Welput to develop UK's largest 100 per cent electric, net zero office
Welput, a specialist central London office fund managed by BentallGreenOak (BGO), has committed to develop a 470,000 sq ft ultra-sustainable commercial building in Victoria, the largest speculative office scheme to come forward in London since the pandemic.
The decision to move forward with 105 Victoria Street not only demonstrates Welput’s confidence in the London office market post-Covid, but underlines the critical importance of developing assets with ground-breaking ESG credentials in order to attract the next generation of occupiers.
The development, which in April 2021 achieved Westminster City Council’s single largest commercial building consent, will deploy new innovations in ultra-low carbon construction to ensure the carbon emitted through the construction cycle will be offset within six years of the new building’s operation in comparison to the retention of the existing building.
Not only will the building be the largest all-electric office in the UK, but Welput has committed to the development’s energy being supplied from fully renewable sources, with no gas supply and no diesel generator, ensuring zero fossil fuels not just in operation but also during construction. As a result, the building is designed not only to meet and / or surpass BREEAM ‘Outstanding’, EPC A, and WELL ‘Platinum’ certification, but to exceed RIBA 2030 sustainability targets.
BGO is now actively engaging with industry partners to deliver the scheme that are aligned with its own ambitious ESG vision and can meet the demanding standards of sustainability and positive social impact that the project requires.
The building will be able to accommodate office demand ranging from 17,000 sq ft through to over 400,000 sq ft and is expected to start on site in July 2022, with a target completion of Q1 2026.
Ker Gilchrist, who has responsibility for Welput at BGO, says: “London is already showing real signs of recovery following the pandemic and we have absolute confidence in its future as a global hub. Likewise, we have no doubt the office itself will remain the beating heart of the work and culture of business. But to attract occupiers it is imperative that the workplaces of tomorrow continue to pioneer new innovations and raise the bar for what is possible in terms of sustainability. Rather than just reducing our carbon emissions, we want to be net beneficial to the environment. That means approaching today’s highest sustainability credentials not as a target to aspire to but a baseline to build from.
“With a comprehensive whole life carbon approach, 105 Victoria Street will surpass both existing and emerging sustainability standards, achieving net zero not only in operation but in the construction, with the building becoming net beneficial to the environment after just six years of its lifespan. With zero fossils fuels, 105 Victoria Street will provide occupiers with the confidence that the home for their business is not only a future-facing workspace rich with amenities and green space but is fully aligned with their own exemplary ESG ambitions and is embedded in the local community.”
Designed by architect KPF, alongside architect Henning Larsen, 105 Victoria Street will create a new kind of community-focused, experiential building in Victoria, providing over 400,000 sq ft of world-class workspace, including 5,500 sq ft dedicated to incubator and affordable space, all designed to foster the health and wellbeing of its end users.
It will also provide 30,000 sq ft of greenspace and terracing– the largest of any commercial building in the West End and equivalent to 10 double tennis courts – which will include a 200m ‘walk and talk’ track and an Urban Farm with community allotments.
Dedicated space to serve and connect the community will cover 90,000 sq ft, with a central Village Square provided at street level, providing inclusive public space and serving the neighbourhood needs with a considered retail offering that is aligned with the sustainable and community focused ethos of the building.
A feature cycle ramp will provide a cyclist experience designed for accessibility and ease, allowing office workers to ‘drive’ straight into the building. Within the activity zone there will be a gym, cycle shop and extensive cycle storage for both visitors and tenants. A multi-purpose arena and auditorium will be used for indoor sports games and large business events.
Welput is also developing an extensive programme with the local community and stakeholders to ensure the building provides benefits to the local area, including providing dedicated flexible space for community use, engagement programmes with local schools and initiatives to support disadvantaged groups.