Offices all over the world are commonly found near large cities, with a long standing history of being in or around the CBD (Central Business District). It used to be this way because it was the most convenient for people visiting, and the location meant easy communication with other businesses in a similar or target sector. This is no longer the case, and all over the world you can see open office space available for rent in the middle of big cities; businesses are moving out.
Now, alot of businesses still thrive in the centre of large cities, from retail to transport to hotels, but offices are not one of these. With the move onto paperless offices, and great transport links to the suburbs in most cities, it’s an easy transition for an office to move away from the busiest areas.
City centre offices are always the most expensive available, with their prices hiked up by their location alone. Office buildings are prime real estate, and cost alot to build, so developers want to get the most for their money by charging high prices. Unfortunately for these developers, offices simply don’t need to be in city centres any more.
The move to paperless offices has had many effects, but one main one is that, with ease of communication, you do not need to be close to other businesses. You can instantly phone any other business, and emailing is much faster and more reliable than postage in modern society. Even transportation is easy outside of the city, with most large office parks made close to major transport links like motorways and train lines.
Large office parks can provide over 4-6x as much space for the money than inner city office spaces. With this kind of value saving, it’s hard to see why any business would still be working out of a city-office today. A spacious environment is valuable to any business, if only for keeping staff happy. This saving on rent can be directly applied to the customer base, providing the clients with savings from your services over an inner city branch.
One often underestimated part of having an out-of-city office is a basic one; parking. This might seem like a minor thing, but for both staff and visiting clients this converts into massive week to week savings. With the great transport links out of cities, most people tend to drive to the office, and saving £20-40 a week from inner city parking is a great asset to have. Even the car parks are bigger, so everybody will have a parking space; something rarely found in small city offices.
Utilities are another major one for businesses, with outer city utilities such as gas, electricity, and internet often being markedly cheaper in less built up areas. Even insurance is cheaper out of city centres, with business insurance dropping by up to 60% when a business moves to an office park.
There are many advantages to moving out of a city, and most of them can be seen especially well in university towns/cities. In these areas, older office buildings are often bought to be converted into student accommodation. While often being an expensive conversion, relying on the university increasing attendance over time, it does end up working out for the property developer from the constant revenue year by year. This always means that large university cities have fewer open office buildings to move into, so many newer businesses move out to office parks. It’s a perpetuating cycle which shows no sign of slowing down, and means that only well-established and older office businesses have a city based premises.
It’s a good idea for businesses to move out of the city, if only to save themselves money and to keep them in the black. The older concept of inner city office space is only really a factor for rich businesses, and those with rent controlled leases. The savings out of city are worth the extra commute.