In what could be one of London’s biggest office moves in 2013, Ogilvy & Mather looks set to bid farewell to its Canary Wharf home.
The advertising giant is looking at taking 200,000 sq. ft. of office space in Sea Containers House on the Thames South Bank. If negotiations are successful, the agency will occupy two-thirds of the available office space in the building, which is currently undergoing extensive refurbishment.
Plans to redevelop the site were approved at the end of 2011, with work expected to be completed in early 2014. The revamped site will include Europe’s first Mondrian hotel, a new pedestrian route between Sea Containers House and OXO Tower Wharf, and a selection of new cafés opening onto the River Walkway.
The building’s high profile as part of last year’s Olympic Games celebrations is rumoured to be one of the reasons behind Ogilvy & Mather’s interest, although the changing face of Canary Wharf is also likely to have influenced their decision.
In recent years, the area has seen a shift away from its traditional heavy focus on the financial services sector towards a more diverse mix of businesses.
In particular, the planned Wood Wharf site is being designed to accommodate businesses in the high tech and media industries. In a dramatic departure from the style of existing buildings in the area, the proposed design is for low-rise buildings, incorporating a mix of commercial and residential space. The site will also offer a wide selection of office space for smaller businesses, signalling that the era of the high-powered corporate giant may be over.
Inevitably, as the area changes shape to adapt to changing market conditions, some of its existing residents will decide to move on. Ogilvy & Mather could well have found the perfect new location in Sea Containers House; which would see them join other major creative and technology companies including IBM and ITV on South Bank’s Upper Ground.
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