Canary Wharf Group is to make a change to the leasing team for the first time in 11 years by replacing Knight Frank with Jones Lang LaSalle.
Property Week has learnt that, following a review of its agency requirements (news, 08.06.07), Canary Wharf has decided to retain CB Richard Ellis but freshen up its operation by bringing in Jones Lang LaSalle.
The agency instruction at the £6.2bn estate is the most prestigious in the UK. The agents involved were informed on Wednesday, and an official statement is due to follow next week.
Although Canary Wharf is renowned for its successful in-house leasing operation, led by Richard Archer, CB Richard Ellis and Knight Frank have played a key role over the years.
After tough years in the mid-1990s, the early part of this decade after 9/11 and the dot.com crash, the vacancy rate in Canary Wharf Group space is now 0.25% and, on the office element of the 14.1m sq ft estate overall, around 3%.
Last week Canary Wharf sold 30 North Colonnade to Fimalac, the parent company of ratings group Fitch, and earlier this year it prelet a neighbouring 300,000 sq ft property to KPMG.
Canary Wharf chief executive George Iacobescu told Property Week: ‘As part of our corporate governance, the company reviews its consultants. We have reviewed auditors, valuers and insurance brokers as part of this process and now we have reviewed our agents.
‘Knight Frank has done a very good job. We remain grateful for their work and we will continue to use them in specific advisory roles. Now we welcome the opportunity to work with Jones Lang Lasalle and to draw on their international breadth of coverage.’
Knight Frank head of commercial Alistair Elliott said: ‘We have had 11 very productive years at Canary. We have a broad business,
we will continue to thrive, and we wish Canary Wharf well.’
The mandate is a coup for Jones Lang LaSalle. Earlier this year it relocated 400 staff to Canary Wharf in property sublet from Lehman Brothers. This not only saved money, but was part of a wider initiative to focus on the regeneration of east London through the Olympics, the O2 dome at Greenwich and the wider Thames Gateway.Its offices chief, Neil Prime, used to run the Canary Wharf account for Knight Frank.