Design District’s lifeline to London creatives: workspace for £5 per square foot


According to recent projections, the UK creative sector could be hit twice as hard by the effects of Covid-19 as the wider economy. A new report by Oxford Economics, commissioned by the Creative Industries Federation, has projected a combined £77bn turnover loss over the course of 2020 compared to 2019 (-31%). This is expected to translate into a GVA shortfall of £29bn in 2020 compared to 2019 (-26%), over half of which is in London.

London’s creative industries are one of the city’s biggest cultural and economic assets contributing £111.7bn GVA to the UK economy – more than automotive, aerospace and oil and gas industries combined – but the pandemic has put them under threat, and for many businesses, the future is uncertain.

In the hope of relieving pressure on the sector and kick-starting the capital’s creative recovery, Design District – launching in spring 2021 – has announced a 12-month across-the-board rent reduction to just £5 per square foot for every creative business taking up tenancy in any space across its 16 buildings, which total 150,000 sqft.

Typically, rents will range from £7 per square foot, up to around £45, depending on the workspace to be rented and the size and needs of the tenant, which will be reviewed regularly. With the new initiative in place, however, all tenancies will start with a flat £5 psf across the entire Design District for the first 12 months.

Larger organisations will be able to occupy buildings at commensurate rents that will reduce the rental burden on smaller businesses. This is designed to create an ecosystem of businesses of varying sizes, each contributing according to its means, and ensure that any individual or organisation that wishes to be part of the district can afford to find a home here and benefit from this unique creative environment, opening in spring 2021.