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‘Office landlords must become managers and operators’

Oliver Jackson, Head of Investment UK, Resolution Property

The changing demands of the market and the co-working trend are creating a challenging environment in which offices will become more like hotels or outlet centres, Oliver Jackson, Head of Investment UK, Resolution Property, told Real Estate Day. 

‘I think in order for the market to really flourish, the traditional landlords have got to move from being just landlords to being managers and operators of their real estate, a bit like in a hotel or in outlet centres where the relationship between tenant and landlord has evolved’, he said. ‘But there needs to be a wholesale shift in the mentality of pretty much the whole real estate community, the buyers of real estate, the financiers of real estate and most importantly the valuers of real estate’.

Resolution traditionally has been an investor and developer of creative interesting office

space in the UK and across Europe, Jackson said, but now as a landlord there are obvious challenges, not least the more competitive landscape in relation to a much-improved serviced office provision.

It is a challenge but also an opportunity to do things better. ‘Serviced offices have been around for a very long time but WeWork have done a great deal to change the perception of the sector, especially in terms of their use of data and their marketing drive,’ he said. ‘They have created a challenge as well as an opportunity for us as traditional landlords to say how can we make things better and make sure that our product is relevant for occupiers today’.

There will always be a demand for large-scale office space on a traditional basis, people who want a whole building and a 10-year lease and certainty, Jackson said, but co-working spaces are likely to take up more and more of the available space in future. Large segments of buildings will be devoted to ‘fully baked’ products, furnished and ready to move into. 

‘If you are a small business you might not want a fixed term or the hassle of all the other things that come contractually with having a lease, and you just want to move as quickly as possible into an office that is available, has furniture and everything and will be able to fit your  15, 20 o 30 people’, he said. ‘I think there’s a responsibility on us as landlords to look at the way the market and the demand are changing and say yes, we can accommodate you.’

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