New approach revives empty offices

Landlords of office space are being offered a lifeline in a new approach to bring empty buildings back from the brink. Lynn Gate says many small businesses still need offices. They are put off by a sector driven by agent and landlord fees, long leases and inflexible terms.

Landlords of office space are being offered a lifeline in a new approach to bring empty buildings back from the brink. Lynn Gate says many small businesses still need offices.

They are put off by a sector driven by agent and landlord fees, long leases and inflexible terms. Her own business, The Office Company, has maintained 95% occupancy at Metropolitan House, near the Gateshead Metrocentre, with more than 30 small-medium organisations taking space.

Now the company, in partnership with office fitter LG Developments, and working with agent Bradley Hall, has developed a model for reviving derelict space and managing it on behalf of landlords.

The first under the scheme, Moor Chambers at Framwellgate Moor, Durham, has welcomed its first three tenants. The 7,000sq ft building, which was empty for three years, has had a £250,000 refurbishment with all the tenants managed and supported by The Office Company on behalf of owners TJD Properties.

Another building, at Forest Hall on North Tyneside, should be finalised soon. For an investment, landlords have their buildings brought up to standard tenants want, with value added by LG Developments.

Then The Office Company fills the space, manages the building, the tenants and all services, from liaising with IT and telephony companies to providing cashflow forecasts for the landlord, from liaising with the local authority valuation officers to get rate relief and marketing to invoicing.