Hines, a global real estate investment, development, and property manager, have opened their new European headquarters at its world-class Grainhouse development in Covent Garden, London, occupying three floors of the five-level building.
Grainhouse, a 91,000 square foot former Victorian seed warehouse, was acquired by the Hines European Value Fund 2 (HEVF 2) in March 2020 and has since been transformed into a prime office and retail scheme after a three-year restoration and refurbishment project, designed by architects Barr Gazetas. Grainhouse provides a first-class platform for street-level retail and amenities in a charming and original setting in one of London’s most vibrant West End neighbourhoods.
The new building has been re-imagined in line with its rich industrial heritage – which included a warehouse for a seed merchant – interlinking five buildings originally developed in the mid-19th century and retaining key original features including exposed concrete, steel and brickwork and delivering the highest standards of workplace design. The space supports hybrid working and employees’ desire for a diverse array of spaces for different activities, in a prime city centre location with outstanding connectivity.
Health and wellbeing are a major focus of the design. Occupants have access to a communal landscaped terrace with native plant species and nest boxes, 15,000 square feet of onsite retail, including a café and restaurant, and spacious accommodation for secure bicycle storage, and extensive shower and locker facilities.
Grainhouse aims to reduce operational carbon through a variety of measures, as well as successfully reducing the embodied carbon on site by retaining as much of the original structure and materials as possible. The building has been designed to achieve BREEAM Excellent, WELL Platinum Certification and WiredScore, and is targeting net-zero in its operations.
Hines’ move to a new headquarters building has been driven by the continued strength and growth of its European platform. Grainhouse will now be home to investment and operational teams for both the European region and its British business, as well as its property management business called Helix.
Hines will be joined at Grainhouse by a fashion and beauty company, who have leased two of the lower office floors with a 10-year lease for 24,479 square feet of office space. The remaining office space will be occupied by Go City, the world’s largest attraction pass business, which has signed a 10-year lease for 6,568 sq ft; and Helix, a specialist property management company, and a Hines Company, which has agreed a 15-year lease for 4,933 sq ft within Grainhouse. At street level, the popular restaurant operator Caravan will be opening a two-floor 6,200 square foot restaurant next month.
Lars Huber, CEO, Hines Europe, commented: “Our new European headquarters at Grainhouse will provide us with a strong base in which we can continue to focus on the growth trajectory of our European and UK businesses. Grainhouse represents the pinnacle of Hines’ design style and model of investment, development and management, from the original acquisition through to the launch of this world-class headquarters building, which is a deserved home for our talented team.”
“Our founder, Gerald Hines believed in pairing best-in-class design and engineering with innovative, sustainable and functional spaces to create remarkable buildings, and we are extremely proud to continue his legacy and introduce this next generation workspace and Hines European headquarters to the heart of London.”
Paul White, HEVF 2 fund manager, said: “The Fund is delighted with the outcome of Grainhouse as a flagship London West End renovation and investment. Hines’ leadership and the Fund team share the same clear conviction on the type of neighbourhood, location, aesthetic and sustainability level that now define winning next-generation office. Fully pre-leasing our office space above the original underwriting is the best testament to the strength and quality of the space we have delivered. Grainhouse offers best-in-class office, amenities, retail and hospitality from a vibrant pitch, and it epitomises what we want to create in Europe’s best markets.”
Ross Blair, Head of Hines UK, said: “As with most companies, whether in real estate or any sector, the office is hugely important to the success of our business and performance and wellbeing of our teams. We are proud to announce the opening of our new headquarters to showcase where exceptional design supports today’s shifting priorities in terms of activity-based workspace.”