Schroder UK Real Estate Fund signs HMRC for 180,000 sq ft Croydon headquarters

HM Revenue and Customs (“HMRC”) has signed to occupy One Ruskin Square, the first office building of the £500m new development being delivered next to East Croydon station by Schroder UK Real Estate (“SREF”) and its partner, Stanhope PLC.

The landmark letting of the entire building, several months in advance of completion sees the government department take 180,000 sq ft of prime office accommodation at the heart of a fast evolving business hub in South London on a 25 year lease. Designed by award-winning architecture firm shedkm, One Ruskin Square comprises nine floors of offices on floorplates of approximately 20,000 sq ft.

Ruskin Square itself covers a nine acre site and is located immediately adjacent to the station itself and moments from Croydon’s central business district, where Hammerson and Westfield will be delivering their £1.4bn retail-led regeneration over the coming years.

The scheme provides its own footbridge directly accessing East Croydon station’s platforms to reach Central London in and Gatwick Airport in 15 minutes and is firmly on track, with this first office phase completing in Q4 and the first 161 apartments ready by Q3 this year.

Once all phases complete, SREF’s development will provide up to 2m sq ft of new accommodation including 1.25m sq ft of much needed high specification offices with retail and dining at ground level, as well as public spaces and up to 625 homes.

East Croydon has already captured the imagination of a range of up-and-coming businesses: the area has gained a reputation as the newest technology centre for London, with the Tech City project now a formal organisation and movement of over a thousand entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and software developers. BOXPARK is also due to launch its new shipping container hub as an incubator for new dining operators as a ‘meanwhile use’ on the Ruskin Square site in the coming months.

Commenting, James Lass, Fund Manager, Schroder UK Real Estate Fund, said:

“This letting of One Ruskin Square in its entirety, prior to completion, is a strong validation of our strategy to commence development on a speculative basis in Croydon – an emerging part of the London office landscape. We are delighted to have secured a tenant of the highest quality that will further enhance the strong underlying fundamentals of our portfolio. Ruskin Square will be a thriving new community for people to live, work and play at the node of this increasingly desirable London borough. It is a clear mark of confidence that HMRC has recognised this and picked Croydon for its headquarters.”

Jason Margrave, Development Director, Stanhope, added:

“HMRC’s decision to locate one of its major new office hubs at Ruskin Square in Croydon will be a further vote of confidence in the regeneration and revival of Croydon and Stanhope and Schroders’ creation of an attractive and vibrant destination and sense of arrival at East Croydon station.  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.”

JLL acted for HMRC. Savills and JLL are the retained commercial letting agents for Ruskin Square.