Is Tech City sustainable?

Some are reporting that \Tech and creative companies based around Shoreditch and Hoxton will become the driving force of London’s economy over the next five years..”’m no economist but I don’t understand how this is feasible. Surely any emerging industry which is reliant on fresh start-up businesses for growth has to have access to plentiful and cheap office space? How is that achievable in Shoreditch which is now regarded as prime central London and will soon be home to a cluster of large swanky hotels? I can’t see how start-up costs are going to be kept low enough here. If any area was to be designated a “hub” wouldn’t it have been better located further out where prices are cheaper (Stratford or Hackney Wick)?”


  1. That’s precisely what the plan with iCity taking over the media centre in Stratford. There are plenty of businesses in Shoreditch and Old Street that stated up some time ago but the high rent now is going to drive new businesses further East, just in the same way that young artists are being driven that way.

  2. Thanks @gavinredknap . So why are people still banging on about Shoreditch Tech City being the future, when it appears its days are numbered?

  3. Well, perhaps primarily because that was in the Hackney section of that website. The CEBR report on which the article is based doesnt mention Hackney at all, it talks about East London in general: Of course for some people, Hackney IS East London (despite geographically being on its fringes) so maybe there’s some confusion there as well?

  4. Well, I guess someone has faith in the Shoreditch Tech City vision;\The joint venture between Helical Bar and Crosstree Real Estate Partners have exchanged contracts for the purchase of a site next to Old Street roundabout.The 3.12 acre site has been acquired for a total cash consideration of £60.75m.The freehold interest comprises two large office buildings – 207 and 211 Old Street –  which are currently let to multiple tenants and the land surrounding them a retail parade immediately to the west of 207 Old Street and Empire House at 136-144 City Road which is currently vacant. The four buildings total 287000 square feet of existing net internal space.Helical Bar say the purchase is motivated by the growing interest from potential occupiers from the domestic and international technology and creative sectors in the TechCity area.” Here’s the sales brochure for the site/s;

  5. An interesting article from the BBC asking;\Can Berlin’s ‘Silicon Allee’ take on London as Europe’s hi-tech hub?”’s cheapness compared to London seems to be the principal point.You can listen to the 30min Radio4 piece here;

  6. And now the government is investing £50m on a new building for the roundabout, \and what is described as the “peninsularisation” of the area around the roundabout. There will be further contributions from Boris Johnson’s budget and hopefully from the private sector.”″

  7.\A coalition of startups have warned proposed legislation to allow the conversion of office space to homes could mean the end of Tech City.The group of over thirty companies have written an open letter to local government secretary Eric Pickles asking for the area around the Old Street roundabout to be exempt from the proposed changes in permitted development for commercial space.Mayor of London Boris Johnson has also written to the Secretary of State asking for the same exemption for the area along with other parts of London including the north end of the Isle of Dogs.Shoreditch is already a desirable location for living and the start-ups are concerned that the area could be “taken over by trendy loft apartments” driving their businesses out.There have so far been 60 signatories to the letter from 33 firms including co-working companies tech startups and other concerned organisations.””

  8. More on this from @monkchips a founder of a Shoreditch coworking space (Shoreditch Works) that supports tech start ups

  9. ‘The Slow Death of Silicon Roundabout’ by Cory Doctorow;
    “But at least Tech City’s proponents acknowledge that there is some reason to have tech firms in the area. Hackney council is a lot less interested in the proposition.”
    “Silicon Way now opens out into a building site that will shortly house hundreds of students (while the bubble lasts). The startups that gave it its ridiculous, hopeful name are gone. And unless Hackney decides that it wants to preserve Silicon Roundabout’s tech sector, that ridiculous name will soon be the only thing high-tech about the neighbourhood.”

  10. Hackney council have issued a press release to response to the article

  11. I agree that the article wasn’t entirely fair on the council, but I wish they’d just be straight and admit that Old Street is simply the wrong location for start-ups. It’s too central and you’ll never keep prices down there.

  12. Another Guardian piece “Silicon Roundabout is not dying. Far from it. It’s adapting.” by Guy Nicholson

    A bit more pro Hackney council

  13. Hannah Donovan on why This is my Jam left Old St (although not Hackney)

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