Workspace PLC (formerly known as London Industrial PLC) was established in 1987 as the vehicle for the privatisation of part of the former Great London Council’s industrial property portfolio. The Company commenced trading on 10 July 1987, with additional capital of £16.7 million subscribed by a group of 12 institutions, and on that date acquired from the London Residuary Body, a portfolio of 18 small-unit multi-tenanted estates comprising some 710,000 sq. ft of floorspace divided into nearly 600 units with over 400 tenants. The estates were all located in Greater London, predominantly in East London.
The participating institutions regarded London Industrial as an experimental venture designed to produce attractive returns (in the form of earnings and dividends) from the active management of high yielding secondary property, providing flexible, affordable workspace for new and small businesses.
In 1993 the Company joined the London Stock Exchange, and in 1994 it expanded outside London with the acquisition of a portfolio of industrial estates, primarily in the West Midlands. This was the last time that the Group raised significant equity. Growth since 1994 has been organic with debt financed property purchases and target gearing of around 100%. Over the years, the portfolio has steadily increased in size and geographical coverage. In the summer of 1999, a major acquisition of the Tonex portfolio for £80 million, situated primarily in London, increased the portfolio by 40%. In 2001, the Group sold its Midlands properties and decided to focus its expansion on London and the South East with the target of doubling in value by 2006.
The Group continues to expand, not only in its portfolio of properties but also in its service offering. All tenants can benefit from the Group’s privileged insurance scheme - Workspace Plus Insurance - whilst many centres are now being networked with broadband/internet connectivity through our joint venture with Excell. Our additional services will continue to expand. As this occurs, the Group is committed to their quality control. Only by continuing to develop the quality of the Workspace brand, and supporting the growth and development of our customers, will Workspace itself be able to grow and prosper.