A redevelopment close to the Tower of London hopes to provide space for tech start ups priced out of booming Shoreditch.
Landlord Delancey, which is also developing Here East on the Olympic Park for creative and digital businesses, expects its reworking of the Royal Mint Court development to deliver economical working space on the eastern fringe of the City. It has just won permission from Tower Hamlets planners to transform the 5.2 acre site, revitalising a project that dates from the 1980s.
The historic former home of the Royal Mint will be remodelled and refurbished, while further blocks will provide a total of 600,000 sq ft of largely flexible modern office space. Architects Sheppard Robson have designed the makeover, while Morrow + Lorraine were hired to handle the refit of the historic Royal Mint block, originally designed by James Johnson and Robert Smirke.
Paul Goswell, managing director of Delancey, commented: The scale of Royal Mint Court, coupled with its history and large area of amenity space, make it a one of a kind site in the City of London and we have sought to use this to create an inspirational working environment.”
The refurbishment of Royal Mint Court will also open up the site, with new north-south and east-west routes that will include a step-free route to the east from Tower Hill underground station.
The scheme will include large floorplate offices of up to 80,000 sq ft, appealing to larger occupiers, combined with smalller floorspaces to suit start-up businesses.
At the end of 2015, the vacant Royal Mint building was targetted by squatters, highlighting the number of empty buildings in the capital.
The Royal Mint vacated the site in 1968, moving its operations to a site in Wales. The current scheme on the site was completed in 1989.
LPA Perspective: There are a number of sites around London setting out their stalls to become the next Silicon Roundabout, after rising property prices at the original Silicon Roundabout threaten to scare away the very start-ups it originally attracted. Royal Mint Court adds to Delancey’s offering alongside Here East; meanwhile developer Trilogy will be hoping its makeover of East India Dock catches the mood of the new tech startups, when its makeover is complete.
The big challenge for all these schemes, is to make something attractive financially, but also with a good mix of differing business unit sizes, and with a community feel. Curating the mix will be the challenge – as will the task of creating a compelling brand that allows tech businesses to feel that they are in far more than a refurbished 1980s office block.