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Carnaby Street Office Space

Office space in and near Carnaby Street has long been associated with high-profile creative occupiers of London as it represents the heart of Soho in the West End.

The locale in which Carnaby Street is the epicentre has come to be known as Carnaby and covers 14 streets in the W1 district, including Beak Street, Broadwick Street, Kingly Court, Ganton Street, Marlborough Court, Lowndes Court, Fouberts Place, Little Marlborough Street and Great Marlborough Street.

Carnaby Street was laid out by bricklayer Richard Tyler in 1682 and named after Karnaby House, the first house built on the street in 1683.

The street first appeared in the Rate Books in 1687 and was almost completely built up by 1690 with small houses.

In the 1720s, the area was redeveloped to include a meat, fish and vegetable market for meat in Lowndes Market, which later became known as Carnaby Market and, in 1735, The Shakespearean pub was built and still stands today on the corner of Carnaby Street and Foubert’s Place.

It was in the 1950s that Carnaby Street’s modern-day image began to form with the opening of its first menswear boutique, Vince, at 5 Newburgh Street in 1954.

In 1952, John Stephen, an ex-shop assistant at Vince, opened his own boutique, His Clothes, on Beak Street, later moving to 5 Carnaby Street.

His merchandise targeted teenagers, but it attracted high-profile pop stars, including Jimi Hendrix, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and the Kinks.

Following his shop’s success, John Stephen opened a further five on Carnaby Street.

In the 1960s, Carnaby Street attracted creatives seeking inspiration and was the regular haunt of high-profile musicians and artists. Popular songs were written about it, such as The Kinks 1966 song ‘Dedicated Follower of Fashion’, which references the Carnabetian Army.

In the cover article of Time magazine on 15 April 1966, London was described as the ‘swinging city’ and Carnaby Street as its epicentre. The immortal quote read, “Perhaps nothing illustrates the new swinging London better than narrow, three-block-long Carnaby Street, which is crammed with a cluster of the ‘gear’ boutiques where the girls and boys buy each other clothing.”

In 1973, Carnaby Street was pedestrianised and the iconic ‘Carnaby Street welcomes the World’ sign was erected. The Sex Pistols were pictured on the street in 1976, becoming one of the music industry’s most iconic photographs of this new era.

A new wave of British designers, including Vivienne Westwood and John Richmond, moved into the area in the 1980s, and it remained the place for Mods, Rockers, Punks, and other groups to showcase their defiant style.

Ever at the forefront of modern culture, in the early 2000s, hip-hop store and venue Real Deal hosted iconic, legendary artists, including Amy Winehouse, Kanye West, Mos Def, and many others.

To honour those that were fundamental in Carnaby Street’s heritage, Westminster City Council installed green plaques, one at 1 Carnaby Street, dedicated to fashion entrepreneur John Stephen, another at 52/55 Carnaby Street, dedicated to the Mod pop group the Small Faces and their manager, Don Arden, and most recently at 29 Carnaby Street to honour the site of the former Lady Jane boutique, which was the first women’s fashion boutique on the street and was established by Henry Moss and Harry Fox in 1966, and frequented by stars such as Mia Farrow, Jayne Mansfield, and Nancy Sinatra.

Today, the office spaces near Carnaby Street are predominantly occupied by businesses and organisations from the creative and cultural industries, including advertising, marketing and talent agencies, media companies, software firms, and film producers.

These occupiers can choose to lease office space conventionally; however, many are choosing from the growing number of flexible workspace options.

Also referred to as Flex Spaces, these include serviced private offices, private managed office floors, suites and co-working spaces.

These are popular because they require short-term commitments relative to offices rented on a leasehold basis yet offer the option to extend the tenancy period at the end of the term.

As these are offices let on flexible contracts, businesses can grow into larger spaces as business grows with options available for companies requiring space for 250 + desks.

As these are fully fitted, plug-and-play offices, little to no capital expenditure is required for fit-out and furnishings unless a completely custom office is required.

Flexible offices are available on an all-inclusive rental pricing basis, meaning that the rent covers overheads that would conventionally be paid and managed separately, such as service charges, utilities, cleaning, insurance and, in many cases, business rates, and other items.

Many of the premium serviced offices near Carnaby Street also offer reception and secretarial services and access to meeting rooms and boardrooms.

They are also designed and managed in an ESG-considered way so they are run sustainably, offer wellness facilities and are equipped with end-of-trip facilities such as electric vehicle chargers, showers and changing facilities.

The pedestrianised Carnaby Street runs parallel to Regent Street, so in addition to mainstream brands of the latter, office space occupiers enjoy retail and leisure amenities from a uniquely eclectic assortment of establishments.

The iconic shopping and dining destination offers a stimulating mix of international and British labels, independent boutiques, pop-ups and concept stores, over 60 restaurants, bars, cafes, and pubs, and more than 30 global cuisines.

For instance, Kingly Court’s al fresco dining hub offers Filipino cuisine at Donia, Syrian food at Imad’s Syrian Kitchen, Korean food at Korean Dinner Party, and Peruvian dishes at Señor Ceviche.

It also offers a range of bars such as the speakeasy-style subterranean bar Nightjar and the well-loved the1940s London underground-themed late-night bar Cahoots.

The Newburgh Quarter also offers a diverse selection of food and drink establishments, including traditional London pubs such as The Shaston Arms, wine bars such as Antidote and the INO Greek restaurant.

As with the amenities in the Carnaby Street area, businesses enjoy excellent transport links with

Oxford Circus, Piccadilly Circus and Tottenham Court Road stations all being just minutes away.

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