City icon One Poultry, EC2, is being repositioned as a “design-led HQ creative office” in the heart of London’s financial district.
The move is symbolic as the City of London looks to remarket itself as the strength of financial services wanes and the TMT sector strengthens.
The Grade II* listed postmodernist building designed by Sir James Stirling, which sits atop Bank Underground station and neighbours the Bank of England and the Royal Exchange, is being refurbished to attract the next generation of creative businesses.
London-based asset manager Aermont Capital has appointed Jacob Loftus’ General Projects as development manager to reposition the asset, which will deliver 110,000 sq ft of “inspirational” offices with gallery-style spaces and ceiling heights of up to 3.8m.
At first floor level an internal facing atrium that sits at the base of Stirling’s iconic rotunda will be transformed into a 3,000 sq ft terrace in the middle of the building to be used for informal meetings.
Some 25,000 sq ft of new independent retail and leisure activities will be added at ground level. A new 4,000 sq ft reception will feature bespoke artwork, while Coq D’Argent, the D&D London-operated restaurant, will remain on the top floor and will run a programme of leisure and food-based events in the building. An underground complex will offer cycle parking, a cycle repair shop and shower facilities.
Loftus said: “It is about embracing much of the building’s cultural and design-led heritage to reimagine some of the inside spaces to create really user-driven design-led inspiring office space that will be all about a great experience for the end occupier.”
The area has come to represent the next stage of the City’s evolution, with Bloomberg’s new European headquarters designed by Foster + Partners on one side of One Poultry and Soho House Group’s new hotel and members’ club, Ned London, on the other side in a Grade I listed building. Each project will deliver a new leisure offering to the City, with restaurants secured by Soho House including Cecconi’s, Malibu Kitchen and Millie’s Lounge, which serves American and British classics such as fish and chips 24 hours-a-day.
Aermont Capital bought the building for £110m in April 2014 from Michael Feldman. The office space was principally occupied by Aviva, which left in February following its lease expiry. The Square Mile needs to become a global tech hub as new technology such as cyber security, machine intelligence and artificial intelligence disrupt the legal, banking and insurance sectors, a report commissioned by the City of London Corporation and City Property Association found (see below).
The “fourth industrial revolution” is already dramatically changing working practices. Law firms such as Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer are using artificial intelligence to automate document reading. Juliette Morgan, international partner in the global technology practice at Cushman & Wakefield, said: “The City has been a centre for trade and commerce for 2,000 years and was home to the original coffee house at Lloyd’s of London. As its indigenous industries face automation, we must collectively brace for a future which redefines activities in the City.”
The redesign of One Poultry is due to complete in December 2017. GM Real Estate is the leasing agent. Nash Bond and Bruce Gillingham Pollard are the retail and leisure agents. BuckleyGrayYeoman is the appointed architect.
Tech and the City
Tech X The City, a report commissioned by the City of London Corporation and the City Property Association, has found much that the landlords, large corporates and City government could do as part of a continual process of renewal, while maintaining the area’s unique identity, such as:
- Encouraging co-working, alfresco or at street level, by bringing more life to underused outdoor space, opening up hidden green spaces, using lobbies as public meeting spaces and enhancing the retail offer with more independents, pop-up retail and street-food vendors.
- Establishing an accelerator – perhaps corporate sponsored, led by a not-for-profit organisation and using City of London Corporation space – to act as a focal point, and complement corporate-led incubator proposals, such as RiskForce and MDR Labs.
- Creating flexible grow-on space – perhaps in a refurbishment that makes a statement and keeps costs down. The tech sector wants flexible lease terms, the ability to scale up or down and access to the building 24/7.
- Effective marketing of value-for-money space offered by City rents on par with Shoreditch and the South Bank – despite its perception as an expensive location.
- A role as curator for the City of London Corporation, promoting accelerators and incubators, transforming the public realm, continuing the move towards a 24/7 economy, encouraging leisure, retail and cultural uses and managing risks from terrorism and hackers.
THE OCCUPIER VIEW
Shoreditch vs Canary Wharf
Jeremy Thompson chief executive of Cision and PR Newswire, explains why he chose to move media intelligence company Gorkana’s London office from Shoreditch to 5 Churchill Place in Canary Wharf, E14.
“We had a rent review in 2015 in Old Street where our rent doubled and we had three buildings totalling about 38,000 sq ft, and we knew that the main building, the landlord was going to be taking it back in three years, so we took the opportunity to exercise a break.
“We knew that the majority of our 600 or so staff worked within the M25 but actually they were quite well spread within London. We wanted somewhere central but, quite frankly, some of the value we were seeing in the property around the Old Street area didn’t to our mind represent particularly good value.
“We conducted our own review with advisers, and the upshot of all of that was the one place in London that represented good value for money was Canary Wharf. We were all pretty sceptical about that. I live in south-west London and I am not a fan of the Northern Line. But when we came down here and we saw what we could get for our money, we changed our attitude pretty quickly and it was then all about how do we sell this in to the rest of the business.
“It has been a positive transformation for the business. The infrastructure, the environment, the facilities are streets ahead of what we had in Old Street for roundabout the same price. We have taken nine floors across three buildings to one and a half floors. We have a really professional-looking reception area and the building’s management company is super professional. And I think it represents a completely different face of the business. And it is symptomatic of our aspirations as a business.
“The attitudes towards Canary Wharf are changing. It is clearly a great location in its own right. It is extremely well-serviced, it is getting better connected. I do a lot of work around Europe so having access to London City Airport is pretty convenient. The downside is, I guess, we are a bit further away from a lot of our clients than we used to be. But, to be honest, the benefits of being in a really first-class building that works well for our employees and our clients far outweighs the fact that you have to travel a little bit further to get there.”