JP Morgan's new Riverside South design cleared

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JP Morgan's changes to its future Riverside South home have been green-lit by Tower Hamlets Council.

The Strategic Development Committee has unanimously rubber-stamped the banking giant's amendments to the scheme, which it secured for an initial £237million in November.

When completed, Riverside South will become home to one of the Wharf's biggest tenants, with up to 20,000 staff set to move into the flagship headquarters.

Canary Wharf Group had already secured planning permission for the development in February last year, but was happy to allow JP Morgan to make changes at its own pace. But it has moved quickly in working up a revised plan which removes the proposed 2,367 square metre ground floor retail provision in favour of extra office space. This floorspace will now rise from 330,963 sq m to 341,924 sq m.

Work will also begin on new signalling and highway alterations at Westferry Road and Heron Quays roundabout, while a new pedestrian bridge with access stairs and lift will be constructed over Westferry Road. Public access across the site between the river walkway and Westferry Road has also been removed.

The towers rise to 241.1m and 191.34m, while the central link building has been slightly reduced in size from 89.25m to 80.05m.

JP Morgan appeared to have snubbed the Wharf in its search for a new European headquarters when it opted to enter negotations for a City home in Fore Street in May 2007. But it agreed a 999-year leasehold interest on the Riverside South site last winter, and will pay for the construction and associated costs of the development. It is liable to pay £76million plus accrued costs to Canary Wharf Group should it pull out of the deal at any point.

Work on the foundations of the site has already been completed, and the development itself could be finished as early as 2013.

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