17.8-Metre Tower in Shoreditch Has Space for 506 Desks and Is London’s Tallest Timber Building
TOG, the flexible workspace provider owned by Blackstone and Brockton Everlast, has opened central London’s tallest mass-timber tower in Shoreditch, with online grocery retailer Ocado already in situ.
The Black & White Building, which is the firm’s first property to be “built up from the ground”, is a 17.8-metre office block, covering 38,315 square feet, which has been constructed using renewable materials and “highly innovative construction methods” for a cost of around £17 million.
CoStar News understands that the building is already 50% let, with Ocado Technology, part of grocery company Ocado Group, taking space on the third floor of the seven-floor building. BVN Architects is also located at the property, which is predicted to be full in six to eight weeks.
TOG bought 74 Rivington Street in 2013. On the site was an 11,000-square-foot building that was painted black and white, giving the development its name. The space has been expanded and rebuilt, using cross-laminated timber and laminated veneer lumber, creating a 506-desk flexible work space, with 28 offices of varying sizes.
Six meeting rooms, two lounge areas and break-out spaces also feature in the building, which will have a roof terrace and storage space for 94 bikes.
TOG, which is now part of The Office Group following a merger of TOG and peer Fora in September 2022, says the timber used in the building reduces the embodied carbon by 37% compared with a concrete structure of the same size. It also claims the renewable materials are recyclable and generate less waste than common building materials like iron, steel and cement.
The Black and White Building is targeting a BREEAM Excellent rating.
The Office Group CEO Enrico Sanna in a statement said the building represented “the blueprint for our future workspaces” and would encourage others to rethink their construction methods.
“As businesses of all sizes are increasingly considering their impact on the planet, we have an important role to play in leading by example and helping to transform the urban fabric of the city, as well as helping our members to deliver their own sustainability credentials.
“Partnering with Waugh Thistleton Architects has brought our aligned sustainability vision to life by developing a building that offers long-term, innovative and sustainable solutions.”
The Black and White Building is the Office Group’s 14th in the City and Shoreditch area, and sits directly opposite TOG’s 81 Rivington Street property.
President of The Office Group and TOG co-founder Charlie Green said: “Rebuilding The Black & White Building has been our opportunity to show our very real commitment to driving positive change in the industry.
“It’s about building as responsibly as possible, taking risks and learning as much as we can along the way. We very much hope that this building encourages others to develop commercial buildings with the environment at the core of their approach to construction.”
“The Black & White Building is TOG’s first project which has seen them develop a completely new property and involved them bringing down the old building on 74 Rivington Street, which Green said was “a failing, tiring” building which “had a shelf life”. Consent for a new build was approved by Hackney council.
Green added that timber was used for columns, beams, walls and floors within the building, while 88% of the furniture within the office has been sourced from the UK. He told CoStar News separately that many businesses were looking to move into higher quality spaces following the return to work movement, focusing on their ESG targets.
“All firms have a responsibility and they have to do this because there is a corporate responsibility as well as a responsibility to the people who they employ, that people want to work for and stay with. This building is a route to ticking that box for occupiers and making sure they have a genuine commitment to addressing the sustainability agenda.”
At the end of 2022, TOG committed to opening its largest workspace, Chancery House, in May 2023. The buildings will offer 127,000 square feet across eight floors, with space for approximately 1,500 desks and is located above the historic London Silver Vaults.
The Office Group, combining TOG and Fora, has 72 locations, totalling 3.1 million square feet across London and in Cambridge, Oxford, Reading, Bristol, Leeds, Berlin, Frankfurt, and Hamburg. Current TOG and Fora tenants include BP, GSK, Ocado, British Fashion Council, Peleton and Advent Capital, among many others.
Blackstone and Brockton Capital have a majority interest in the group.
Mercers Fills Up City Offices With Hat-Trick of Lettings
21,000-Square-Foot Final Phase at Becket House Has Been Leased
The Mercers’ Company has secured a hat-trick of lettings to take Becket House, its 42,000-square-foot office in the City of London to full occupancy.
The company has recently completed the final phase of its refurbishment programme with the building fully let within six months from the completion of works.
Scandinavian law firm Schojodt has leased 6,054 square feet on the sixth floor, specialist agency Opus Recruitment has leased 6,624 square feet on the fifth floor, and independent broker Ardonagh Services has leased 7,817 square feet on the third floor.
The building has been refurbished and repositioned over the last three years, with the final 21,000 square feet having undergone a £6 million refurbishment, encompassing three office space floors, the reception area and the addition of new cycling facilities.
The building is sited next to Bank Station at 36 Old Jewry, Becket House captures the evolving demands of office tenants returning to the City, with a Category B fit-out on offer to suit the current needs of businesses.
Peter Gray, partner, Knight Frank, said the City office market is increasingly seeing a flight to quality and the addition of welfare facilities and external terraces at the building is a direct response to this.
Veronika Sillitoe, partner, Ingleby Trice, added: “The successful disposal of all three floors just six months post-launch is a testament to the attractive refurbishment and the Category B fit out delivered by the Mercers’ Company. Understanding and forecasting tenants’ evolving requirements are key to ensuring leasing success and we look forward to the launch of the next project within the Mercers’ Company’s portfolio already underway.”
Knight Frank and Ingleby Trice acted on behalf of the Mercers’ Company.
The Worshipful Company of Mercers is the premier Livery Company, or guild, of the City of London. It was incorporated under a Royal Charter in 1394, though it is older. It owns a property portfolio, administers schools and makes charitable donations.