Apple is to create a spectacular new London headquarters at Battersea Power Station in a massive coup for the developers behind the £9 billion project, reports The Evening Standard.
The iPhone and iPad maker will move 1,400 staff from eight sites around the capital into what it calls “a new Apple campus” at the Grade II* listed former electricity generator.
Its employees will occupy all six floors of office space in the brick “cathedral of power”, which is being painstakingly restored after 33 years standing derelict on the banks of the Thames.
In a statement to the Standard, Apple said it was looking forward to the 2021 opening of “our new London campus” as staff relocate to “this magnificent new development at one of the city’s best-known landmarks”. It added: “This is a great opportunity to have our entire team working and collaborating in one location while supporting the renovation of a neighbourhood rich with history.”
Apple’s main European HQ will remain at Cork, Ireland, where it employs 6,000 people, but the Battersea site will be one of its biggest in the world outside America. The Californian giant, the world’s most valuable company, will be the largest single tenant in the 42-acre complex of homes, offices, shops and leisure facilities.
The deal is understood to have taken about a year to negotiate. It will be seen as a major symbolic boost for the Malaysian-backed regeneration amid concerns about stalling foreign investment in the vast Nine Elms development zone on the South Bank.
Battersea Power Station Development Company’s chief executive Rob Tincknell said: “We are delighted Apple chose to make this their home in 2021.
“It is a testament to not only the fantastic building but the wider regeneration of the 42-acre site, which offers a carefully curated mix of homes, businesses and leisure amid extraordinary open spaces and new transport links.
“It has always been our clear objective to create one of London’s most thriving new communities and this commitment from Apple will undoubtedly help us achieve this goal.”
Apple is leasing 500,000 sq ft in total, making it one of the biggest single office deals signed in London outside the City and Docklands in the past 20 years.
It is expected all the firm’s “central function” staff in London in areas such as finance and human resources will move to the power station. Apple has 2,530 staff in total in the capital, including about 1,100 working in its stores.
It has taken enough space for 3,000 employees, giving it room to hire more as its operation grows in London. The designers of the office space have not yet been appointed.
Apple’s biggest London office currently is in Hanover Street, Mayfair, near its flagship Regent Street store but the firm has seven others in Greater London including in James Street above the Covent Garden store.
Its new campus will represent about 40 per cent of the office space at the power station site.
Apple will occupy the top six floors inside the former boiler house around a huge central atrium. There will also be three floors of shops, 253 apartments around a “garden square in the sky”, a 2,000-seater auditorium and cinemas in a scheme designed by London architects Wilkinson Eyre.
The scheme is the fourth attempt to save Sir Giles Gilbert Scott’s crumbling Art Deco masterpiece since it stopped powering and lighting London in 1983.Three have floundered but the latest owners — a consortium of Malaysian shareholders Sime Darby, SP Setia and the Employees Provident Fund — have stayed committed to the project since buying the apparently jinxed riverside site in 2012.
Hundreds of residents expect to move into the first completed apartment block — known as Circus West — in early December, with shops and restaurants there scheduled to open next spring.
Stars known to have bought properties at Battersea Power Station include Sting and adventurer Bear Grylls.
A new Zone 1 Northern Line Tube station under construction is expected to be completed in 2020.
Mayor Sadiq Khan said: “I’m delighted Apple is moving into Battersea Power Station, helping to generate new jobs and economic prosperity for London.
“It is a further sign London is open to the world’s biggest brands and the leading city for trade and investment.”
Chancellor Philip Hammond said: “Apple’s decision further strengthens London’s position as a global technology hub and demonstrates how the UK is at the forefront of the next steps in the tech revolution. It’s another vote of confidence in the UK economy.”
Wandsworth council’s leader Ravi Govindia said: “I’m very pleased to give Apple a warm welcome. They will become the largest employer in the borough and we are hugely excited that they will play a keen and active role in our community.”