City office floorspace surges as developers back the Square Mile’s future

The City of London Corporation has today (9 March) revealed that, so far this year, it has given planning consent for the equivalent of almost 80% of the total office floorspace it approved for the whole of last year; demonstrating the City office market remains resilient despite new ways of working being adopted throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

The City Corporation’s Planning and Transportation Committee has this year resolved to approve more than two-million square feet (190,297 sqm) of office floorspace within Square Mile developments. That compares to a total of 2,582,348sqft (239,908 sqm) of office floorspace approved in all of 2020.

Office floorspace approved this year comprises of 366,016sqft (34,004 sqm) within the scheme at 55 Gracechurch Street, 785,679sqft (72,992 sqm) at 70 Gracechurch Street and 896,644sqft (83,301 sqm) at 2-3 Finsbury Avenue. All three tower developments embrace health and wellness trends, while they also offer break out and flexible spaces to encourage collaboration and innovation in the post-pandemic world.

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic the City has also continued to be an attractive location for business owners with many, including Arcadis and IPG Mediabrands, confirming plans to relocate to within the Square Mile.

Additionally, the City Corporation recently revealed there were around 818 new start-ups across the Square Mile in 2020. 48% of City of London start-ups were in financial, professional and associated business services and 9% were in tech.

Chair of the Planning and Transportation Committee at the City of London Corporation, Alastair Moss, said:

Many City businesses have adapted relatively well to working from home, but demand to return to the office is certainly growing. We are increasingly hearing that workers are growing fatigued with remote working and employers are also keen to get back to the office once Government restrictions are eased.

“The City has been able to adapt through the last year based on many years of connections and relationships grown in an office environment and, whilst there can be more flexibility going forward, the tried and tested ways of working pre-pandemic look set to continue.

These development figures show a vote of confidence in the City office market. In many ways, it is not surprising that developers, investors and occupiers recognise the ongoing opportunity that the Square Mile represents given our enduring fundamental strengths and our ambitious plans to make the City an even better place in which to work, live and visit.

“The City will remain a magnet for world-class talent, as we embark on exciting plans to increase its attractiveness with even more culture, leisure and great spaces.”

Chair of the City Property Association (CPA) and Senior Vice President – Developments at Brookfield Properties, Dan Scanlon, said:

“Even before the pandemic, the City was undergoing a transformation with a rapidly expanding cultural, retail and leisure offer, alongside enhanced open and green spaces for people to relax in and enjoy.

“The Square Mile has evolved from a purely financial centre to a much more diverse and global business eco-system, with creativity, innovation and technology at its heart. It is these attributes, coupled with the City of London Corporation’s ambition and investment to accelerate and deliver meaningful change, which is driving investor confidence in the City’s post-pandemic renaissance.

“Companies big and small need to attract talent to remain competitive, and the City will remain the place for people to meet, converse and collaborate.”


Notes to Editors:

The quoted figures relate to office floorspace only, not the total floorspace of the developments which have been resolved to approve.

The City of London Corporation is the governing body of the Square Mile dedicated to a vibrant and thriving City, supporting a diverse and sustainable London within a globally-successful UK. www.cityoflondon.gov.uk

City Property Association (CPA) is a not-for-profit membership body and advocacy group representing the leading owners, investors, professional advisors and developers of real estate in the City of London and its neighbouring commercial districts.

Established in 1904, the Association has over 150 corporate members, including nine FTSE 100 and 250 companies. www.citypropertyassociation.com