WORK UNDER WAY ON NEW PUBLIC SECTOR HUB IN CAPITAL AS CONSTRUCTION GIANT AWARDED ONE OF WALES’ LARGEST OFFICE BUILDING CONTRACTS
A£65m contract to build a new public sector hub which will employ thousands of staff in the centre of Cardiff has been awarded to Sir Robert McAlpine.
The project is the latest phase in the wider Central Square office, residential and retail scheme from Cardiff-based property development firm Rightacres.
The 12-storey building, which will extend to more than 270,000 sq ft, is due for completion at the end of 2019.
Designed by architectural firm Gensler, it will house a new tax headquarters for HMRC in Wales, which will relocate into the building from its current HQ in the Llanishen area of Cardiff in 2020.
The move will allow HMRC to sell its existing Llanishen site for redevelopment, potentially for a housing-led regeneration scheme.
Some 3,600 HMRC staff (full-time equivalent) will be based in the new building.
Joining them will be the Wales Office, with its current Cardiff Bay office moving into the hub. This opens up the prospect of it being used for cabinet meetings of the UK Government.
And as part of UK Government plans to create a major public sector hub, a number of other non-devolved civil service operations in Wales could join HMRC – taking staff numbers to around 4,000.
Other departments that could join HMRC and the Wales Office at the hub include the likes of the Ministry of Justice and the Department for Work and Pensions.
Six Central Square, on an undeveloped site which was formerly the location for the offices and printing presses of Media Wales, could accommodate up to 4,000, so has significant available space beyond that required for up to 3,600 HMRC workers.
Rightacres also has plans for a further 180,000 sq ft office building next to the HMRC building, which could also house other public sector departments.
Paul McCarthy, chief executive of Rightacres, said: “Sir Robert McAlpine played a big part in helping us secure the hub to Central Square.
“They have fantastic local team each of whom has an impressive portfolio and we look forward to working with them to deliver this project.”
Peter Munn, Wales and West managing director of Sir Robert McAlpine, said: “We are delighted to have been appointed following the collaborative dialogue with Rightacres in developing proposals and reaching contract award.
“The commencement of the construction work marks a key milestone for the project for which we are very proud to be a part of, and we look forward to working closely with all stakeholders in realising this exciting development.”
Secretary of State for Wales Alun Cairns said: “This Government is committed to delivering the best-quality public services in every corner of the UK.
“This new build is great news for Cardiff, and will deliver a range of benefits to people in the capital and beyond, from improved public space and transport, to employment opportunities during construction.”
Russell Goodway, Cardiff Council’s cabinet member for investment and development, said: “The decision to locate the new UK Government Hub at Central Square effectively confirms how right we as a council were back in 2013 to take the decision to regenerate this part of the city.”
Huw Thomas, leader of Cardiff council added: “Central Square continues to deliver both construction and permanent jobs in what is de facto now our business district. By 2020 the location will be home to over 10,000 workers – the economic impact will be colossal.”
McAlpine’s team on the project includes Arup as both structural and mechanical engineers and MACE as project managers.
Other projects already delivered or under construction at Central Square are:
The now fully let One Central Square office scheme, which extends to 135,000 sq ft and employs more than 1,000 staff through tenants including law firm Blake Morgan and car finance specialists MotoNovo.
A new 150,000 sq ft headquarters for BBC Cymru Wales, which will see 1,200 of the public service broadcasters’ staff beginning a phased move from autumn 2019.
The 135,000 sq ft No 2 Central Square office scheme, which will be ready for occupancy next summer and is already fully pre-let to law firm Hugh James and Cardiff University’s School of Journalism, Media and Culture Studies.
> An artist’s impression of the next phase of Cardiff’s Central Square development, where HMRC will be based
> The site of the public sector hub at Central Square in the centre of Cardiff