others are offering more hospitality-based services with food and meeting spaces, in line with what people want now.”
Realla has hundreds of flexible office listings in London, covering every requirement from a single desk to large studios, in the all the hippest areas. Check out our current list of serviced offices in Shoreditch to get you started!