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Citi to hunt for 700,000 sq ft London hub

By James Buckley - Monday, July 24, 2017 15:38

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US banking giant Citi is to begin testing the London market for options that could accommodate a 700,000 sq ft office as the bank continues to review its occupational requirements in the capital after the Brexit vote, CoStar News can reveal.

Citi has asked agents to pitch for the mandate to advise the firm on finding an office that could house all of its 6,000 London-based staff in a vote of confidence in the city as the bank’s long term European headquarters.

Global banks have been reviewing their office requirements in the UK since the EU referendum although fears of wholesale relocations to other major European cities have lessened since the UK general election and the dwindling possibility of a ‘hard Brexit’.

Citigroup’s EMEA chief, Jim Cowles, told staff earlier this month that the bank had decided to base its EU broker dealer - its main trading operation - in Frankfurt, but would scatter some other businesses across European cities.

However, the move would only displace about 150 jobs - just 2.5% of Citi’s total London workforce - across Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Dublin, Luxembourg, Madrid and Paris as a consequence of the UK’s departure from the EU.

“Frankfurt is our first choice for headquartering our EU broker-dealer based on the existing infrastructure, and the people and expertise we already have on the ground,” Cowles said in an internal memo, adding that “London will remain both our EMEA headquarters and an important global hub for Citi.”

Knight Frank was appointed in March to work alongside existing agent Cushman & Wakefield to sublet 170,000 sq ft of Citi’s office space in its Canary Wharf tower.

The 170,000 sq ft represents just over half of the 336,000 sq ft occupied by Citigroup in the Cesar Pelli-designed 25 Canada Square in Canary Wharf, which is due to become available due to existing subtenants lease expiries over the next 24 months. The building total around 1.2m sq ft.

The office space to be sublet is being offered to the market in varying unit sizes with whole floors providing c.33,000 sq  ft each. Flexible lease lengths are available.

In the last year, around 87,500 sq ft has been let to a variety of tenants, including HSBC, Amec, Energy Aspects, Rimini Street, Rail Asset Management, Objectway, Intellect Design and Exiger.

Bloomberg first reported last October that Citigroup was considering subleasing as much as 300,000 sq ft in 25 Canada Square as it pondered options for the location of its new regional centers.

A spokesperson for Citi declined to comment.

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