New London Architecture

Knowledge Networks Project highlight: White City Place

Friday 19 June 2020

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In 2015, Stanhope, Mitsui Fudosan and AIMCo acquired Media Village in White City from the BBC, close to Television Centre, adding to their long-term commitment and investment in the area. Establishing strategic connections between these two developments, Stanhope worked closely with several major landowners including Imperial College London, Westfield London and Berkeley St James, to implement a shared vision for White City including up to 5,000 high quality homes, over 2m sq ft of offices, new public spaces, an enhanced world-class shopping offer and a hub for academia, innovation and start-ups.

Following Imperial College’s expansion in White City, including the Molecular Sciences Research Hub and The Sir Michael Uren Biomedical Engineering Research Hub, a concentration of life sciences innovators has formed. Being next to Imperial meant that White City Place was ideally situated to provide accommodation for life science businesses who were drawn to this emerging knowledge cluster. 

White City Place comprises six workspace buildings of c.1m sq ft united by new public realm and street level retail. The development included the refurbishment and repositioning of three existing buildings to transform them into modern working environments: WestWorks, MediaWorks and the Garden House. Having inherited former BBC buildings with greater ceiling heights than standard offices, Stanhope were able to provide both office and wet and dry laboratories as required by life science occupiers. Large floor plates and communications infrastructure certified by Wired as best-in-class ensure the buildings will remain resilient and adaptable to future technologies. As well as meeting infrastructure needs, a high quality events and enlivenment programme has been critical in attracting commercial tenants and helped to establish White City as a destination in its own right. 
The rapidly growing life science companies housed at White City Place include Autolus, a biopharmaceutical company developing next-generation therapies for cancer treatment, spun out of UCL. Comprised of a handful of employees when it started in 2016, it now occupies c. 33,000 sq ft, in MediaWorks (with expansion room if required), has c. 400 staff and has raised over $400m in funding for research and testing. White City Place is also home to spin-out companies Gamma Delta and Synthace. Pharmaceutical giant Novartis have taken 53,000 sq ft. Its UK Country President, Haseeb Ahmad noted that 'White City is quickly becoming one of the UK’s life sciences and technology districts, and the ethos of The WestWorks campus complements how we work to deliver on our strategy to reimagine medicine.'

In addition to health and life science occupiers, the campus is home to over 3,000 staff from the BBC, research and teaching facilities for the Royal College of Art, fashion occupiers YOOX Net a Porter and Li & Fung, creative co-working Huckletree, Jellycat London, Arts Alliance Media and ITV Studios. 

Stanhope have secured planning permission for an additional three new buildings comprising c.1m sq ft of business accommodation at the gateway to the site, part of which has been pre-let to L'Oréal UK and Ireland.

‘What we noted about global knowledge networks is how common the physical characteristics are that underpin their success: urban locale with good transport and social infrastructure; the anchoring of a cluster of sites around leading research institutions; buildings and infrastructure that enable businesses across the full spectrum from startups through to large scale enterprises, to co-locate, evolve, and interact. White City is a paradigm of this model, growing at a rapid pace, and at a time when the cross-fertilisation of health, the sciences, engineering and tech are working together to face global issues.’ David Height, Director of Planning and Engineering, Mitsui Fudosan UK Ltd

THE TEAM

Developer: Stanhope | Client: Mitsui Fudosan (UK) Ltd | Client: AIMCo | Architect: Allies & Morrison | Construction Manager: Lendlease

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