Government Digital Service’s new Whitechapel home revealed

Written by Rebecca Hill on 4 October 2016 in News

The Government Digital Service has pre-let the top two floors of a new development in London’s Whitechapel, at a rental cost of £2.8m a year.

GDS's new digital digs in Whitechapel - Photo credit: Derwent London

The Cabinet Office minister Ben Gummer said last month that GDS would be moving from its current HQ in Aviation House over the next few months, but the exact location of the new office was not announced.

Property developer Derwent London has now revealed that GDS has pre-let a space totalling 54,700 square foot across the top two floors at The White Chapel Building in East London. The building, in between Aldgate and Aldgate East tube stations, is 10 minutes from the City of London.

The initial rent is £2.8m per year, or £52 per square foot, and GDS has taken on a ten-year lease with a break in year five, Derwent London said.

The building is 75% pre-let, with other tenants including architects Perkins+Will, patent and trade mark attorneys Reddie and Grose, Unruly Media and small vessel insurer The Shipowners' Club.

John Burns, the chief executive officer of Derwent London, which bought the vacant building in December 2015, said that GDS was a “great addition” to the building.

Meanwhile, Gummer said that after his visit to the current GDS HQ in Holborn it was “even more important” that “the brilliant people that work there get a brilliant place” to work.

“With more money and improved offices, GDS can accelerate their efforts to transform and improve public services right across the UK,” he said.

GDS gained a £450m investment at the last spending review, but there were concerns that, following the surprise departure of its chief executive Stephen Foreshew-Cain in July, its future was in doubt.

At the time Gummer announced the change of HQ, he also moved to allay those fears, saying that the service would gain a "real national presence" with its new offices and an increased role in training of digital staff across government.

The Cabinet Office told PublicTechnology that information on rental rates at Aviation House was only available under the Freedom of Information Act as it was not routinely published.

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