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Shoreditch: A City Haven of Creativity and Beautiful Commercial Spaces

14 March 2022 / Area Guides

Brett Sullings, Head of Commercial Agency and Investment at Stirling Ackroyd, loves  Shoreditch and loves his job – that’s clear. 

Age 16, on work experience with his uncle, James Goff (company founder), life was never the same after that fateful summer.  “I was hooked,” Brett explains. “From the moment I came to Shoreditch I knew this is where I wanted to work, where I wanted to be.” Change was indeed happening, albeit slowly in the early 2000s, but he, like his uncle, understood the serious potential of the area and wanted to be part of it. 

“Having written my degree dissertation on The Commercial Potential for Growth in East London, a job with the Shoreditch team soon followed. That was 2005, and things really have changed in this area since then! Change has come, and businesses and new residents now call EC2 home, but Shoreditch remains as vibrant and creative as it ever was. Stirling Ackroyd has also changed – from our first ever office here we now have over 30 branches, and Shoreditch inspired it all.  ” 

With the company’s rich local legacy, many of Stirling Ackroyd’s significant commercial landlords have worked with the company since the late 80s, early 90s – a time when Shoreditch still had its challenges. These inspired investors, like the Stirling Ackroyd founders,  saw the potential of the area and wanted to preserve the unique Victorian warehouses and properties, many of which were on the verge of demolition as modern London began to advance on what was, at the time, this less than desirable neighbourhood. 

“In 1986, we opened our first branch in the heart of the area, Rivington Street, and we are proud to have called Shoreditch our East London home ever since. The early 90s saw us move to 40 Great Eastern Street – at the apex of Great Eastern Street and Curtain Road – the true gateway to Shoreditch. This remains our company headquarters to this day.”

TEST OF TIME

24/7, all walks of life live, work and visit Shoreditch, and the Stirling Ackroyd team is proud to offer everyone that visits or contacts them their time. Representative of this, the historic three-faced clock on their office building means a lot to them. Installed in the late 90’s, the company rescued this historic timepiece from certain destruction, and it has illuminated the Shoreditch Triangle, and kept the team and their neighbours on time, ever since. “During lockdown, the mechanism stopped(!) and we literally lost track of time,” Brett explains. “However, with better times ahead, and with help from a generous Shoreditch patron, Peter Sullings, our clock is once again keeping perfect time.” 

WE BELIEVE IN SHOREDITCH

Shoreditch was a very different place when Stirling Ackroyd came into existence. Run down warehouse buildings were home to artists, creatives and those in search of a new and exciting London neighbourhood. The company’s  founders also knew that Shoreditch was a great place to be. 

Drawn by affordable city-side rents, and inspired by the unique Victorian warehouse spaces and expansive lofts on offer, the creation of a commercial estate agency here initially raised industry eyebrows, however they saw the potential and knew that great things were soon to come. 

Next to the City and full of beautiful architecture, it was obvious to Stirling Ackroyd’s founders that Shoreditch was an emerging market for both residential and commercial property.

AN ENTERTAINING HISTORY

 “Locals have always known that this place is special. It had (and has – in our opinion) more life and character than anywhere else in East London, and 40 years ago, for those that could, space in a Victorian warehouse could be bought for as little as £20 per sq ft,” Brett continues.
“And so, price drove potential and investment soon came. That said, the area had its fair share of characters, good and not so good, and back in the day getting a black cab from Liverpool Street Station to Shoreditch could be a bit hit and miss. Drivers sometimes wouldn’t drop you all the way.  That said, that was an outsider’s view, a view that soon faded as the area developed and became a more popular and affordable place to live.”

GLOBAL CREATIVE POWERHOUSE

With access to brilliantly affordable studio spaces, and in search of a genuine vibrant community feel with the conveniences offered by being in central London, the creative set soon made Shoreditch their home. An incredible art scene developed here, and famed local artists-in-residence included Damien Hirst, Tracy Emin and Gary Hume and Patrick Hughes – still working from his Great Eastern Street studios to this day.

The UK’s leading creative design and advertising agencies also came to work, rest and play in Shoreditch, and some of the world’s leading designers and advertising professionals call this home.

A HISTORY OF THE ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

When the London authorities banned building of playhouses in 1574, they shifted to the then London suburbs. As a result Shoreditch became an important centre for Elizabethan Theatre. This tradition continued into the 19th and early 20th century, with local theatres and music halls rivalling the West End based here! Arts and culture really is in Shoreditch’s DNA.

THE WOW OF NOW

Fast forward 35 years, and Shoreditch is a very different place. Most of the original warehouses have been modernised for residential or commercial use – sale prices are estimated at £1,000 per sq ft+, a far cry from the £20 per sq ft of old. That said – the area’s rental rates for commercial remain exceptionally competitive. 
Shoreditch remains a popular hub for artists, tech firms, and fashion designers, with its modernised converted warehouses that offer great natural light, high ceilings, and historic character through exposed features such as brickwork and original wooden flooring. Although new builds are emerging, family-owned historic properties abound. Check out our commercial properties and let us know if you too would like to make Shoreditch your home.

SHOREDITCH COMMERCIAL PROPERTIES

TO LETTO LETFOR LET
A variety of unique workspaces available at the historic Zetland HouseThis impressive office block offers space over 1st - 3rd floors all offering open plan layouts and brilliant natural light throughout. Newly refurbished, media style offices, a short walk to Hoxton.
FOR SALEFOR SALEFOR SALE
Self-contained Freehold offices for sale at 28 Cowper Street. 100 metres from the new Old Street Underground Station.Self-contained Freehold offices for sale at 26 Cowper Street. 100 metres from the new Old Street Underground Station.The Space, a new-build ground and lower ground floor commercial space. Paintworks, Shoreditch.

For details on Shoreditch properties, please click here to speak to our Shoreditch team.

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