Bromley office market: "Chicken or egg?"
by James Wood Thu 18 July 2013, 12:39 pm
An audience of around 45 people gathered in soaring summer temperatures yesterday evening [17 July 2013] at the Bromley Civic Centre to engage in a lively debate about the office market potential in the borough.
The event was organised by 3Fox International, with the debate chaired by the company’s managing director Toby Fox.
A panel included Councillor Peter Morgan, portfolio holder for renewal and recreation, Roger Miller, partner at property consultancy firm, Michael Rogers and Kevin Munnelly, head of renewal at the London Borough of Bromley.
Cllr Morgan spoke about the borough’s readiness for business, promoting Bromley’s progress in education, sport, expanding airports, connectivity and retail prospects.
On the potential for building new offices, he said: “We have the right population, right demand and the right education. We have all these things going for us and I believe that this is a place ideal for building speculative offices, particularly in South Bromley.”
Miller gave a detailed overview of the local office market.
"There is a perception that there is too much empty office space in the town that is proving difficult to let," he said.
"The problem Bromley faces in particular is there is a shortage of what may be described as Grade A accommodation for offices, with air conditioning, full access to raised floors, double glazed windows, good quality toilets and kitchens.
"There are probably only six buildings in Bromley that can be described as Class A and none are available at the current time."
This was later refuted during a Q and A session, with a developer taking the opposing view that there was plenty of better quality space available.
Miller responded: "There are no units of 20,000sq ft available and that’s what the market needs."
A debate ensued about what was referred to throughout as a 'chicken and egg' situation – the balance between larger space being available and being able to market Bromley as a place where bigger companies will look to as a place to relocate.
The animated office market debate was followed by the launch of the second issue of 3Fox’s Invest Bromley magazine, as part of a networking event.
Delegates included leader of Bromley Council, Stephen Carr and Marc Hume, director of renewal and recreation at the London Borough of Bromley, who spoke about the advantages of having the magazine to market the borough as an attractive place for inward investment.
Hume said: "We have a strong belief in Bromley as a business location and we aim to keep it that way.
"We are delighted to have Invest Bromley as it is an excellent chance to showcase the strength of opportunity for investment in the borough."
Carr said: "We have no doubt that Invest Bromley will come to the attention of a wide cross-section of people and this can only be a positive thing for the borough.
"For far too long we’ve had such determination and passion about Bromley without the means to be able to demonstrate its potential.
"This [magazine] will really help with that process."
Gold sponsors of Invest Bromley, Cathedral Group, were in attendance as well as Kay Woolcott, estates manager at the borough’s London Biggin Hill Airport, which is at the centre of the second issue of Invest Bromley and another top sponsor of the magazine.
She said: "There are many compelling reasons to invest in this borough, and this is clearly demonstrated within Invest Bromley."
The Bromley office market debate in full swing