IndustryMaking Moves

The Rise of London’s Zombie Buildings

Zombie buildings, vacant properties neglected by landlords, offer opportunities for tenants seeking office space at bargain prices after creative refurbishment.

By Making Moves London

There’s a new phenomenon in the world of commercial property: Zombie Buildings. Buildings vacated by tenants that the landlords are deprioritising or can’t afford to refurbish and, as such, are “still alive but have no obvious future”. Or so you’d think. In this piece, we’ll explore why zombie offices are on the rise in London, and what opportunities this can bring for occupiers.

What are zombie buildings and where have they come from?

Sounds like the end of the world, right? But the phrase actually describes commercial properties that are caught in limbo due to their tenant vacating during the pandemic. These buildings often aren’t the most desirable, so landlords have to invest time and money into refurbishing them to make them more attractive to potential tenants. With the shift towards remote and hybrid working, landlords have deprioritised these properties and are reluctant to spend the necessary funds and, as such, they remain empty.

Back in December ’22, the FT referred to these buildings as having “no obvious future”, since the rent from a single tenant can be insufficient to cover costs for upkeep and maintenance. However, with some creative thinking and the right tenant, London’s ‘zombie’ buildings could be brought back to life!

Opportunities for you, the tenant

With more and more office buildings neglected or abandoned, landlords are keen to get rid of them, stat. This presents great deals for businesses looking to expand into new premises, with some of these buildings on the market at a fraction of their original price.

For those who are ready to take on the challenge, many zombie buildings are ready for redevelopment and could become home to thriving businesses. With plenty of space to work with, there’s no limit to the potential that these spaces offer. Tenants can restructure, renovate and refit the space to create their own unique office or retail environment, unlocking a range of opportunities to transform neglected properties into productive assets. All you need is clear vision and a great project management team!

If you’re looking for a quick win, there are zombie buildings that are ready to be occupied right away. Whether you’re after a large open plan office space or just a single room to call your own, these buildings can offer a perfect solution for businesses that need an immediate premises. Plus, if you’re thinking more short-term as you want to keep an eye on the economy, our team of experts can negotiate on the cost and lease length/flexibility to get you the best deal possible.

In Summary 

While zombie buildings remain a challenge for landlords, especially in light of the upcoming economic downturn, they provide unique opportunities for tenants and businesses looking to find a space at a bargain price.

With help from a specialist tenant-only agency such as ours, these vacant properties can be identified, and suitable deals negotiated. From coworking spaces to long-term residential tenancies, there are many possibilities with zombie buildings. By engaging our fit-out project management team early doors, any necessary refurbishment work can be completed in a timely and cost-effective manner.

If you’re searching for an office in London, don’t sit still, make your move. Get in touch with us today to escape the apocalypse and give these buildings a second chance!