Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

No Need to Work Home Alone; Serviced Offices & Business Centres: Serviced Offices Offer Even the Smallest Enterprises the Chance to Have Proper Work Space, Says David Spittles

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

No Need to Work Home Alone; Serviced Offices & Business Centres: Serviced Offices Offer Even the Smallest Enterprises the Chance to Have Proper Work Space, Says David Spittles

Article excerpt

Byline: DAVID SPITTLES

YOU have an idea and a laptop, but no office, and no secretarial backup. Space at home is limited and, besides, you want to get out and mix with likeminded self-starters in a convivial environment. Moreover, you can only afford a cheap commercial rent.

Serviced offices are ideal for start-ups as well as growing companies. There is an increasing population of homeworkers and freelances (at least 500,000 in London alone). These people are being targeted by new business centres with a "local" brand.

Mortlake Business Centre is the first purpose-built centre in southwest London. Developer Frendcastle knows the patch better than most.

The company has gained a reputation for good-quality residential and mixed-used schemes, all within five miles of its base at Mortlake.

The new 20,000 sq ft centre is on the site of an old brewery and is linked to a block of private flats, which forms part of the development. It is convenient for those who want to "live over the shop".

Desk space at the centre starts from u75 a week, including 24-hour broadband access. "About 80 per cent of our occupiers live within three miles of us," says Peter Banks, Frendcastle's managing director. "Another defining feature is that all are principals of their firm - not a branch of someone else's business."

Self-contained offices for up to 20 people are available but most people taking space are sole traders or three or four-person companies.

Conference rooms and boardrooms are available for hourly and daily hire, while a three-storey atrium can be used for informal meetings.

An onsite cafe (also open to the public) can deliver food to occupiers' desks. In summer the roof of the atrium will slide open to enhance the amenity value of the space.

Occupiers can also use a private leisure centre in the residential section of the development.

Minimum occupancy is three months. "We are using a hotel-type system," explain Banks. "People check in and get a card with an expiry date linked to their occupancy."

The centre is two minutes' walk from the local station (20 minutes to Waterloo) and has good access to the M4 and Heathrow. …

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