Putting HMRC on a firm foun­da­tion in the cap­i­tal

Western Mail - - BUSINESS - Sion Barry Business ed­i­tor sion.barry@waleson­line.co.uk

Work has of­fi­cially started on a new UK Gov­ern­ment hub in the cen­tre of Cardiff that will be home to 4,000 civil ser­vants.

It comes as a ground-break­ing cer­e­mony was held ear­lier to­day for the 270,000 sq ft 6 Cen­tral Square build­ing, which rep­re­sents the next phase of the wider Cen­tral Square re­gen­er­a­tion scheme from Cardiff-based prop­erty de­vel­op­ment firm Righ­tacres.

The 12-storey build­ing, de­signed by ar­chi­tec­tural firm Gensler, will be home to the new main tax of­fice for HMRC in Wales - which is re­lo­cat­ing from the Llan­ishen area of Cardiff.

Home to more than 3,000 staff, it will be one of 13 new re­gional cen­tres for HMRC across the UK. Staff will move into the £100m scheme from 2020.

The hub will also be the new home of the Wales Of­fice, which will re­lo­cate its team of around 25 from its cur­rent of­fices in Cardiff Bay.

While other pub­lic sec­tor ten­ants have yet be to con­firmed, the De­part­ment for Work & Pen­sions is also ex­pected to join HMRC staff.

The build­ing, due for com­ple­tion in De­cem­ber 2019, will also have space for other UK Gov­ern­ment de­part­ments and or­gan­i­sa­tions, such as In­no­vate UK, to use.

The hub was cho­sen by the Gov­ern­ment Prop­erty Unit of the UK Gov­ern­ment af­ter a com­pet­i­tive bid­ding process.

HMRC will oc­cupy just over 87% of the build­ing, on the site of the former head­quar­ters and print­ing presses of Me­dia Wales.

The main con­trac­tor for the build­ing is Sir Robert McAlpine. Some 400 jobs will be created dur­ing the con­struc­tion pe­riod.

Gov­ern­ment Prop­erty Unit pro­gramme di­rec­tor Ann Carter-Gray said: “Cen­tral Square will be part of a net­work of Gov­ern­ment hubs, trans­form­ing cen­tral Gov­ern­ment’s of­fices by ac­com­mo­dat­ing many dif­fer­ent de­part­ments in shared build­ings in our cap­i­tal cities and in the re­gions. The hubs will be a cat­a­lyst for growth in city cen­tres and sur­round­ing areas, help­ing to boost jobs and eco­nomic growth and en­sure the de­liv­ery of the best-qual­ity ser­vices to the pub­lic.”

Glynne Jones, di­rec­tor of the Of­fice of the Sec­re­tary of State for Wales, said: “We’re de­lighted to be part of the new Cen­tral Square de­vel­op­ment at the heart of Cardiff’s city cen­tre. This is the be­gin­ning of a process that will even­tu­ally see our col­leagues come to­gether in state-ofthe art fa­cil­i­ties, en­abling closer work­ing re­la­tion­ships be­tween de­part­ments. It also sends a clear mes­sage that the UK Gov­ern­ment is vis­i­ble, ac­ces­si­ble and help­ing to im­prove peo­ple’s lives in Wales.”

HMRC’s es­tates di­rec­tor Steven Boyd said: “This is an im­por­tant mile­stone in the de­liv­ery of the Gov­ern­ment hub in Cardiff, which will be the new home for HMRC in Wales. When it is built, the new build­ing’s qual­ity en­vi­ron­ment and high-speed dig­i­tal con­nec­tiv­ity will al­low our staff to work col­lab­o­ra­tively with other teams, en­abling us to be­come a tax author­ity fit for the fu­ture.”

Other projects al­ready de­liv­ered or un­der con­struc­tion at Cen­tral Square, for which L&G has al­ready com­mit­ted £300m of fund­ing to, are:

The now fully-let One Cen­tral Square of­fice scheme, which ex­tends to 135,000 sq ft and em­ploys more than 1,000 staff with 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 staff be­gin­ning a phase 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.

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 to take the de­ci­sion to re­gen­er­ate this part of the city.”

Paul McCarthy, chief ex­ec­u­tive of Righ­tacres, said: “Cen­tral Square is fast estab­lish­ing it­self as the prime des­ti­na­tion for em­ploy­ers who want to of­fer their staff the very best in city cen­tre, trans­port and leisure ameni­ties. Busi­nesses that have al­ready moved into the Square are see­ing im­proved out­put in pro­duc­tiv­ity and find­ing it eas­ier to re­cruit new tal­ent.”

HUW JOHN, CARDIFF

> Work un­der way on the UK Gov­ern­ment hub at Cen­tral Square

> How the new HMRC HQ will look

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