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A major new development scheme is about to begin, adding a new set of offices in Old Street and contributing to the ‘Silicon Roundabout’. The Old Street roundabout will be turned into a technology hub in a massive development that will cost over £50 million, and which it is hoped will act as an incentive to draw more business into London.
The £50-million project will be designed to include exhibition space and free workspaces as well as space with sufficient capacity to hold events. The concept is to provide a new venue where there is an opportunity for people to share their new and creative ideas – available to the small start-up business as much as to larger international bodies. This would be the largest space of its kind within Europe, w tech companies can come together and share information.
The idea has already had an impact on large international companies who are being attracted to offices in Old Street. The American multinational company Cisco Systems, which specialises in designing and making networking equipment, is taking an active part in the development of the Silicon Roundabout. Cisco Systems is working with University College London and the Beano publisher, DC Thomson, with the intention of constructing the building for technology and media companies in a way that makes it easier for them to share their creative ideas. It is hoped that this centre will attract more media and design companies to London.
The Microsoft Corporation also sees the future of the Silicon Roundabout as worth investing in and is playing a part in the redevelopment process of this part of East London, primarily improving offices in Old Street area.
With major organisations such as Microsoft and Cisco Systems being in on this £50-million development, the scheme is exactly what the prime minister, David Cameron, has been backing in order to attract more businesses into London and to facilitate jobs in the technology sector.
Many believe, however, that this new scheme may not necessarily have the desired effect, as rents for office space around Old Street will be driven up. This will naturally out-price many of the smaller firms and so drive them away from the new tech and media hub.
Sally Brough, Associate Director at Morgan Pryce, believes that this will not be an issue, saying, “although rents will rise they will not reach the high levels of the West End so as a result media companies will continually move out into Old Street and Shoreditch, especially as they are attracted to the warehouse-style office commonly found there.”
“Old Street also has a lot of void space which can be developed,” Sally Brough continues. “Surely if the Silicon Roundabout is a huge success this could trigger yet more development in the area.”
Many people believe that the Silicon Roundabout scheme could indeed be a success story. As major corporations have got on board, their support could help London gain a new reputation for being the media and tech centre of Europe, which could contribute to the survival of the economy.
Morgan Pryce is a specialist tenant acquisition agent with offices in Oxford Circus and the City. Morgan Pryce specialises in search, negotiation and project management and works exclusively for tenants.