Nine Elms is making its mark as a business destination, with the 217,000 sq ft EG:HQ office building securing planning consent and the flagship One Embassy Gardens now coming on stream. These outstanding new office buildings at Ballymore Group’s Embassy Gardens demonstrate how the development is driving transformation through design quality and the careful curation of spaces and places.
Spanning more than 560 acres of Vauxhall and Battersea beside the River Thames, Nine Elms is central London’s largest regeneration district. Richard Howard, Head of London Leasing at commercial property consultant Cushman & Wakefield says many are unaware of the sheer scale of the area’s transformation, but that it is now making an impression on the business community. “The first question occupiers ask of any new area is: ‘who’s coming there?’ And game changing occupiers are coming to Nine Elms,” he says.
Game changers don’t come much bigger than the US Embassy with its shimmering cube of a new building, Apple, which is establishing its London HQ at Battersea Power Station, or publisher Penguin Random House UK, which has taken more than 83,000 sq ft of space in One Embassy Gardens, alongside the 44,000 sq ft taken by its sister business Dorling Kindersley. At Embassy Gardens, occupiers are buying into a brand new neighbourhood that is now rapidly being populated with top quality restaurants and individual cafes. “With the arrival of Darby’s restaurant by chef Robin Gill and other openings, the area has food and beverage offerings that are important to business,” points out Howard.
The planned 13 storey EG: HQ combines flexible, contemporary office space with 5,000 sq ft of ground floor retail and restaurant space. The design by architect Morris+Company fosters employee health and wellbeing, having workspaces with natural light, views and access to the outdoors in a series of private and communal terrace spaces. The 18,000 sq ft of outdoor amenity space is key for modern businesses, allowing, says Morris+Company Founding Director Joe Morris, “for contemplation, collaboration or concentration.” In all, says Cushman & Wakefield’s Howard, EG:HQ, has a lot to offer: “It has a world class architect in Joe Morris, a massive terrace on the tenth floor, a brand new office environment and the river Thames.”
One Embassy Gardens is already coming on stream, demonstrating the standard being set for this thoroughly modern business district. The 215,000 sq ft building, designed by Lee Polisano of PLP Architects, also provides wellbeing-inducing links to its environment, having a roof terrace, winter gardens and views across the capital and the Thames. “The building complements its setting with its quality and fantastic natural light, and compared to a location like Victoria it is cost effective,” says Paul Grindal, Director with commercial property consultant Jones Lang LaSalle.
Grindal sees such space having broad appeal: “On the face of it, media and tech companies will be attracted to the area, but because of the connections to London and the West End I can see corporates and the financial sector being attracted. Apple and the US Embassy will act as poles of attraction.” Being in the zone 1 travel area, the location is convenient for access across the capital and has a direct rail link to Waterloo station. Transport connections are also being further improved, as two new Northern Line underground stations - at Nine Elms and Battersea Power Station – are under construction.
In all, the Nine Elms area will have more than 6.5 million sq ft of new commercial space, as well as homes, retail and leisure space, a linear park, river walk and the river Thames itself. As Grindal says, “The regeneration and investment going into the area demonstrate how it is developing as a place.”
John Mulryan, Group Managing Director, Ballymore, commented, “Nine Elms is fast establishing itself as a competitive commercial quarter, thanks to the likes of Apple at Battersea and Penguin Random House and the US Embassy at Embassy Gardens. We know that in order to attract the best talent, companies need to provide high quality office space that supports wellbeing, creativity and ultimately productivity. EG:HQ is the answer to that, in riverside zone one, just a stone’s throw from Westminster.”