Using vacant office space to attract occupants and build community at work
The pandemic caused mass behaviour change and resulted in an unexpected exodus from the office. Instead of relying on the ‘let and forget’ model, landlords have been left with vacant space. At TSP, we don’t rest on our laurels. Our motto is ‘adopt, adapt, repeat’. We understand the market is evolving and long-term success means aligning to changing occupant demands.
Rather than waiting for offices to bounce back, we have been working with clients to upgrade their properties in order to attract long-term, high-quality occupants. Bradley Sharp, a Property Agent at TSP accepted one challenge – turning vacant office space into a welcoming coffee shop in SE1.
Little London is a warehouse campus. Why did you decide to convert the space into a coffee shop rather than persuade the landlord to keep it as office space?
The pandemic has given landlords a chance to evaluate their portfolios and identify areas for improvement. Occupants’ priorities have also shifted. They don’t want corporate office space. They want an amenity-rich space that offers wellness, biophilia and community. Being a property agency, our priority is to create maximum value for our clients. After a full review of the space and location, we believed a well-designed, biophilic-inspired coffee shop would tap into our target occupants needs and help secure long-term rental premiums.
It is also important to us to offer great services to all our occupants. Unlike mobile phone contracts, we don’t believe in just offering perks to new customers. We want to provide spaces that delight everyone. And we have found this approach helps us secure multi-year lettings and very happy occupants.
What has been the impact of having a coffee shop at Little London?
It is still early days for Lantern Coffee; we opened mid-April, but the resounding feedback has been extremely positive. We hired a trained Italian barista and decided to serve both Little London occupants and the public. This approach has been fantastic in attracting local workers who often enquire about available space.
The coffee shop has been a great perk during viewings. Prospective occupants can see how the space acts as a natural extension to their office, a place to hold meetings or just have some downtime. Lantern Coffee helps bring the scheme to life. And the impact is clear; we have signed a fantastic new occupant and have another unit under offer. We have also seen a significant uptick in viewings since going live.
You are a Property Manager and Agency, how did you go about designing the space?
Our main interest is supporting our clients, so we are always on hand to help them think through how best to use a space. A coffee shop was a new challenge for me but I was confident we had the knowledge and resources to project manage from inception to completion.
We consulted with designers and local businesses and successfully turned office space into retail space. The result; wellness infused, biophilic space, which is welcoming and warming. We decided to only stock the very best products, the best. This aligns with the type of tenants we are attracting to the space.
Overall, Lantern Coffee has helped achieve the community vibe the Landlord wanted to create. It is an additional space for occupants to use and has had such a positive impact.
What do you think attracts customers to Lantern Coffee?
Fabrizio Di Clemente, Lantern Coffee Manager and Barista
Number one, the coffee. Having been a barista for nearly two decades I understand what makes the perfect cup of coffee. At Lantern Coffee we have chosen the highest-quality coffee including Workshop Coffee which our customers really appreciate.
Number two, accessibility: Lantern feels very exclusive but we are open to everyone. We provide a friendly service and make an effort to get to know all our locals. We make everyone feel welcome and special.
Number three, the decor. Having worked in the industry for such a long time I have rarely seen a more beautiful coffee shop. Every detail has been carefully considered to provide the best customer experience. We look forward to welcoming you in at Lantern Coffee soon!
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