Citigroup plans £100m revamp of Canary Wharf tower | Citigroup

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The US investment bank Citigroup has embarked on an overhaul of its main tower in Canary Wharf that is expected to cost more than £100m.

Citi will completely refurbish the 42-storey office block at 25 Canada Square in London Docklands over the next three years and create flexible work and collaboration spaces, alongside wellbeing zones for employees, to reflect the changing nature of work.

At the moment, the bank is spread across 25 Canada Square and 33 Canada Square, where its trading floor is based. All of its 9,000 London staff will relocate temporarily to 33 Canada Square and another nearby building until the skyscraper refurbishment is complete in 2025.

The planned promenade with a winter garden in the Citi tower. Illustration: Citi

Citi said it had hired 1,000 people in London in the past two years, and a similar number in Belfast, taking its workforce there to 3,200. It will continue to recruit more bankers in London, as well as in mainland Europe, where it still has a bigger presence than in the UK.

David Livingstone, Citi’s chief executive for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), said: “Our rejuvenated EMEA headquarters will be designed to maximise collaborative workspaces, supported by technology, to enable us to work flexibly and with maximum agility.”

Citi bought the tower, one of the tallest in the UK, for more than £1bn in 2019, three years after the EU referendum, in what it said was a demonstration of its commitment to London as its EMEA headquarters, and a vital global hub for the bank.

Last March, the bank’s chief executive, Jane Fraser, announced a permanent shift to hybrid working, involving “at least” three days a week in the office and up to two days at home. She also banned work video calls on Fridays to help employees break free from the “relentlessness of the pandemic workday”, designated 28 May as a company-wide holiday and encouraged staff to book more holidays or take 12-week sabbaticals.

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Citi decided to refurbish its Canary Wharf skyscraper, rather than demolishing it, because of the environmental impact, and believes others will follow suit. It is among the largest workplace refurbishment projects in Europe.

The bank plans to add a promenade with a winter garden, more greenery, parents rooms, prayer and contemplation rooms, a wellness centre with a gym that offers health consultations, and a food court area and coffee bars.

The project is a big boost to Canary Wharf, developed in the 1990s as an extension of the City of London’s financial district. It is heavily reliant on the 120,000 employees who work in the area but, as with the City, turned into a ghost town during Covid-19 lockdowns.

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