Tuesday 18 September 2007 8.49am
It has been the mantra of urban planners for the last decade that buildings facing main roads should have "active frontages" at ground floor level i.e. shops or outward looking employment uses, and so developers are obliged to include them, and in thery this has to be a good thing.
However, because property investors hate mixed use investments (they'd have to calculate two rates of return on the same building, poor things!), most of the big developers do their sums on the basis that all the returns from the development will come from the residential part, and typically regard the ground floor space as a sunk cost from which they might get a windfall profit if they eventually get a letting.
Therefore the units are often not properly though out as far as layout/security etc. is concerned, and they are often left as raw structural shells. What small to medium sized business is going to take on the project of managing a building fit-out, even if you get twelve months rent-free when there are other business premises available as fully serviced offices?
In the case of Great Dover Street
, you have the added disincentives of traffic noise and pollution. IIRC, the ground floor premises are single aspect, i.e. with access from GD only, so that tenants wouldn't even have the option of triple glazing the front windows and running A/C of even basic air circulation from the marginally less polluted back of the building.