Activating Grey Space


The rise of grey space

The events of 2020 have accelerated a grey space boom that began with Brexit and Thirdway are on a campaign to help landlords and tenants breath life and colour back into languishing real estate.

Businesses across London are pivoting, shrinking and flexing in an uncertain climate. Many companies have seen out their leases, downsized to relinquish space or gone bust. One of the outcomes is a rise in high-quality commercial space sitting empty. Both landlords and tenants alike can benefit from sub-letting the space but doing so requires a mindset shift – seeing opportunity instead of burden.

Most grey spaces need a minimal amount of work before they are ready to sub-let as exceptional commercial space. The key to capitalising on this is strategic investment.

Why is this important? For those looking for new spaces, or for a select few, who are looking to increase space – they are looking to sign shorter-term contracts while the future is determined. The grey spaces that are great will be picked up first, and in a market where there is a surplus of space, the greater the better.

Our Grey to Great programme doesn’t just re-skin a space, but builds in the future requirements of the businesses that might inhabit it. How is this determined? By understanding what the future of Hybrid Working will look like.

The future of work

2021 brings a new era of a more transient office population. 85% of people surveyed by BCO (British Council for Offices) in September said they wanted to return to the office in some capacity. Tenant space will adapt to meet the needs of those that use it while connecting them to those that don’t.

We are working with tenants to help them figure out what the future of work looks like for them.  It is only in understanding this, that they can know their short and long-term real estate requirements and make decisions on existing contracts, securing new space, or sub-letting some of their existing. Bigger companies are making these decisions now. We're seeing the market pick up pace and we're expecting the small companies to follow suit over the next six months.

While landlords and larger occupiers have grey space to fill, smaller companies are keen to fill it. These empty floors could become temporary homes for businesses seeking flexible, short-term solutions.

-     Start-ups, scale-ups, project teams and innovation hubs need a place to do great work as they continue to scale.

-     SMEs are looking to right-size their real estate to suit their new ways of hybrid working

-     Some larger firms are looking for satellite space on the outskirts of London and beyond while maintaining a central hub.

Minimal cost, maximum impact

Our ‘grey to great’ programme is designed to provide a cost-effective solution to upgrading space, in the shortest possible timescale. We are helping transform grey stock into offices that meet the demands of the 2021 market - vibrant, agile, immediately occupiable space without long term commitment. We do this in five steps:

  1. Review and validation
  2. Design
  3. Furniture appraisal
  4. Technology assessment
  5. Construction


Grey to Great is a unique approach to London’s commercial property problem.

To find out more about it, download our Grey to Great PDF here or contact us on 020 7846 0686.


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