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City of London to ‘Fast-Track’ Office Retrofits

City of London to ‘Fast-Track’ Office Retrofits
21 June 2023 | Updated 22 June 2023

The City of London is tackling the demand for high-grade office space by introducing a "retrofit fast-track" planning approach.

A recommendation from Arup and Knight Frank anticipates a potential need for up to 1.9m sqm of additional office space in London up to 2042.

It’s been well documented that occupiers are placing greater value on high-quality office spaces, to tempt back workers who have become used to the comforts of hybrid working. The provision of meeting spaces with good-quality amenities is part of this drive.

According to Cushman & Wakefield’s “what occupiers want” survey, which questioned 9.6 million employees globally, The targeted amount of communal space within the office has doubled compared to pre-pandemic levels. 

“This ‘flight to quality’ is driving a supply shortage and competition for the very best space, while also leaving older buildings at risk of becoming stranded assets and requiring significant upgrades," said Partner and Head of Knight Frank’s London Development team, Andrew Tyler.

The City needs to be able to quickly deliver more of what works best for employers and create the right conditions for the upgrading and retrofitting of older office stock."


Retrofit Fast-Track Planning


The recommended “retrofit fast-track” planning approach would apply to applications that improve the environmental performance of buildings, while introducing a greater mix of uses (including hotels, cultural destinations, or education uses) to parts of the City of London. 

Arup and Knight Frank also recommend that the City should share their good practice of refurbishment with the broader construction industry.

Picture: a photograph of the Gherkin building in the City of London. Image Credit: Unsplash

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 21 June 2023


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