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New Wood Wharf Development: Canary Wharf Urban District Planned

New Wood Wharf Development: Canary Wharf Urban District Planned

Wood Wharf Canary Wharf Development

New plans for an urban district in London’s Canary Wharf featuring 2 million square feet of office space and 3,600 homes have been unveiled.

The Wood Wharf development, set to be completed by 2023, is expected to create 20,000 new jobs and introduce residential units to Canary Wharf for the first time in an attempt to accommodate local workers. The plans are being overseen by the Canary Wharf Group, (CWG) owned by Arab sovereign wealth fund the Qatar Investment Authority.

Set across 23 acres of land, the development will include offices, residential units, shops, parks, a doctor’s surgery and leisure centre, as well as a primary school. Early estimates suggested that the site would cost £2bn, although a spokesperson for CWG maintained that it was “very hard to say” how much the complex development’s multiple phases would cost in total.

CWG initially gained planning permission for the district in 2014, with Tower Hamlets Council approving the “innovative” project. The developers have been working on preparations for construction since then, “focusing on detailed building design and managing the infrastructure requirements for a development of this scale”.

2m sq ft of office space to “reinvent” London’s tech landscape

At the heart of the development are plans for over two million square feet of office space specially designed to accommodate fast-growth and start-up companies in the tech and creative sectors.

The development will provide office space for an estimated 20,000 workers across technology and creative industries, according to the Canary Wharf Group’s estimates. Low-rise buildings and the fastest 5G download speeds in the UK are planned for the site in a bid to attract tech companies to the commercial district, which is traditionally associated with financial services.

Sir George Iacobescu, chairman and chief executive of the CWG, said in a statement that the:

“..major investment into London’s infrastructure” and its emphasis on office space for tech companies would define the British tech industry for years to come. Sir George said: “Canary Wharf has reinvented London’s business landscape once and, with Wood Wharf, we intend to do so again for the era of fast growth tech and creative businesses.”

The move gives significant encouragement to the UK tech sector after some had feared for the industry’s prospects over the next decade following Brexit.

President Jacqueline de Rojas of trade association techUK said the development’s focus on IT office space was unsurprising, given the “extraordinary rate” at which London’s tech sector has grown over the “past five years,” adding that: “Tech companies have consistently broken records in terms of investment, job creation and revenue growth.”

Council praises proposal’s “outstanding design quality”

The plans to transform Canary Wharf into a hub for not only Britain’s financial but also technology sectors builds on CWG’s launch of FinTech start-up accelerator Level 39 in 2013.

Level 39 provides state-of-the-art infrastructure for 76 technology start-ups focused on financial technology, cybersecurity and future cities technologies. The new plans to transform over two million square feet of office space into a home for “a larger number of tech jobs than in the entire city of Cambridge” are set to provide a £199m injection into the area’s small business economy.

Several major companies have already signed leases to become future tenants of Wood Wharf, including The Office Group and Hoxton Hotels owner Ennismore.

Tower Hamlets Council has praised the development, noting that the planned office spaces were of “outstanding design quality” and “particularly suitable for small and medium enterprises.” In 2014, the future development won the Tall Buildings prize in the MIPIM Architectural Review Future Project Awards.

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