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TheCountOfNowhere

Shutting down offices and converting to flats

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I've heard on 3 occasions in the last month of town centre office blocks being converted into flats!!!

Anyone else seeing this ?

This is surely a sign of the top of this extreme bubble ?

When "a flat" is more profitable than productive work we really do have a problem.

 

 

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Hardly surprising given the numbers of empty commercial premises, landlords need to make money right??. A trend that may gather pace as the business rates rises kick in. 

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This has been happening for years.  In Southend-on-Sea there are several large office blocks that have been converted into flats.  Although in the South East, Southend has had limited employment opportunities for years and a great deal of it was Government related work.  As much of this has been moved out to other areas it has left many large office blocks empty.  From memory the first conversion happened over ten years ago.

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Proof that we live in a bubble, yes.   A sensible idea considering the current state of affairs, quite possibly.

Many office workers can now work from home, or at least remotely. Business rates going up, lack of building laaaaahnd. (and all that.)

The pertinent question is ;   "let's flood the market place with yet more property at the time when everybody else (v.i.) is unloading theirs, and see what happens.."

If they can do it quickly, they get to sell a one bed closet for 150-200K , if they take longer, and ask ridiculous prices, then it's -ooops!    :D

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I'm not sure if this is necessarily a bad thing. 

2 reasons:

- office based work is likely going to be less of a thing. Flexible work etc should reduce the need for bodies sitting in the same space whilst they are on Facebook.

- Some city centres have a reduced supply of housing and there are many empty buildings.

When I do my pub crawl in Newcastle I always marvel at the amount of empty floor space in beautiful old buildings. If I were in charge, I'd de-tax anybody who does work on these and puts them to good use instead of building office/residential blocks in somewhere else. 

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Thats Luton in a nutshell including the old Vauxhall plant site old office blocks , and industrial area's the jobs have all been moved on and in place 100's of apartments are being built.Proximity to the train and line and the golden goose that is London is driving the building.Now these apartments are starting to go on market and for up to 200k for 1 beds the locals are waking up to fact they are being screwed over.

Whilst it's good to make use of the space , the question has to be where have all the jobs gone ? Given in Luton's example we have the 5th worst traffic in the country it's clear the jobs are out side of the town so people have to drive / train / bus to work places.Not everything can be done remotely and the transport infrastructure can't cope.

The quality of the builds in terms of finish and size leave alot to be desired too

 

 

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Been going on for a good 5 years.

Take a train thru Basingstoke and WOkin.

The dull, sh1tty offices near the stations have been turned into the slums of tomorrow. Really dense, housing that would be OK in the centre of a large city but totally fcking useless in some crphole suburban town with nothing going for it.

I did mention that all the business premises in Bracknell were being converted into flats. I was shouted down as everybody i nthe Thames valley earns 150k working for google.

These sort of places - sh1tholes, where the once well paying compnaie locations have been converted into future benefit sh1tholes are going to be horrednous in 10 years time.

 

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In the majority of scenarios it is also permitted development.

The conversions are usually a bit silly though. For instance columns placed a meter from the external wall in the middle of the living space...

This is just down the road from me:

http://quinn-estates.com/residential-properties/the-beer-cart-building

And amusingly there was this press piece on the penthouse apartments:

http://www.kentonline.co.uk/canterbury/news/take-a-look-around-citys-43733/

I remember at the time explaining at the time 'who says it's a million pounds?????' Funnily enough, if one takes a look on land registry:

http://www.rightmove.co.uk/house-prices/detail.html?country=england&locationIdentifier=POSTCODE^188450&searchLocation=CT1+2NY&referrer=landingPage&addGoogleTagManager=true

I tend to agree with the above though - it makes sense to do it and if it reduces pressure on rentals and sales in my local area, great! :)

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In London (and to some extent in some other towns and cities) that type of conversion really started to take off about 20 years ago (around the time that NuLabour came to power but that's not necessarily blaming them for that particular policy - at any rate not yet as it's more to do with the general decline of inner city business and offshoring which some would say is an all party responsibility) and to a lesser degree it might have been even longer ago.

Small units of housing and in hindsight they seemed to know/to have inside information on the future housing market.

Edited by billybong

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36 minutes ago, spyguy said:

 

I did mention that all the business premises in Bracknell were being converted into flats. I was shouted down as everybody i nthe Thames valley earns 150k working for google.

These sort of places - sh1tholes, where the once well paying compnaie locations have been converted into future benefit sh1tholes are going to be horrednous in 10 years time.

 

I have just moved out of one and I can tell you they are fairly horrendous now. Doing the conversion is not a terrible idea in itself and I have to say I enjoyed the high ceilings and huge windows.

Unfortunately office conversion seems to attract underfunded wide boy landlords who don't give a toss about tenants rights. The place I just left has a long trail of people trying and failing to get their deposits back. 

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2 minutes ago, Funn3r said:

I have just moved out of one and I can tell you they are fairly horrendous now. Doing the conversion is not a terrible idea in itself and I have to say I enjoyed the high ceilings and huge windows.

Unfortunately office conversion seems to attract underfunded wide boy landlords who don't give a toss about tenants rights. The place I just left has a long trail of people trying and failing to get their deposits back. 

In Bracknell?

Can I ask why you lived in one?

Im guessing it was near what little work is left there.

Which company site, if you dont mind me asking - or general whereabouts.

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IF the majority of jobs in this country don't really need doing, when you think about the public sector job creation then all the offshoots of the public sector etc etc  it must be net pointless jobs in this country, are jobs just something to keep us busy to stop us thinking about what we're doing and why we're doing it? And if so can money just be created infinitely? If labour doesn't (in most cases) create money any more, and its just a token thing to do to take up peoples time in exchange for bits of paper from a printer, why is there any limit to how many bits of paper can be printed? does It really matter? And if so, if we converted every office in the country to flats, and kept magicking up more and more money as DEBT against these flats, would it matter any more that people didn't have a job to pay the DEBT back? as long as the next flat costs more it can keep on fuelling itself right?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(I've got an interview at the BOE next week, just going through my notes)

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2 hours ago, TheCountOfNowhere said:

I've heard on 3 occasions in the last month of town centre office blocks being converted into flats!!!

Anyone else seeing this ?

This is surely a sign of the top of this extreme bubble ?

When "a flat" is more profitable than productive work we really do have a problem.

 

 

Not quite but something similar. In Stevenage a significant number of city centre office blocks have been converted to flats following a relaxation in planning laws. Most were empty anyway, but not all.

Funnily enough, the old Land Registry Building was closed and turned into flats!

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4 hours ago, Nabby81 said:

Thats Luton in a nutshell including the old Vauxhall plant site old office blocks , and industrial area's the jobs have all been moved on and in place 100's of apartments are being built.Proximity to the train and line and the golden goose that is London is driving the building.Now these apartments are starting to go on market and for up to 200k for 1 beds the locals are waking up to fact they are being screwed over.

Whilst it's good to make use of the space , the question has to be where have all the jobs gone ? Given in Luton's example we have the 5th worst traffic in the country it's clear the jobs are out side of the town so people have to drive / train / bus to work places.Not everything can be done remotely and the transport infrastructure can't cope.

The quality of the builds in terms of finish and size leave alot to be desired too

 

 

 

Not Luton again!  Weller should reform the Style Council and do a "Come to" Luton parody! The thing is the fools buying these flats are going to get stuck at some point when commuting jobs evaporate. Luton is a hole, Back in 2012 they had a Mayor who could barely speak English!

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5 hours ago, TheCountOfNowhere said:

I've heard on 3 occasions in the last month of town centre office blocks being converted into flats!!!

Anyone else seeing this ?

Yes, it's happening in Norwich City Centre. Unfortunately, the rents on them seem quite high and the landlords/agents seem reluctant to drop them as they stay vacant. They seem to lack any storage cupboards an only have shower rooms (no baths) most of the time.

There is planning permission granted recently for a 1990 built Norwich Union/ Aviva block to be turned into 199 flats. I hope that the adjacent office car park will be allocated for future residents.

Just up the road from there is the delightfully Brutalist 'Elliot House' that will also become flats. A friend once worked there and he had useof the underground car park at certain times.

I quite like seeing new homes being created from redundant buildings. I just wish they didn't cost so much to rent or buy.

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Is it still the case that empty offices, have to pay full biz rates after 6 months? If so, it's a big motivator to convert into flats. 

 

I know of big developers in the S e ast who have been sitting on commercial urban premises for yrs, waiting for permission to turn it into housing 

I notice that heavily indebted desk / micro office sharing co's like WEWORK are considering going into the co-living hostel market in Uk with WELIVE, like in USA . Perhaps a back up plan for commercial lets failing   

Rents increase at WeLive, WeWork’s Wall Street co-living space

http:// ny.curbed.com/2016/12/5/13843226/welive-rent-hike-wework-nyc

 

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45 minutes ago, MattW said:

Yes, it's happening in Norwich City Centre. Unfortunately, the rents on them seem quite high and the landlords/agents seem reluctant to drop them as they stay vacant. They seem to lack any storage cupboards an only have shower rooms (no baths) most of the time.

There is planning permission granted recently for a 1990 built Norwich Union/ Aviva block to be turned into 199 flats. I hope that the adjacent office car park will be allocated for future residents.

Just up the road from there is the delightfully Brutalist 'Elliot House' that will also become flats. A friend once worked there and he had useof the underground car park at certain times.

I quite like seeing new homes being created from redundant buildings. I just wish they didn't cost so much to rent or buy.

Not sure what Norwich council is like but Luton Council's policy is to reduce car use so new developments are encouraged to provide little or no parking so residents use public transport.

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14 minutes ago, Nabby81 said:

Not sure what Norwich council is like but Luton Council's policy is to reduce car use so new developments are encouraged to provide little or no parking so residents use public transport.

Read as....shyster Councillors allow builders to provide no parking so they can cram more housing on an estate while pretending it's all for the environment.

 

 

 

Edited by TheCountOfNowhere

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Sounds like a good idea.

Market economy working as it should, reducing unnecessary capacity in empty office space, converting it to increase the supply of living space to meet rising local demand.

That's kinda how economies work

 

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1 hour ago, Little Frank said:

Sounds like a good idea.

Market economy working as it should, reducing unnecessary capacity in empty office space, converting it to increase the supply of living space to meet rising local demand.

That's kinda how economies work

 

Bubbles too 

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7 hours ago, spyguy said:

Been going on for a good 5 years.

Take a train thru Basingstoke and WOkin.

The dull, sh1tty offices near the stations have been turned into the slums of tomorrow. Really dense, housing that would be OK in the centre of a large city but totally fcking useless in some crphole suburban town with nothing going for it.

I did mention that all the business premises in Bracknell were being converted into flats. I was shouted down as everybody i nthe Thames valley earns 150k working for google.

These sort of places - sh1tholes, where the once well paying compnaie locations have been converted into future benefit sh1tholes are going to be horrednous in 10 years time.

 

See also Croydon

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10% of office space in Peterborough was normally empty. Today 10% is being converted to flats. Its the same all over the country. The ones I've looked at as they have been converted are so badly done they will last about 5 years before someone has to gut them and start again. Shocking quality, even worse than the houses Churches built in the village I live in and they made it onto Watchdog.

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This surely is a good thing a free market operating as it should. If commercial property isn't a success then it should be converted to housing as it has dont thoughout the centuries.

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4 hours ago, Nabby81 said:

Not sure what Norwich council is like but Luton Council's policy is to reduce car use so new developments are encouraged to provide little or no parking so residents use public transport.

At the new office conversions, I believe potential tenants can pay extra for a parking space. Norwich City Council are trying to discourage car use in the city centre. Roads layouts have changed...for the worse and I avoid driving there where I can these days. What I don't understand is a brand new car park opened up last year just around the corner from this flat that was once part of an office:
1 bedroomed flat @ £700 pcm

Here's a link to the Aviva building proposal mentioned in my previous post:  Aviva/Norwich Union office block

A news article about offices being turned into flats in Norwich that mentions the Brutalist Elliot House: With more and more offices being transformed into residential units, is the city’s commercial stock being depleted?

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