Central London offices 'popular with IT firms'
IT and telecommunications companies took up 1.3 million sq ft of central London offices in 2011, an increase from 640,000 sq ft during the previous year.

Some of the big-name companies that acquired space in the capital last year included Google, Lastminute.com, O2, Apple, Facebook and Expedia.

This doubling of demand from the technology sector means the long-term outlook for the central London offices market should be positive, Knight Frank noted.

Indeed, the increase in take-up came as the availability of central London space declined by 1.5 million sq ft, bringing the amount of free office space to 16.8 million sq ft.

While the Shoreditch/Old Street roundabout area is a popular destination for IT and telecommunications companies, deals were also struck in Southbank, Fitzrovia, Farringdon, Clerkenwell and Covent Garden.

According to Knight Frank's Silicon London report, there were nearly as many deals for new London offices in the W1 postcode as there were in EC1. However, being as close as possible to the centre of the capital is important.

"There are clear business advantages for technology and telecoms companies to choose London including access to capital via the City, an unrivalled talent pool and access to a truly global marketplace," the publication noted.

One of the more recent deals in the technology sector saw O2 Telefonica purchase the former flagship West End offices and retail space of Barratts, the collapsed shoe store.

The 3,800 sq ft of space spread across two floors at 297 Oxford Street, which underwent a £400,000 transformation in April 2010, was snapped up by the telecommunications giant in January.

In addition, Telefonica is preparing to move into 51,000 sq ft of West End offices off the southern end of Regent Street in the AirW1 development. The space will become the headquarters of the firm's new digital division.

Posted by John Evans

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