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Belgravia is located in the West End of London in the City of Westminster and is home to a number of large embassies which are located around the areas of Belgrave Square and Eaton Square. Belgravia features some of the most elegant and expensive houses in the world, and is one of the most fashionable places in which to own a home in the capital. A large proportion of Belgravia was originally owned by Richard Grosvenor, the second Marquess of Westminster. Many developments were erected in the area during the early to mid-nineteenth century – starting in 1820. Much of the area is still managed by the Grosvenor Estate, which is owned by the Duke of Westminster. Some of the most prestigious shops in London are found in Belgravia, with Sloane square, Knightsbridge and the Kings Road only a stone’s throw away. With many attractions in and around the area such as Hyde Park, Buckingham Palace and the Royal Court Theatre on Sloane Square, Belgravia is the natural home for residential property. So is there an office market?
Offices in Belgravia belong to a variety of different styles, ranging from townhouses to new-builds and loft space. Thomas Lax, a senior agent at Morgan Pryce, advises that rents start at around £45 per square foot and can reach as much as £75 per square foot for the better buildings, with business rates ranging from £11 to £22 per square foot. With allowances made for service charges, an all-in cost per square foot for offices in Belgravia can be estimated at £41 to £75. The transport links do allow for commuters to get to the area easily enough, as well. The nearest underground tube stations are: Sloane Square, Zone 1, which is served by the Circle and District lines; and Victoria Station with the Victoria Line and mainline rail services. There are also a number of 24-hour buses operating in the area, along with an almost constant flow of taxis, while a national coach service operating routes to and from the rest of the country is available in nearby Victoria.
However, John Eden of Morgan Pryce believes that the short supply of office space in Belgravia is decreasing further as “buildings in the area are increasingly being converted from office space to residential, just because they are worth so much more as residential”. According to John, landlords are increasingly looking to change the use of their buildings as there is a much greater demand for residential use, with planning precedents already set for change of use from office blocks to residential.
The lack of take-up of office space in Belgravia by tenants will also concern investors. They may be apprehensive that, with the potential relocation of Coca-Cola and Disney from nearby Hammersmith, Belgravia could suffer a similar fate, with the whole district turning fully residential.
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 the tenant.