Citigroup backs the office with £100m revamp of London skyscraper
Citigroup will spend more than £100m revamping its 42-storey London headquarters in a project being hailed as a vote of confidence in the office and the future of the City.
James Bardrick, the bank’s UK chief, said the overhaul of its Canary Wharf skyscraper was a "very long-term and substantial commitment to our future in London and our future in the UK".
The Wall Street giant is the world's largest credit card issuer and has 9,000 staff in London.
The decision is a boost for the capital following the impact of Brexit and the pandemic, which economists feared had turned Canary Wharf and the City into ghost towns as bankers worked from home.
"For many reasons London has been and will continue to be an important management and leadership location," Mr Bardrick said, days after all its UK staff were told to return to the office at least three days a week.
The new base is expected to open in 2025 and will include a winter garden, wellbeing zones, a food hall and eco-friendly features including a system where waste water from basins is reused to flush toilets.
The decision to refurbish the tower the bank bought in 2019 for a reported £1bn, rather than demolish and rebuild it, is expected to save 100,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide - enough to run almost 22,000 cars for a year.
Citigroup did not disclose the cost of the refurbishment, but Bloomberg reported that it will exceed £100m.
Its plans come as the European Central Bank (ECB) enters the final phase of its “desk-mapping” exercise, in which it assesses whether any banks are relying too much on their London divisions. Banks that do not have enough decision-makers in the bloc could face fresh demands over the coming weeks.
However, fears that London could lose its status as a global finance hub post-Brexit appear to be dwindling.
According to a survey by EY, 87pc of global financial services firms plan to establish or extend operations in the UK in 2022, the highest since 2016 and up from 50pc in the spring of 2021.
John Glen, the City minister, said Citi's investment was "another vote of confidence in the City and its role as one of the preeminent international finance hubs".