Cardiff, in particular the Central Square area, is seeing a fair bit of work being done as of late to make the city a more desirable destination for businesses, and it seems to be paying off in a big way. We recently discussed how law firms are beginning to pour into the area en masse, and as developments continue the city’s prospects are only looking brighter. If further evidence of this was needed, the largest office deal in Welsh history has just been confirmed as HMRC signed on the dotted line to agree a move to a brand new headquarters located at 6 Central Square.

An artist's impression of the new HMRC offices
The deal will see HMRC relocating their current Cardiff offices, situated in the Llanishen area, to a brand new 266,000sq ft building in a landmark pre-let deal, marking the next phase of the ongoing Central Square regeneration scheme. Some 3,600 members of staff will initially be based at the new HQ, which has space enough to accommodate a slight increase and bring that total up to 4,000 if required.

The project, which is being delivered by Cardiff-based property development firm Rightacres Property in partnership with financial services giant Legal and General and Cardiff Council, with construction being carried out by Robert McAlpine, is scheduled for completion in late 2016. HMRC will occupy the new offices from 2020, assuming that is that the £100m project is given planning approval following a determination expected to take place next month.

The new 12-storey building will be one of 13 regional tax centres spread throughout the UK, and forms part of a property rationalisation programme from the UK Government's property arm, the Government Property Unit (GPU). It is hoped that the programme will deliver savings to the taxpayer of up to £1bn by freeing up land and reduce the number of UK government buildings from 800 to 200 by the year 2022.

The deal is by no means a cheap one for HMRC however, as they have signed a 25-year lease on the new building with no break clause and a rental price of £16 per sq ft per annum, with the rate being subject to review every five years to account for inflation. On top of that, they are reportedly investing £20m to fit out the new premises. Once completed the building’s ownership will transfer to L&G's pension arm.

The Minister for Government Resilience and Efficiency, Caroline Nokes, said of the development, “This Government is committed to delivering the best quality public services in every corner of the UK, and today’s announcement is an important step towards that.

“This new lease is great news for Cardiff, and will deliver a range of benefits to people in Cardiff, from improved public space and transport to better access to the Principality Stadium from the station.”

Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns also commented, “The UK Government already has a significant footprint in Wales and I believe that basing several departments in a single office in the centre of Cardiff demonstrates the impact we can make through greater collaboration.

“This will not only lead to better integration between departments and create an obvious cost-saving for the taxpayer, but will also send a clear message that the UK Government is visible, accessible and helping to improve people’s lives in Wales.”

Sam Bonson

Sam is an aspiring novelist with a passion for fantasy and crime thrillers. He is currently working as a content writer, journalist & editor as he continues to expand his horizons.
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