Pepsi looks to West London in HQ search

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Drinks brand ponders Reading exit in favour of 120,000 sq ft headquarters in capital or Heathrow.

Pepsi parent company PepsiCo is considering leaving Reading in favour of a west London headquarters that could span as much as 120,000 sq ft.

The food and drinks conglomerate is drawing up plans with real estate adviser Studley to consolidate its offices on Arlington Business Park in Reading and Kew Road in Richmond into a single headquarters that could include property in Heathrow or the West End.

The company occupies a 57,000 sq ft block owned by Praxis Holdings and a smaller 37,000 sq ft property owned by Aviva Investors at the Reading park.

The leases on both blocks expire in 2015, but the search is understood to be driven largely by Pepsi’s desire to be closer to the burgeoning creative sector in the West End, where it is said to be easier to attract and retain skilled staff.

Pepsi’s rival, Coca-Cola, opted to leave Hammersmith in October for a new West End headquarters at Royal London Asset Management’s 61,000 sq ft Wimpole Building. It will pay as much as £70/sq ft.

Should Pepsi choose to move, it would likely pay a much higher rent than it currently does.

In 2010 Pepsi agreed to pay Aviva Investors £25/sq ft at Arlington Business Park. If it decides to remain in Reading, it would be likely to consider Oxford Properties’ Green Park, where Chinese telecoms company Huawei completed a letting to occupy 140,000 sq ft in October.

Pepsi put its 30,000 sq ft Richmond office up for sale in November at an asking price of £7.5m, as part of the consolidation plan. It also took around 10,000 sq ft at Blackstone’s Chiswick Park in December for its senior management.

Two years ago the company entered negotiations with PMB Holdings to occupy the 110,000 sq ft Blade in Reading, but a deal never materialised.

The developer is still seeking occupiers for the property after Visa opted against moving in September 2011 and regeared its lease at nearby Kennet Wharf.

A spokeswoman from PepsiCo said: “We do not comment on speculation.”

 

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