Tech-type firms have, for a long time, been victim of being lumped together as one sector, with property agents talking about these companies moving “east” of the capital.
Often to rather confusingly entitled areas known as the City “fringe” or the “northern fringe” – names that make you think of a haircut rather than a specific place.
These areas are actually Clerkenwell, Shoreditch and Aldgate; and at the launch of a new report last night, property consultancy firm JLL declared that it will drop its “fringe” labels and resume calling these areas by their proper names. Hurrah.
JLL’s report, aptly called Understanding Digital, also points out that while many of these companies moving to the area are collectively known as “tech” – very little are involved in creating new technology, apps or software. “These aren’t really tech specialists - its people using existing technology to create disruptive business platforms or advising companies on their disruptive effects,” JLL’s head of UK research Jon Neale said.
After getting these misconceptions off their chest, JLL goes on to explain exactly who is working in these creative, trendsetting areas. As the heat map below shows, Clerkenwell is emerging as the home of media and advertising agencies to rival Soho and Fitzrovia.
The arrival of Crossrail at Farringdon will completely transform the area and with advertising and marketing agencies increasingly wanting to be closer to digital firms nearby such as content providers and social media specialists, JLL expects to see a further wave of companies moving to the area.
Shoreditch is where digital media and creative digital companies cluster. There is a definite group of companies operating websites or developing apps and software but they also only represent around one in five of companies who moved into Shoreditch over the three years to the end of 2013, by floorspace. The remainder of lettings are from a wide range of sectors, notably media, but many do have connections with the digital economy
Aldgate, JLL says, is a much smaller office market and is in some ways an extension of the City market. But it is also the home to a growing number of financial technology (fintech) companies and specialists in big data. A number of large-scale developments in both office and residential sectors are set to transform the area and turn it into a market in its own right.