News Corporation today confirmed it will not carry out a 500,000 sq ft office relocation in London but instead plans to redevelop its Wapping site to create an ‘innovative campus for its UK business’.
As revealed by Property Week (News 22.08.08) the global media group, founded by Rupert Murdoch, has decided against a move to three shortlisted developments in the City and Canary Wharf in favour of redeveloping its own existing campus.
News Corporation said it will work closely with Tower Hamlets Borough Council and local organisations, communicating and consulting throughout the project. It said: ‘By 2012 the capital will be hosting the Olympics and Wapping will have become a gateway to the whole of a regenerated East London.’
It has selected architects Future Systems to design a scheme while Arup has been appointed to manage engineering and sustainability. Pringle Brandon has been appointed to do space planning and Savant will provide quantity surveying support. Corporate Property Advisers will continue to provide programme management support.
All of its business arms including News International, Harper Collins, MySpace, Dow Jones, Fox and related businesses will be located under one roof for the first time. It hopes to complete the project at the 20-acre site near Tower Hill station by 2012.
Short term space
News International did not comment on its short term space requirements but it is thought formal negotiations are ongoing with Land Securities to take 150,000 sq ft of overflow space at LandSecs’ nearby Thomas More Square.
The Sun-to-Sunday Times publisher said it decided to choose its own site because ‘it provides the company room to expand and the opportunity to design a bold and innovative campus.’
James Murdoch, chairman and chief executive for Europe and Asia at News Corporation, said: ‘Throughout our history, News Corporation has challenged conventions and we hope this building will provide benefits to the business that can’t be found in traditional commercial real estate. Wapping is not only important as a physical site, but also it is a symbol of how bold individuals, working together, can advance the world of media and thereby contribute to life in Britain. We have chosen to create an exciting campus that is flexible, environmentally sustainable and where colleagues can do the best work of their lives.’
Amanda Levete, principal at Future Systems, said: 'It’s an enormous privilege to be given such an ambitious brief... I want the building to reflect their values, the individuality of their businesses and the dynamic way in which they work. It’s my desire to create for them one of the most exciting office spaces in the world. The scale is huge, and the opportunity even bigger. This development will be one of the most exciting in London.'
The decision will be a blow for the London market, which was hoping for a larger letting when the media giant kicked off the search 11 months ago. It shortlisted UBS and Oxford Properties’ Watermark Place and Minerva’s St Botolph’s scheme in the City of London and Canary Wharf’s 25 Churchill Place. It also considered Henderson Global Investors’ Beaufort and 133 Houndsditch schemes in the City for overflow space.