By Sarah de Sainte Croix, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – This week LondonRio, a property company which specializes in refurbishing and modernizing office spaces, has announced three new office spaces available for rent in the city center and port area. The units measure between 100 and 300 meters squared and are located around Avenida Rio Branco, Avenida Passos and the City Harbor. With more scheduled for later in the year, LondonRio is poised to help foreign companies looking to set up offices in Rio’s booming economy.
“We wanted to create turn-key office spaces where clients and companies can just move in with their computers, tables and chairs…and start working”, says Gordon Lewis, joint partner and founder of the company.
Lewis explains, “All [our offices are] remodeled to flexible open spaces with all the modern wiring and facilities that one expects from a modern office space, including A.C., centralized data wiring, fridge and even coffee makers!”
LondonRio started out in London, where joint partners Gordon Lewis and Yewweng decided to offer modern, tailored offices for the local and international market. Four years ago, while on holiday in Brazil, they fell in love with Rio, bought a crumbling mansion in Santa Teresa and converted it into Quinta Rosa – five apartments and two studios for residential renting.
At the same time they had also bought another colonial building in Santa Teresa and opened up an Asian restaurant called Asia. However, when their Malaysian chefs decided to return to Malaysia, Lewis and Yewweng resolved to capitalize on their success with Quinta Rosa and began converting the restaurant into an eight-roomed guesthouse scheduled to open in October this year.
Meanwhile they were buying up office spaces in the downtown and port area. “We were approached by a couple of companies who knew of our apartments who suggested we offer these kind of top quality offices in downtown, as they could not find anything like this…Modern office spaces in older blocks in downtown were just not to be found”, says Lewis.
A report produced by DTZ Research into Rio’s rental market confirms that, “Generally the market is characterized by a lack of good quality stock”.
Lewis says, “We believe we are filling a hole in the market where office spaces are not refurbished and the landlord’s attitude is that the tenant rents the space and does all the work to make it fresh and modern, and useable even.”
They cite their nearest competitor as Petrobras, saying that the only real alternative for clients looking for a modern office unit is to, “Move into one of seventeen new modern Petrobras standard office blocks in downtown.”
However, LondonRio say that they offer their offices at around a third of the price – between R$50 and R$80 per square meter per month compared to Petrobras’ approximate R$150 price tag.
Lewis says, “We understand the local market very well and what it needs. We also bring our expertise and understanding of foreign companies´ requirements into the mix, in order to deliver offices of standards expected by these foreign companies coming to do business in Rio.”