The Taxman cometh: HMRC signs £200m office lease

Ruskin Masterplan

The Ruskin Square development, at the western side of East Croydon Station, is finally taking shape, with apartment blocks close to completion and a major office tenancy deal agreed

The Taxman cometh.

HM Revenue and Customs has today signed a 25-year lease for the whole of the first office block to be completed in the Ruskin Square development. The deal could be worth more than £200 million for the developers.

And perhaps most encouragingly for the aforementioned Stanhope and their financial backers Schroders is one line in this morning’s press release about the HMRC deal: “There is also an option to lease further space at Ruskin Square”. Finding long-term, anchor tenants prepared to move their businesses to Croydon has not been straightforward.

The agreement for the commercial office block, which is due to be completed in November, can be seen as marking the end of 20 years of uncertainty over the long-stalled development of the key “gateway” site next to East Croydon Station.

Inside Croydon last year was first to report HMRC’s interest in establishing one of its new “tax hubs” in the town centre. From next summer, the nine-storey building will house around 2,500 civil servants from across HMRC, including specialist teams who will work on debt management, fraud and criminal investigations and tax compliance, one of the government’s tax department’s new regional centres.

How the somewhat prosaicly named "Building 1" on Ruskin Square should look once it is completed for its tenants, HMRC

How the somewhat prosaicly named “Building 1” on Ruskin Square should look once it is completed for its tenants, HMRC

With commercial rents of around £45 per square foot, the 180,000 sq ft building could be expected to provide £8 million per year to Stanhope.

Overall, the £500 million Ruskin Square scheme includes around 2 million sq ft of development over the nine-acre site, spread across five apartment blocks which include 600 “executive apartments”, and with the intention to build six office buildings. Public open space is also to be provided in Ruskin Square along with 256 car parking spaces and 100,000 sq ft of retail, cafes and restaurants.

“The first office block is already underway, the first phase of housing is nearing completion and, with the opening of Boxpark and detailed planning permission for a second office block, Ruskin Square will deliver the sort of commercial, housing and leisure development that Croydon really needs,” David Camp, Stanhope’s CEO, said in a statement issued by the company today.

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5 Responses to The Taxman cometh: HMRC signs £200m office lease

  1. I assume there’s no sign of the purpose built theatre that was to become the home of the Warehouse Theatre in the current plans…

    • Not in this particular building, Paul, though I do get the sense that Stanhope would very much like to include a studio theatre in one of their buildings as part of the healthy “mix” of uses and attractions within Ruskin Square.

      The trouble is, the £3 million which they earmarked for a New Warehouse Theatre was nabbed by the council’s then CEO, Jon Rouse, under the previous Tory administration when they pulled the Warehouse’s grant, and (presumably) has been allocated elsewhere.

      Stanhope say that if the council wants to partner on a studio theatre, using their allocated £3 million, they can accommodate it.

      As we reported here.

      Where that might now fit in with the grandiose “Culture Quarter” and the focus of so much resource on Fairfield Halls, I think you can guess.

  2. derekthrower says:

    Isn’t it amazing that our risk-taking speculators are completely reliant on the public sector purse to realise their development?

    This is subsidy in another name and its use in featherbedding too-big-to-fail speculators and powerful pressure groups at the expense of efficient and appropriate development of land and precious space.

  3. Ave Rave says:

    Just wondering if the owners of the site, stanhope schroder, are at all registered in a tax haven for tax dodging purposes. Its just that the HMRC have form when it comes to renting offices from dodgy off shore companies. This is so ironic you couldn’t make it up:
    “A reminder that HMRC actually rents its offices from a company registered in a tax haven”–bJ2PgGt9eZ

  4. veeanne2015 says:

    Wasn’t the £3 million provided in the first place by Stanhope/Schroder as part of the S106 Agreement to be used to build a new Warehouse Theatre, as part of their plans for a new park. homes, offices, public viewing tower at the top of the tallest building, a small amphitheatre for 5-a-side games and outside performances and much more, which with planning permission, finances assured, and prospective office tenant in line, they were ready to start building?

    So what stopped them? The former Council, especially Tim Pollard, slapped a C.P.O. on the site, and subsequently demanded the money for their own plans for Fairfield Halls area, so I understand.

    However, shouldn’t this money be returned for its original purpose rather than ‘putting the eggs in one basket’ at Fairfield Halls, especially with a thousand less parking places there in the future?

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