There is a lot happening in and around the Olympics Park just now, so time for a quick update on some of the more important elements.
I was at the launch yesterday of One Stratford Place, Westfield’s first 130,000 sq ft office headquarters development at Stratford City opposite the Olympic stadium. The developer plans more than 1m sq ft of offices at the site eventually.
A number of interesting things emerged, which I think again prove just how much is changing in the area.
Firstly John Burton, Westfield’s development director, suggested that some time around now the three millionth visitor will have been to Stratford City since it opened two weeks ago. That is a lot of punters.
Secondly, Westfield said it was under offer to lease more than 50% of the offices already. It refused to discuss names, but again that is a very positive sign that occupiers really do want to come to the site and the area.
As importantly, I learned that a number of very significant requirements have been looking at the remainder of the offices for as much as 400,000 sq ft HQ deals. One name that seriously looked at a move was EMA, which in August decided instead to stay at Canary Wharf and prelet 250,000 sq ft at 25 Churchill Square.
Property experts at the event said the big “game-changer” will be when a big Docklands tenant does decide to up sticks and move to Stratford. Why would they do that?
Firstly rents are between £10 and £15 per sq ft cheaper. Secondly, the site has a decent shopping centre and collection of sporting venues on its doorstep.
But most importantly the transport into the site is very good. I can vouch that it takes under 20 minutes to get there from Bond Street on the tube and the offices are directly outside the station entrance. Westfield’s Burton joked that a lot of people had arrived way too early for the function because they had overestimated how long it would take.
The big question is will it benefit the local population? Would be great to get some responses on this.
Anyway, my full story on the Westfield launch can be read here.