Landlords in London are renting out everything from vacant stores to empty sports fields, rooftops and even an abandoned quarry to cash in on the tight supply of space in the UK capital during the Olympic Games this summer.
Eleven million fans, sponsors and athletes are expected to arrive in Europe's second-most crowded city from July, stoking huge demand for storage, temporary shops and vantage points for TV cameras, in turn allowing landlords to cash in on otherwise dead space.
“You’ll see usable space created that doesn’t currently exist,” said Mark Hughes-Webb, managing director of Space-2 Consultancy, a specialist real estate firm that finds buildings for events and film shoots.
Homeowners have already hiked rents by up to six times in anticipation of the influx and commercial landlords are getting in on the act. Unlike the last two Olympic cities of Beijing and Athens, most of the 34 London sites are at the heart of built-up areas.
The Games' epicentre at Stratford in the east of the city has benefited from a seven billion pound injection of infrastructure, sporting venues and homes, revitalizing an area better known for its polluted waterways and industrial estates.
Sites for hire include a former limestone quarry in Kent, whose proximity to a high-speed rail link means it is 30 minutes from the Olympic stadium. Also in demand are empty shops, particularly those close to busy retail. Rents can be between a few hundred pounds to 20,000 pounds depending on the location and size.