The Taxman has arrived.
Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs has this week begun moving into its new office building at 1 Ruskin Square, next to East Croydon Station, the first “regional hub” to become operational in “a major restructuring” (that is, 6,000 jobs cut) by the government department. HMRC has said that the restructure will save up to £100million on real estate costs.
This week’s handover marks a significant step for developers Stanhope and their financial backers, Schroders, who have spent a decade clearing and, more recently, building on what was once known as the Croydon Gateway site.
Progress on the multi-million-pound scheme remains tentative. While the 22-storey residential block – “Vita” – was completed last year and work has begun on a second office building, meanwhile temporary space-fillers, such as Boozepark, are on the site, and other elements of Ruskin Square remain on hold until firm tenancies can be secured for two further Norman Foster-designed office buildings.
HMRC has taken a 25-year lease on 1 Ruskin Square, and has been reported to be among the government departments considering occupying the second Ruskin Square building, too. By 2021, HMRC should have 2,600 employees working in its first Croydon building, which has 180,000 sq ft of office space.
The 600 HMRC staff who are already based in Croydon will be part of the move to the regional hub. HMRC said: “As part of our transformation programme, the existing Croydon office will be closing by late 2017 and staff will relocate to the new regional centre development.”
The building, HMRC said, “has been chosen for its easy-to-reach location, with excellent transport links and quick access to central London and a design which will provide HMRC with the digital infrastructure required by a modern tax authority.”
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