Battersea Studios is a buzzing, contemporary off ice building in an emerging London location with improving transport links. The property features community spaces, quirky modern décor, light-filled atriums with sociable outside co-working and off ice space to a vibrant community of tech and media business start-ups.
In 2014, the property was acquired by Schroders UK Real Estate Fund. Investment Manager at Schroders, Tom Newman, explains why Battersea Studios was an attractive asset: “We felt we could capture quite a lot of the demand that will come off the back of Apple’s move. We could see the potential, and it has proved fruitful for us.”
Connectivity is built into the process
“Battersea Studios was one of the first buildings we got Wired Certified and there were some immediate opportunities there,” says Tom. Fellow Investment Manager at Schroders, Jourdan Rajwan continues, “We saw that there has been a change in the market; that tenants value connectivity more than any other utility they have.” For added complexity, this desire for goodquality, high-speed connectivity is paired with a much shorter typical lease period for Battersea Studios tenants. Jourdan explains: “If you’re committing to a building for three years, which is becoming much more common now, you are going to want to have everything ready to go.
If you’re then told it’s going to take three months to get internet connections installed, that doesn’t work for you. Therefore, from our perspective, we’ll lose tenants to people who can provide that service much more efficiently.”
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“For us, it’s just about creating that connectivity; having everything enabled so people can just turn up and they’ve got their needs met,” says Jourdan.“Battersea Studios has been quite a success with Backbone, because it means that businesses no longer have to spend that long period waiting to get connected. We did struggle with that – wayleaves are a time-consuming pain.
Having that immediate connectivity has been a real sell for us and it has worked really well.” “Even at Battersea’s quite early stages, we knew we wanted to go ahead with Backbone,” explains Tom Newman, “Battersea told us what the working relationship with Backbone Connect would be like – and it was relatively smooth and seamless and proved to us they are a good partner.”
Battersea Studios tenant take-up tripled within the first year of the service being live. The Schroders team have now worked with Backbone Connect to roll out the connected building concept to 14 of its property assets.
“We now have the opportunity to say to our tenants ‘you can cut out that two-month lead-in time associated with a traditional wayleave. And we’re also offering you a more resilient service.” explains Annie O’Hara, Asset Manager at Schroder Real Estate. “So that’s where the agents have been really receptive to Backbone Connect being in their buildings and have used it in all of their marketing tools.”
Annie comments, “It’s been useful to have the technical knowledge that Backbone have passed on and taken time to explain to me, and it is great to have that customer support as well. Backbone Connect have been extremely helpful across the whole process and we have recieved great feedback from a number of tenants. I would recommend Backbone Connect to landlords looking to improve their internet connectivity offer.”