London

HMRC Stratford hub celebrates topping out ceremony before it becomes home to Brexit preparations

The HMRC hub topping outs are well underway and we recently witnessed the new HMRC London office, Stratford, reach its highest point.

The 297,328 sqft headquarters will home 4,400 public servants and is due to be complete in late 2020. When it was leased, the hub was projected to base 3,800 staff, but this has now risen in numbers to accommodate work on Brexit.

TFT has been appointed as fund monitor by L&G since January 2018 and is providing monthly reporting to the fund on various aspects of the project.

Katie Brooks, Associate at TFT who lead the monitoring team on the development said:

We are pleased to represent L&G on this exciting and high profile investment. The team at Westfield has been focussed on delivering the building to programme, and we have been impressed with the speed at which it has been constructed.

The ceremony was attended by the developers, Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, funders Legal & General, senior executives at HMRC amongst numerous other stakeholders.

This is one of a portfolio of 9 similar developments funded by L&G that TFT is monitoring across the country.

TFT votes to support local causes

In January, we were happy to ring in the New Year by giving everybody at TFT an extra day of leave to help a charity of their choice. Now, we are deepening our commitment to the local communities of each office around the country, with each office voting on local charities close to their homes and hearts, to support beyond the day job.

Each of our 7 offices in the UK (Bristol, Cardiff, Guildford, London, Manchester, Birmingham and Edinburgh) have chosen their two local charities in hope to give back to the communities they value the most. Typically, local charities are often in need of extra feet on the ground, so we hope this will also encourage more volunteering opportunities for each office.

While local charities benefit from personal involvement of local people, our teams will also see the impact of their contributions first hand.  

We want to be part of the bigger picture, helping to improve local environments and economies. Not only do local charities employ locally, encouraging personal interactions, but they also contribute to the growth and improvement of the direct community around us. As this community around us grows, we see significant and visible results enhancing overall wellbeing (Guardian, 2014).

Chris Keates-Lewis, Head of HR, said:

“This is an exciting direction for us, bringing our offices together in a TFT global effort to improve the lives of those closest to us, and the environment in which we enjoy our lives.”

The chosen charities include:

London: Bankside Open Spaces and Coram’s Fields

Guildford: Challengers and Macmillan Surrey

Bristol: St Peter’s Hospice and The West of England MS Therapy Centre

Cardiff: The Wallich and Ty Hafan

Birmingham: Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice and Zoe’s Place

Manchester: Wood Street Mission and 42nd Street

Edinburgh: The Cystic Fibrosis trust and Staffie Smiles.

TFT will also continue to support LionHeart and LandAid as their chosen national charities.

My MIPIM: Dan Henn

As we start to imagine the sand between our toes and the smell of the fresh ocean air, we spoke to another TFT MIPIM attendee, Dan Henn (Partner and Head of Development & Project Consultancy) to get his view on regional trends and how to seize the opportunities MIPIM has to offer.

What has changed the most in the industry, since MIPIM 2018?

Despite the uncertainty surrounding Brexit, the property and construction world seems to be more or less business as usual. There was a hiatus of decision making in the industry after the May 2017 general election but eventually those time-bound decisions that weren’t being made (which were becoming urgent) had to be made – and the work continues apace.

What would you like to see more (or less) of at MIPIM 2019?

More sunshine and less rain!

What industry topic isn’t getting enough attention?

Retail parks. We are all very used to hearing about the high street and the need to keep up with the pace of the changing consumer behaviour, as our shopping habits become more online-oriented. Will retail parks fall by the wayside, will they become more important, or take a new form altogether?

We’re seeing such a demand across other burgeoning sectors (industrial, logistics, build to rent and senior living) – they represent a wealth of opportunities to re-purpose poorly trading sites into an alternative high performing asset.

What regional trends would you like to explore at MIPIM?

I’m interested in the booming market in the midlands. Following an uptick of activity TFT is investing in project management and cost consultancy resources to match client demand for our services across the region.

Elsewhere, there are interesting micro-markets in London where demand for offices is still strong and fuelling development.

What should every MIPIM first-timer do, or not do?

Don’t fill your diary up too much! The temptation is to accept every offer going in a hope to make sure that you are fully occupied. The real value is in those chance meetings walking along La Croisette or queuing for a drink at the London stand.

On a similar note, avoid those tempting lunches at a fantastic venue but out in the sticks. As nice as they are, they can take you away from the hub where those chance conversations are happening.