EMA Commits to London for a Quarter Century

September 1, 2011
Philip Ward

Philip Ward is ACT's European editor, phone +44 1244 538583, philipward1@btconnect.com

Applied Clinical Trials

Applied Clinical Trials, Applied Clinical Trials-09-01-2011, Volume 20, Issue 9

The EMA is moving its offices to Canary Wharf Estate.

The European Medicines Agency has confirmed its long-term commitment to remain in London by signing a 25-year lease agreement for office space in a new 20-story building on the Canary Wharf estate. The Agency plans to move in 2014, when the leases on its current premises expire.

The EMA will lease the basement, promenade, ground, and first nine office floors. It has agreed a pre-let of 250,000 square feet (23,226 square meters) in a new office building of over 500,000 square feet to be constructed at 25 Churchill Place, close to the Agency's existing properties at 1, 7, and 11 Westferry Circus, also at Canary Wharf in London, where it currently occupies around 225,000 square feet.

A computer-generated image of the EMA’s new home, located in the Canary Wharf Estate.

The agreed rent is £46.50 per square foot (about $75.35) commencing on January 1, 2015, with five yearly upwards-only rent reviews. The EMA has options to take an additional four floors of around 27,500 square feet each. It will receive a 37-month rent-free period, which will be used to pay for decorating and equipping the building.

"The new building will enable the agency to improve the efficiency of its use of space, reducing its annual expenditure. The agency hopes to cover the costs of relocation with the savings that these reductions will bring over the first 10 years of its tenancy," noted a press release issued by the EMA on August 9. "The Agency will not need to pay any costs towards construction."

Work on the tower is due to begin in the fourth quarter of 2011. Energy-efficient, environmental features will include elevators that store and reuse energy elsewhere in the building, and air-conditioning equipment that recycles the energy from exhaust air and photovoltaic cells to generate energy from the sun's rays. The building will have a "green" roof, which enhances biodiversity and energy efficiency.

As many as 1,000 direct jobs, plus several thousand indirect jobs, will be supported in the construction and supply of materials and components, giving a further boost to the local economy, according to the landlord.

"We are very pleased to provide the EMA with a building that responds to their new requirements, offering new technology and significant organizational and environmental efficiencies," said George Iacobescu, Chairman and Chief Executive of Canary Wharf Group .

The new tower will be one of the most energy-efficient office buildings on the Canary Wharf Estate, and it will achieve an "excellent" environmental performance rating and an Energy Performance Certificate rating of 40 or better, he noted. The balance of the space will be marketed by Canary Wharf Group as construction progresses. As a result of the pre-let to EMA, the landlord is in advanced discussions about funding for the project with a number of lenders.

Construction of the shell and core and decorating will be undertaken by Canary Wharf Group. The architects will be Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates. News International had originally intended to occupy the site, but the media group pulled out, leaving the site undeveloped.

The President of the European Parliament, Jerzy Buzek, informed the EMA of his agreement over the relocation on July 18, 2011, following a favorable opinion from the Committee on Budgets.

About 95,000 people work at Canary Wharf, and the number is projected to double by 2025. Around 20% of the estate consists of landscaped parks, plazas, and walkways with over 1,000 trees and 88 floral species. Each year 70,000 seasonal plants are planted.

There are more than 200 shops, bars, and restaurants on the development. Recent openings include Levi Strauss and Charles Tyrwhitt. Seven new bars and restaurants have opened there during the past 18 months, creating over 400 jobs. Current projects underway outside Canary Wharf include the 20 Fenchurch Street "Walkie Talkie" which is a joint venture with Land Securities, and the redevelopment of the Shell Center on the South Bank, a joint venture with Qatari Diar.

During the construction of the EMA's new office, much of the equipment and materials will be transported by water, minimizing carbon emissions and congestion on local roads. —Philip Ward

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