Greener, more flexible, employee-centric: Citigroup is ticking every box with its decision to refurbish rather than demolish its EMEA headquarters in London’s Canary Wharf. The US investment bank is investing over £100 million in the three-year project to create a more sustainable office environment with collaboration spaces, wellbeing zones and a winter garden.
Citi, which has a strategy to own rather than rent its main offices, had bought the tower at 25 Canada Square in 2019 for a reported £1.2 billion. The 42-storey building, designed by César Pelli, is one of the tallest in the UK.
The decision to refurbish will save nearly 100,000 tonnes of embodied carbon, the equivalent of running 21,739 family cars for a year, the bank said. After the upgrade the building will have solar panels and water recycling systems and will have a BREEAM Excellent rating.
Last year Citi committed to making its operations net zero by 2030. The Canary Wharf project, one of the largest office refurbishments in Europe, will be carried out by WilkinsonEyre.
“Our rejuvenated EMEA headquarters will be designed to maximise collaborative workspaces, supported by technology, to enable us to work flexibly and with maximum agility”, said David Livingstone, chief executive EMEA, Citigroup. “Our aim is to create an environmentally sustainable, innovative and exciting place to work, incorporating modern design, state-of-the-art technology and best practices in employee and client spaces”.
The refurbished building will have new public spaces at ground floor level, which passers-by can cross to move from Canada Square to Jubilee Park.
Citi’s 9,000 employees will relocate to another building in Canada Square until the refurbishment work is complete in 2025. The bank said that it plans to hire more bankers in London.
Citi’s announcement is a signal of its confidence in the future of London as a global financial centre post Brexit, but it is also a big boost for Canary Wharf. The district had turned into a ghost town during the pandemic, but it has now come back to life with the lifting of restrictions and the return to the office in England.
“I am delighted Citi is making a long-term commitment to Canary Wharf as a dynamic and sustainable urban environment in which to work, live and play”, said Shobi Khan, CEO, Canary Wharf Group. “With our commitment to sustainability and our track record as the UK’s largest developer of sustainable space, it is exciting to see Citi’s initiative to transform its site”.