The business centre based at Airport House – London’s first international airport – was officially re-opened on Wednesday May 11th, following a major restoration and refurbishment carried out by new owners Ashmere Properties and Development Securities plc.
Work on the iconic building has encompassed everything from a complete re-wiring including the installation of fibre-optic cable to the restoration of the De Havilland Heron aeroplane which stands outside its front door.
The result is a 21st century business environment with all the glamour of the 1930s and the kudos of occupying an internationally significant historic building.
The investment is already paying off for the new owners, who took on the building last year, and who are already seeing a significant uptake in new business. More than half a dozen new tenants have signed up in the past two months and occupancy rates have increased to 65% from just under 50% a year ago.
Ashmere’s Managing Director Mike Forster said: “We are delighted with the restoration and refurbishment which we feel has brought Airport House back into good shape as a landmark building and it is certainly proving attractive to a range of occupiers.
“We took Airport House on because we could see it was an important historic building which makes a major contribution to Croydon’s economy. It also has a lot of advantages for the business community in terms of its location, accessibility and the facilities it now provides. “
Located just 15 minutes from the M25, half an hour from Gatwick and with more than 300 on-site car parking spaces plus daily courtesy bus service direct from East Croydon station, Airport House currently houses around 70 businesses, which range in size from small start-ups to major SMEs with more than 40 employees.
“The beauty of what we can offer is peace of mind with flexibility,” said general manager Andrew Gray. “We ensure everything a business needs is on-site from IT and telephone technology to a fully staffed reception and all utilities to provide peace of mind. And the flexibility comes from ensuring companies can expand seamlessly from a one-person office to a major SME without changing address and phone numbers just by moving to larger offices within the building.”
Airport House was the first purpose-built airport terminal in the world when it was built in the 1920s and the first to introduce air traffic control as well as the launch point for Amy Johnson’s epic solo flight to Australia – the first by a woman pilot.
Its pioneering and entrepreneurial spirit lives on through the successful companies now based there. They include Absolute Insurance Brokers and The Sheriff’s Office, both finalists in the recent Croydon Business Awards. The Sheriff’s Office has just made its seventh move in three years at Airport House, expanding into ever larger offices.
Director Michael Aynsley said: “We just didn’t know how fast the business would grow. It’s great having that flexibility with no need to change our address. The building’s got loads of history, with high ceilings and a huge lobby. We like having meeting places on site, and being able to take visitors for a drink in the bar or a bite to eat.”
The refurbishment includes a new roof covering, the re-decorating of the entire exterior of the building and the refurbishment of parts of the interior, including offices, meeting and conference rooms and facilities. Special care has been taken with the entrance lobby, the former booking hall, which has been sympathetically restored to its former glory. In addition, IT has been significantly upgraded through the installation of fibre-optic cable, new telephone technology and high-speed broadband. An entire suite is being converted to provide high specification data storage for both internal and external companies.
Any companies interested in Airport House’s services, which start from £60 plus VAT per week for its office space, should contact Philomena in the marketing team on 020 8781 1234 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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