Red tape threatens to upend plans to convert blocks to flats and retail space
: eduardod/iStock Editorial
A row is brewing between Canary Wharf and the local council as the property group battles to turn empty office space into residential flats.
The Canary Wharf Group has clashed with policymakers in Tower Hamlets over red tape that could prevent it from converting buildings after a string of companies exiting the district.
Plans are afoot to convert entire blocks into a mix of residential, retail and hotel space, as the landlords strive to future-proof the area while workers shun the office.
However, tensions have arisen after calls from Tower Hamlets Council to keep Canary Wharf office-led.
Paul Swinney, director of policy and research at Centre of Cities said: “There is tension between the council and Canary Wharf landlords.
“The council is looking to take a long-term view on its plan for the area and they don’t want to be too reactive and change things too quickly.
“Tower Hamlets and City Hall will have to look at how large London’s economy is and give it the space it needs to grow. We wouldn’t want businesses to look for commercial space elsewhere.”
Talk of a rift with the local council comes as the district reels from one of its buildings being sold at a 60pc discount, making it one of the largest distressed sales in recent years.
The property in question was 5 Churchill Place, which was bought for £270m by Chinese investor Cheung Kei Group in 2017 but recently sold to Israeli real estate firm Ariomori for just £110m.
It comes after the district was dealt a blow by HSBC’s decision to leave the Docklands for the City last year.
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