“It’s about quality and quantity”: The agents’ view: Part 1 – Industrial and Logistics

This week we’ve handed the mic over to our agents, interviewing advisors on three of our HBD places as they tell us what occupiers really want from their homes, workspaces and neighbourhoods in 2024 and beyond.

Today, it’s the turn of Anna Worboys, associate director at CBRE and the agent helping us market Momentum – a pioneering new sustainable industrial and logistics (I&L) scheme that we’re delivering with Barings in London. Here, she tells us what occupiers in the industrial and logistics sphere really want from their workspace.

The I&L market is undergoing a significant transformation. Where once demands revolved around size, with occupiers seeking out large ‘sheds’, the paradigm has now shifted, meaning it’s about quantity and quality.

Recent years have witnessed notable changes in occupiers’ preferences within this sector. While size remains a crucial factor, there’s a growing emphasis on sustainability credentials coupled with a clear trend towards creating inviting workspaces that people genuinely want to spend their time in.

Places for real people

Just a few years ago, industrial spaces, often referred to as “sheds,” lacked the allure associated with office environments. Aesthetic considerations were often overlooked, with minimal attention given to office and amenity areas. These spaces were frequently treated as an afterthought, resulting in subpar working environments.

Fast forward to 2024, businesses nationwide face fierce competition in retaining their employees. Recognising the importance of creating an appealing workspace, companies are now investing in enhancing their industrial facilities. By prioritising the creation of pleasant and functional environments, businesses can better address the needs of their workforce, thereby fostering higher levels of productivity and satisfaction.

One of the most compelling aspects of Momentum lies in its exceptional design, rivalling the high-quality workspaces typically found in urban settings. Thoughtful consideration has been given to incorporating natural light and materials, creating an environment that promotes productivity and wellbeing. Surrounding Momentum is an abundance of green space, in which HBD has planted 225 new trees! With views of the Thames, these features will enhance the overall wellbeing of future occupants for years to come.

In addition to aesthetics, connectivity stands out as a top priority for occupiers seeking to attract and retain talent. While motorway links and road routes have historically taken precedence, the modern workforce want sustainable transport options. Momentum caters to this, with bus routes, tram, tube, and train stations in easy reach, as well as interconnected bike routes. These accessibility features align seamlessly with the evolving preferences of today’s workforce.

A modern consciousness

Sustainability credentials also rank high on the list of priorities for occupiers. At the very least, businesses seek buildings that meet BREEAM Excellent and EPCA+ standards, aligning with their own Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) objectives.

But occupiers want more than mere compliance, instead seeking out innovative and pioneering developments, fostering a sense of pride in their investment.

Occupiers recognise the long-term benefits of sustainable choices. While properties like Momentum may command higher rents initially (when compared to second hand units), the inherent cost savings stemming from its net-zero carbon operation and fully electric infrastructure are clear. With PV panels covering 70% of the roof space, these buildings generate energy for occupiers, resulting in substantial operational savings over time. Ultimately, the cost-effectiveness of running such eco-friendly buildings outweighs any initial expense, making investments in developments like Momentum financially prudent in the long run.

Momentum is a standout example

For me, Momentum stands out as an exceptional high-spec building that not only fulfils but surpasses the requirements of occupiers.

HBD has created something remarkable here, offering a desirable environment complete with stunning river views, green spaces, trees, and areas designed to foster natural habitats. Additionally, the workspace itself is thoughtfully designed and provides a conducive setting for productivity.

In the world of I&L, such impressive credentials have often been scarce, so I take great pride in representing something of Momentum’s calibre. With its enduring quality and timeless appeal, this is a scheme that’s poised to set a new standard for our sector.