Canary Wharf feathers its nest with new tower

The new building will complete the original vision of Canary Wharf. And make a lot of construction workers very happy, to boot.

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Last Updated: 08 Aug 2011
With all the angst around the markets, it’s easy to forget that there are a couple of good news stories around today. One of those hails from London's Canary Wharf, where a new tower will add to its already-iconic skyline, after plans were agreed on a new 20-storey development at 25, Churchill place. The new tower will ‘complete’ the 1988 vision of Canary Wharf, as set out originally by developer Olympia & York. And it’s going to put a smile on the faces of the beleaguered construction industry, too. What’s not to like?

The new building will apparently provide about 500,000 square feet of office space, or 27,500 feet per floor. It’s even signed up its first tenant: the (slightly obscure) European Medicines Agency, a European quango which has shunned a central location like the Hague or the glitz and glamour of Paris for a 25-year lease on the bottom nine floors of the development, which starts in January 2015. And Songbird Estates, the rather incongruously-named owner of Canary Wharf, has even given it a three-year rent holiday, as long as it fits out the building.

Apparently, the new development will create 1,000 new construction jobs – more good news for the sector, which has been among the industries which have found it hardest to recover from the recession. Last month, GDP figures showed that while the economy as a whole had put in a lacklustre performance, the construction industry had grown by 0.5%. In fact, it was one of the best-performing sectors around, even out-growing the manufacturing sector, which saw a fall in output of 0.3%. And that’s the sector that’s supposed to be leading the economy out of the downturn…

So perhaps construction should be the Government’s new favourite? Indeed, Songbird Estates says it’s got planning permission to build another five office buildings on the Canary Wharf estate, which will create another 5.29m square feet of space. It’s also been asked by JP Morgan to develop its Riverside South building, and Wood Wharf, which is next to Canary Wharf.

Aside from 'who's going to fill all that office space?' the main question on people’s minds is, what’s its silly nickname going to be? Might we suggest the ‘Affordable Ikea Vase’?

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