I recently commented on the challenges being faced by the retail sector which has undoubtedly contributed to a changing landscape on our high streets. It is well documented that the retail sector has endured a difficult recent period. However, reduced demand from bricks and mortar retailers has created opportunities for leisure businesses who can now be seen taking up high street and shopping centre space as Landlords seek to diversify and maintain income streams.
It seems that changing landscapes are not confined to the high street and shopping centres. The impact of Covid and switch to a hybrid working environment continues to impact upon demand for office space. This has been illustrated clearly in the news emerging over the last few days that HSBC may well be seeking to vacate its flagship Canary Wharf premises in favour of a footprint less than half the size. With the HSBC Canary Wharf building representing circa 1.1m square foot of space, this becomes a sizeable hole to fill. The residential sector has already taken up some of the slack but this is unlikely to present a complete solution. And it is unlikely to stop at Canary Wharf with many major towns and cities experiencing similar issues.
So what will become of such space? Will we see Canary Wharf tower becoming a mecca for bungee jumping, virtual darts and laser quest? Perhaps a little far-fetched but never say never! Will we see the City reinvent itself to become a leisure destination instead of purely a Monday to Friday business focused area? Will we see more diverse business sectors taking up such space, life sciences and medical services for instance?
An interesting period awaits. What changes do you foresee?
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For more information please contact Terence Ritchie.