Bottom Line: Small deals need to grow into the big ones

Marc Sidwell
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THESE numbers show London can be proud of its status as a tech and media city. That said, the details are more complicated. In the core of the City, media and tech is just six per cent of total office stock, and an average deal size of 5,358 square feet (sq ft) indicates the relative scale of the firms involved.

Elsewhere it is a different story, but two mammoth deals are distorting the figures in their areas. The 860,000 sq ft Google deal at King’s Cross accounts for 70 per cent of media and tech take-up across the West End and Midtown in 2013 to date. As far as individual deals go, activity in 2013 is significantly down here, with current vacancies at their second highest level for nearly two years. Perhaps that has something to do with rents in the West End having risen by 18 per cent during the last 12 months.
Over in Southbank, rents are also roaring up: the average amount paid by media and tech firms rose by 34 per cent since 2011. As with Google, News International’s agreement to take 430,000 sq ft in the Baby Shard dominates the picture here.

There’s no doubt about tech central over in Farringdon, Clerkenwell and Shoreditch. It’s getting full in there. The vacancy rate has fallen to five per cent, the lowest level since late 2007. Apparently nearby Aldgate hopes to be the next Silicon Roundabout. But the real question is whether any of the small tech firms are growing enough to one day rent something the size of the Baby Shard?