Has Hammersmith lost its fizz?

Could Hammersmith be about to lose its secret ingredient: Coca Cola? 

According to trade journals PropertyWeek and Estates Gazette, the multi-national soft drinks giant is set to leave its Hammersmith Broadway offices and move into a 65,000sqft building north of Oxford Street.

The move may have been prompted by the recent dip in the price of office space in Central London, which is making the cost renting a major headquarters in W6 and W1 about the same. This is worrying for Hammersmith, as Disney is also being rumoured to be taking the Mickey Mouse out of W6 and into Central London. 

So what would the departure of the two biggest companies in Hammersmith mean to the area? Well, probably not much in the long run. Sure, no borough likes losing two of its high-profile name brands that will attract other businesses to the area. And yes, they add a bit of star power to the borough. But there is a bigger shake up in the office space market in Hammersmith that affects everyone living anywhere near the western end of King Street all of the way to Brook Green – namely, a lot more office space is being built. But if Coca Cola and Disney are plotting their exits, will all of the office space be needed?

New developments such as the Beadon Road car park, the planned revamp of Kings Mall car park and West 45 office blocks, the new-look Lyric Theatre and eventually the new Hammersmith Town Hall complex will mean that the council and other pro-business groups such as HammersmithLondon will be busy courting new businesses to help keep the centre of Hammersmith on the up. Luckily, the recent progress Hammersmith has made in attracting big companies, such as BetFair, to the area make still make it a logical place to do business as it is closer to Heathrow than Central London, yet still very well connected for London. And it’s cheaper over the long run. So for that reason, a glut of first-class and modern office space could actually prompt a boom in businesses looking west rather than the start of a fallow period in the market.

But it also shows that while the centre of Hammersmith is gaining a greater density of offices, areas away from the centre such as King Street near Ravenscourt Park or St Peter’s Square have seen moves to change offices to flats – thus giving Hammersmith a more logical sense of business and pleasure zones.

This is great news for Hammersmith and could finally help redress some of the area’s longstanding random mish-mash of office and residential properties. Look no further than the two decrepit office blocks by the Premier Inn in King Street, which are slated for demolition and to be rebuilt as flats. 

But on the other hand, it’s going to be a rough ride for residents near the business end of Hammersmith Broadway – namely those who live in Overstone Road, Hammersmith Grove and off Shepherds Bush Road. All of these areas will see the encroachment of mega office blocks or hotels as a bad thing and some residents are already putting up a spirited fight – just look at the council backing down on the big-ticket items in its new town hall plans.

So before you decide Hammersmith has gone flat, the changes could just be the start of a lot more bubbles.