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Ow. Ow, ow, ow.

Occupancy rates are less than half pre-Covid levels in the UK, at around 35pc, according to Remit Consulting. This compares with typical pre-pandemic levels of 60pc to 80pc.

Commercial office space might not be the right place to be right now…..

15 thoughts on “Ow. Ow, ow, ow.”

  1. Landlords of shops, warehouses and office blocks have been engulfed by a perfect storm of post-pandemic working patterns, sharply rising interest rates, and the exorbitant costs of new green regulations.

    None of this will get better until the last Conservative MP is killed and eaten by lions.

  2. More people working at home. Buying stuff online. Not enough housing.

    “Convert offices to houses”.

    Infrastructure’s all there – mostly a simple conversion job.
    (This does not counter what Steve said)

  3. But of course the value of commercial property is collapsing. You don’t think all those local authorities would have invested in something sound do you?

  4. “mostly a simple conversion job”

    I read an American recently who said it’s far from simple and often the best idea is to demolish and replace. In a rational world the decision would be a simple matter of practicality and economics.

  5. I know, let’s build a railway that will make journey times to some commercial office space slightly quicker.
    That’s bound to turn it around.

  6. “Infrastructure’s all there – mostly a simple conversion job.”

    I doubt it. Office buildings won’t have been designed to have utilities supplied to multiple points on the same floor, there will undoubtedly be different building codes for office space vs residential etc etc. Given the demand for housing if it were simple I’d expect owners of half empty office blocks to be doing it without any prompting, but they aren’t, so it very likely isn’t.

  7. Well, in the UK, you can convert without planning permission. Or at least without the tedious version of it. So, people are. And then everyone complains…..

  8. DM

    Wrong choice of words I accept – lots of factors involved obviously, location, use values, type of structures etc (and I wouldn’t agree with “often the best idea” for the same reasons). Hence: “In a rational world” – Yep.

    My point was more essentially the obvious one: UK politics, the never ending swamping etc.

  9. Jim

    I agree, but if those occupancy rates become permanent, values “might” then shift to make it perfectly economic. The point being two problems with the one solution – if there was any will.

  10. @ Steve “None of this will get better until the last Conservative MP is killed and eaten by lions”

    I too used to believe in this sort of thing but I now realise how wrong I was.

    Lions kill their prey before eating them. Far too easy an end.

    Bears – particularly grizzly and polar – do not bother to kill their prey. They simply hold them down and start eating them. The end result is the same of course but the prey has longer to think of their sins.

  11. PF, not as simple a job as you’d think.

    Office space is built with a completely different level of use per square-unit-of-choice in mind, with completely different considerations regarding partitioning and noise levels.

    There’s a solid reason office buildings are either completely demolished, or completely stripped to the bare carcass when they’re converted to appartments.

  12. @PF – “Infrastructure’s all there – mostly a simple conversion job.”

    If you look at a floorplan for a custom built multi-story commerical building, you’ll find there is likely one toilet area, maybe one or two showers, and a few kitchenettes. There’s also probably no major barriers except around the lift/stairs area and toilets. To convert to residential, this requires distributing the services, and installing good internal walls to provide privacy. But the floors are cast reinforced concrete, so installing plumbing, moving sewage about is a bit tricky. The building will have been designed to run only power and communications cables to arbitrary points – which can be done through a false ceiling.

  13. The Lonsdale building in Birmingham crossed my work radar last year.
    Former drapery warehouse converted to office spaces decades ago.
    The owners thought they could now convert to residential – the snag was that it didn’t satisfy the requirements for office to residential so planning permission was refused – ‘cos one of the office areas was a gym, and another area wasn’t commercial office either. Either way, the regs didn’t allow the conversion.
    Council now bankrupt. Got no idea what’s going to happen to the planning application next, presumably evict the gym when current agreement ends, change use to office with a pretendy tenant as patsy, and apply again,

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