8th March 2021
Inspiring Workspace Wednesdays – ‘Department W,69/89 Mile End Road, E1’
4th November 2020
For this week’s Inspiring workplace we take a trip to Whitechapel in London’s East End, where earlier this year Schroders let the entirety of one of it’s flagship developments to Queen Mary University London. The Russell Group university will occupy the entirety of the 55,000 sq ft of office space for it’s administrative functions currently housed on it’s principal Mile End Road campus.
Department W has been transformed by an £11m injection of investment comprehensively refurbishing this early 20th Century Beaux Arts building (the former site of Wickham’s Department Store) whilst preserving it’s neo classical façade.
At the agent launch at the back end of 2019, the fruits of the extensive re-modelling work by architects, Buckley Gray Yeoman, were evident. The design strikes a balance between historical preservation and the demands of the modern office occupier. The works included the installation of sustainable features including low energy lighting, natural ventilation, extensive bike spaces, showers and lockers. The building was shortlisted in 2019 for multiple awards from the British Council for Offices, the FX International Design Awards and the RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) Awards to name but a few.
The letting to QMUL was also notable as it was one of very few to complete in April this year after the outbreak of the Covid pandemic.
Regeneration of the Aldgate, Spitalfields and Shoreditch areas prompted a similar ripple of development eastwards into Whitechapel with occupiers attracted by lower rents than in the City core. The allure as a commercial location has partly built upon the locality’s rich history, cultural diversity and sense of local identity. The transport infrastructure has previously been dependent on buses and the District Line but will be greatly improved by the eventual opening of Cross Rail aka The Elizabeth Line. Education providers have long had a strong foot hold in Whitechapel including London Metropolitan University and Hult Business School in Commercial Road, E College, Glasgow Caledonian University, Wingate Institute and David Game College together with student accommodation providers such as Pure Student Living, Unite and Scape. Tech, media and telecoms occupiers which might have traditionally gravitated towards Clerkenwell or Old Street have also been enticed east to diversify this emerging and increasingly significant subsector of the London office market.