CoStar Analysis: WeWork soaring up the table of London’s biggest ‘occupiers’

By Mark Stansfield Chris Johns - Tuesday, November 14, 2017 10:24

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WeWork’s seemingly relentless accumulation of office space in London is pushing the co-working provider high up the table of the capital’s largest ‘occupiers’, according to CoStar’s tenant and leasing data.

Following another 300,000 sq ft of lettings last week, as reported by CoStar News, WeWork has now taken more than 2.2m sq ft of office space across 30 buildings in London (see map below). The firm is now one of London’s biggest occupiers. Indeed, when WeWork takes ‘occupation’ of all the leases it has signed – including its 285,000 sq ft pre-let at Two Southbank Place in 2018, in what will be the New York-based firm’s largest global office – WeWork will have overtaken the likes of HSBC, Barclays, and the BBC in the table of London’s largest ‘occupiers’ of office space. It will sit behind only the UK government as the second biggest ‘occupier’ of offices in the capital.

Although not an office occupier in the true sense (hence the repeated uses of inverted commas in this article), the rapid expansion of WeWork is startling given the firm made its first acquisition less than four years ago. The firm’s business model is based upon acquiring space, refitting it in its signature style, and then subletting it to small, largely tech-oriented businesses and start-ups, who increasingly favour co-working, flexible space over more traditional leases (which appears to have had a detrimental impact on vacancies in London’s smaller buildings). Some commentators have expressed concerns over the sustainability of such expansion, questioning what will happen when rent-free periods come to an end and how the space will perform during a downturn. However, the firm’s activity has certainly offered a boost to leasing in the capital in the last couple of years amid wider occupier uncertainty.

Other big risers in the table of London’s biggest occupiers in recent years are tech giants Amazon and Google, both of which now sit in the Top 20 tenants of office space. For more information on London’s top occupiers please get in touch or log on to CoStar.

mstansfield@costar.co.uk and cjohns@costar.co.uk

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