Historic £1 billion deal for new business district in Newham's Royal Albert Dock

29 May 2013 in Regeneration
Mayor of Newham Sir Robin Wales today announced plans for a £1 billion state-of-the-art business district in the historic Royal Docks, which will create 20,000 jobs, forge new trade links with China and secure billions of pounds of inward investment.
Computer generated image of the Royal Albert Business District
Sir Robin and Boris Johnson, Mayor of London revealed details of the deal with commercial developer ABP Chinese to transform a 35-acre site at Royal Albert Dock. ABP see it as a gateway for Asian and Chinese business looking to establish headquarters in Europe.

The deal with ABP will strengthen the Royal Docks as an emerging international commercial and trading centre, which complements the world-class transport and digital infrastructure Newham Council and others have invested in.

When the proposed business district is complete it will have some of the best transport links in the capital, with direct access to central and west London via the new Crossrail route coming in 2018. London City Airport and the Emirates Airline cable car are also located in the Royal Docks.

The proposals will deliver 20,000 full-time jobs and boost local employment by 30 per cent, becoming London’s third business district. According to initial projections it will be worth £6 billion to the UK economy, generating £23m in business rates annually and act as a catalyst for further development in the area.

Working with UK developer Stanhope and architects and masterplanners Farrells, ABP have committed to developing 600,000 square feet in the first phase. With strong interest for office space already being shown by Chinese companies, including some of the country’s top banks, the first occupiers are expected in 2017.

The deal represents one of the first direct investments by a Chinese developer in London’s property market. The new business district will eventually be home to more than 3.2 million square feet of high quality work, retail and leisure space, including 2.5 million square feet of prime office space, creating a vibrant 24/7 destination on London’s waterways.

Sir Robin Wales said: “The Royal Docks Enterprise Zone offers an unrivalled investment opportunity and this deal further strengthens Newham’s growing reputation as an ideal destination for international business.

“We welcome ABP’s ambitious vision for the docks, which are already home to the University of East London, the Siemens Crystal and the ExCeL London exhibition centre.

“This proposal will bring further investment from abroad and unlock future development. It will also create benefits for local people by providing thousands of new jobs and further enhance the waterfront. With a young, energetic workforce, Newham is ideally placed to accommodate much of London’s eastwards growth in the 21st century.”

Newham will work closely with ABP and Stanhope to ensure that as many of these jobs as possible are accessible to local residents. The council’s jobs brokerage service Workplace is ideally placed to ensure this happens.

Boris Johnson said: “For centuries the waterways of east London were the throbbing arteries of UK trade and commerce. This deal symbolises the revival of that great era, continuing the reinvention this once maligned part of the capital into a 21st century centre of trade and investment. Creating a third financial district in the capital, this development will act as a beacon for eastern investors looking west, bringing with it tens of thousands of jobs and billions of pounds of investment for the UK economy.”

ABP Board chairman Mr Xu Weiping said: “I am very pleased and very proud that my company ABP has reached this agreement for Royal Albert Dock with the Greater London Authority and Newham Council. This project will be hugely significant for both the Chinese and UK economies. My vision is to develop a world class international business district which will initially target Asian businesses to help them secure a destination in London, which in China is seen as the gateway to both the United Kingdom and the wider European economy. Our plans aim to strengthen trade between east and west provide new local jobs and deliver benefits for the wider London and UK economy.”

Newham Council led the call for the area to be designated an Enterprise Zone in 2012.