Virtual Site Visit, 20 Red Lion Street, London, WC1
4 March 2021

Forward-looking office space

This virtual site visit to 20 Red Lion Street in London’s Midtown was the second conducted by the SPR during the Covid pandemic, following in the footsteps of last summer’s event that focused on the Edinburgh St James development.

The tour was hosted by former SPR chair Tom Duncan of Mayfair Capital, owners of the newly refurbished office building, and led by James Proctor of Allsops, the letting agents for the space.  The property consists of 37,000 square feet of space across six floors and the refurbishment involved stripping back to the frame, adding an additional storey and extending to the rear, as well as applying new facades and finishes throughout.

James used the interactive 3D graphics package developed for marketing the space to give a clear impression of its look and feel.  Starting at the top of the building, it was possible to appreciate the views of the City from the terrace surrounding the 6th floor, even if we couldn’t feel the cool March breeze.  Access to the fresh air combined with the glass box construction of this floor adds a premium of £5+ per square foot over other parts of the building, he noted in response to an audience question.

While the lower floors have now all been let to tenants including the Swiss tourist board flex office provider Work.Life, the upper floors are still being marketed.  Some of the space has been speculatively fitted out with reception, breakout areas and desk seating as this is demanded by some prospective tenants, James explained.

We then dived down to view the changing rooms, lockers and showers in the basement, which are likely to be seen as even more essential in light of post-pandemic working requirements.  In a market that is now gradually starting to revive, albeit from a very low base, there is evidence of a split between ‘tier one’ best-in-class space, where deals are happening, and the second tier space, which remains largely moribund. Since Christmas, Mayfair have seen on-site viewings – socially distanced of course – becoming more frequent.

The high specification of the building is reflected in its Wiredscore platinum rating, which indicates first-class digital connectivity and smart technology credentials, and a BREEAM sustainability rating of very good/excellent.

Interest in the remaining unlet areas of the building has come predominantly from organisations already located in the Midtown area, said James.  Perhaps surprisingly given current speculation about how much space occupiers will need post-Covid, most are looking to upscale their space – in some cases increasing the share allocated to meeting areas as opposed to desk use.  The presence of Work.Life has added to the attraction of the building by contributing flexibility for the other occupiers, allowing them adjust their footprint on demand.

Tim Horsey