HMRC confirms mega Stratford City move

By Paul Norman - Thursday, December 07, 2017 12:06

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The government has confirmed that the HMRC has signed for 240,000 sq ft of offices at Westfield's Stratford City next to the former 2012 Olympics game site in east London.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has formally signed an agreement to lease 14 Westfield Avenue, Stratford, London for 25 years. The 240,000 sq ft offices will accommodate around 3,800 HMRC employees from late 2020.

Westfield Avenue is the ninth lease that HMRC has signed out of the 13 regional centres announced as part of its transformation to be a tax authority fit for the future.

Jon Thompson, Chief Executive of HMRC, said: “HMRC has a long-established presence in London and this regional centre in Stratford marks the next step in HMRC’s transformation into a modern, digitally-advanced tax authority. It will bring compliance teams together with sophisticated IT and data analytics to increase our effectiveness in cracking down on tax cheats.

“We are delighted to have agreed terms for the building in Westfield Avenue and to have made a commitment to our new location in Stratford. As part of the process we will see around 3,800 staff come together in state-of-the-art facilities, and make HMRC an important contributor to the economy and communities in and around Stratford.”

A Cabinet Office spokesperson said: “We are investing in multi-departmental hubs across the UK so that even more civil servants will be able to work in modern, flexible office space. Hubs will operate in London and around the country, empowering civil servants to work in smarter ways to deliver better public services from every corner of the UK.”

14 Westfield Avenue will be a new commercial space located in the heart of Stratford, next to Westfield Stratford City and a short distance from Stratford tube and railway stations. The 12 storey building is developed by Westfield Europe Development limited. HMRC will be located on the top eight floors.

Stratford will also be home to a new customer laboratory to help HMRC test new services with customers, for example, by observing how they interact with the tax authority online. The department has worked closely with colleagues in customer compliance to ensure that Stratford will be a state-of-the-art intelligence centre, with all the security specification that involves.

Westfield has already delivered the 10-storey 1 Stratford Place at its Westfield Stratford City shopping centre site. It has consent for a further 1m sq ft of offices which it is planning to bring forward in three phases.

Curzon Capital Partners’ Core Plus Fund CPP IV, advised by pan-European real estate investment manager Tristan Capital Partners, bought 1 Stratford Place, from Westfield, for £70m in 2015.

The property was developed in 2011 and comprises a single office block which sits above the eastern part of the Westfield Stratford shopping centre, adjacent to Stratford Station. The building provides 127,009 sq ft of Grade A office space over six floors and is let to covenants including Network Rail, London Legacy Development Corporation and Coral Racing at an average rent of £33.50 per sq ft.

HMRC has been pursuing one of the UK’s most significant office occupational requirements after announcing plans at the end of 2015 to close 137 local tax offices across the UK and replace them with 13 regional centres, prompting a 2m sq ft requirement over the next five years. The first of the centres opened in 2016-17 with the others following between 2017 and 2021.

Peter Miller, Chief Operating Officer of Westfield Europe said: “Westfield is pleased to announce that HMRC has selected the Westfield office development in Stratford to open a new and modern regional centre. Stratford is an established office destination with unrivalled amenities including superior transport connectivity which will be enhanced with the opening of Crossrail in 2019. It is also home to the UK’s number one retail and leisure destination, Westfield Stratford City.

"There is expanding residential development in the area and the proposed Cultural and Education District will open new sites for the London College of Fashion and University College of the Arts, London, UCL East as well as spaces from Victoria and Albert Museum and Sadler’s Wells. Westfield has started construction on the new office development, with HRMC teams expected to start moving in from 2020.”

Richard Norton, director of tenant representation at JLL, who advised HMRC, said: “JLL advised HMRC on suitable East London locations before selecting Westfield’s development. The rigorous process included a broad range of criteria as well as cost efficiency considerations. The excellent building will provide a modern workspace to facilitate the coming together of a number of teams and is bolstered by outstanding transport connectivity. This is a further endorsement of Stratford as a burgeoning commercial centre and reinforces the wide ranging appeal of East London.”

The government has already announced the location of nine multi-departmental hubs to modernise the working environments for civil servants:

 

  • HM Government Erskine House, Belfast
  • HM Government 3 Arena Central, Birmingham
  • HM Government 3 Glass Wharf, Bristol
  • HM Government 10 South Colonnade, Canary Wharf
  • HM Government 6 Central Square, Cardiff
  • HM Government 1 Ruskin Square, Croydon
  • HM Government New Waverley, Edinburgh
  • HM Government 7 & 8 Wellington Place, Leeds
  • HM Government India Buildings, Liverpool

The hubs in Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Croydon, Edinburgh, Leeds and Liverpool are also part of HMRC’s network of regional centres.

JLL advised the Government Property Unit while Cushman & Wakefield and CBRE advise Westfield on the offices at Stratford.

pnorman@costar.co.uk

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