Hines planning 2 million sq ft office-led London project

Hines has submitted a planning application for a 2 million sq ft (186,999 sq m) mixed-use project at Bankside, on the south bank of the Thames in central London.

The plans for 18 Blackfriars Road, which have been formulated with architects Foster + Partners and consultants Lipton Rogers Developments, provide for a predominantly office project (1.2 million sq ft/111,273 sq m gross internal area) with residential (433 units) and retail (19,698 sq ft/1,830 sq m) as well as education, gallery and library space, community use and the project would largely retain the existing Mad Hatters pub.

Hines’s plans envisage a four-level podium building framing a circular public open space called The Rotunda. Above the podium an office tower would have 45 more storeys, while two residential towers with 40 and 22 storeys respectively are planned. Hines said that 40% of the homes will be affordable. 

In a statement, the property company said that the office building would move away from an all-glass design and that the concept is to provide a new form of architecture, “departing from the traditional flat tower office building”. The firm said that the use of colour on the façade, terraces and utilisation of natural light throughout “change the concept of office buildings”, while tech-enabled offices address the demand for “premium quality space that support employee wellbeing in a post-Covid world”.

The plans will also provide 20,000 sq ft (1,858 sq m) of affordable workspace for local and socially minded enterprises. 

The site already has an existing consent for two towers, the tallest of which would have been 184.2 metres. The new office building would be 199.28 metres.

The design of the public space – the Rotunda – is intended to enhance the existing Blackfriars streetscape. The podium would include retail and food outlets, office and residential amenities, cultural and performance facilities, educational spaces, as well as other flexible uses.

The design aims to minimise embodied carbon and is targeting a 20% to 30% improvement against the GLA benchmark. The development is designed to avoid all on-site emissions, and would have an all-electric strategy with ground and air source heating and cooling.

Hines UK’s senior managing director and country head Ross Blair said: “We’ve been working hard with our architects, the local community and other key stakeholders to bring this land, which has been undeveloped for 20 years, back to life.

“Occupiers are demanding more from their spaces to attract and retain the best people, the lines have blurred between workspace, wellness and leisure, and our design truly responds to these needs, offering an inspirational mix of spaces that foster collaboration.”

“The significant investment we are planning underlines our firm belief in London, and its enduring appeal as a global centre for business.”