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The mark that the banking and financial crisis, which began in 2008, has left on the UK’s capital is most notable in terms of property in the Canary Wharf district. Previously filled with banks and financial services companies, workers from the sector flooded in and out during the city’s rush hour. However, vacancy rates have increased over the last few years as banks have either reduced the amount of space they require as they tighten their belts, or, as many have done, relocated the majority of their workers to other, cheaper areas outside London.
While some of the space is being absorbed by the burgeoning insurance sector, Canary Wharf’s investors will be aware that things are not as they once were. The area, which was developed from derelict dockyards into a mini-town of skyscrapers with its own transport links, is experiencing decreasing rents due to the empty space and lack of demand. This is despite the already mentioned insurance sector and the technology, media and telecoms industry, which has also noticeably taken up space here. However, both these sectors are also drawn to other areas of the capital, which has led to the latest Canary Wharf development: an application for 3,100 homes, including 884 apartments, in order to create a neighbourhood that is more than a world of offices.
The site would be Wood Wharf, made up of 20 acres and the plans include shops as well as homes – both affordable and luxury – and offices, plus community necessities such as a primary school and healthcare centre. If permission is granted, it is expected that the first buildings would be completed in 2017, Reuters has reported. The investors will be hoping that such a development will prove attractive to Canary Wharf workers, allowing them to avoid the commute to and from work. The intention would be to create public spaces and recreation areas in the area, adding an entirely new dimension to the current business-orientated location.
This news was brought to you by Morgan Pryce, 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.