Apple is moving into a shiny new HQ at the revamped Battersea Power Station in London – just as soon as developers have finished
wrecking rebuilding the iconic Southside brick masterpiece.
The owners of the building site have said that Apple will take “ six floors of office space” at the site from 2021, relocating 1400 staff from offices around London to create an Apple campus. In total, it will lease 500,000 sq foot of shiny new office space, in what is supposedly the biggest property deals in London outside the City and Docklands in the last 20 years.
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In total, Apple is reported to have around 1400 staff working in London - not including those working in its stores. With the new space apparently easy to accommodate 3000 staff, that suggests the firm is looking to staff up in the capital.
While the site will represent a massive consolidation of Apple’s UK presence, it will not, apparently displace Apple’s current EMEA HQ. That - along with Apple’s tax advisors - is set to stay in Cork, Ireland.
Apple apparently believes, “This is a great opportunity to have our entire team working and collaborating in one location while supporting the renovation of a neighbourhood rich with history.”
Apple’s new London digs might be “rich with history” perhaps - and not just because of that Pink Floyd LP cover - though whether its environs will be rich with traditional ducking and diving Londoners would be questioned by many. Apartments at Battersea Power Station and its surrounding developments are as likely to be marketed as much to overseas investors as the alumni of Salesian College, Sir Walter St Johns, Battersea County and Notre Dame Girls.
The Art Deco power station is of course a 20th century icon - or was, depending on your point of view. The four chimney-ed plant is still the largest brick building in Europe. It stopped generating power in 1983, and for years was the object of planning scraps over its future, changing hands while simultaneously falling in disrepair. Since 2012, it has been owned by a Malaysian group, who are using the carcass to add to London’s stock of luxury apartments and high end office space.
In fact, the whole massive development along the Battersea waterfront - with even more luxury flats clustered around the new US Embassy - is not exactly in keeping with Battersea’s traditional, slightly gritty image.
To be honest though that floated down the river some time ago, around the time Battersea lost local industries including the glucose factory, the dog food factory, and the candle factory. Even Young’s iconic Ram Brewery - which kept the neighbourhood humming along in a nice malty, yeasty fug in this writer’s youth - shipped out around a decade ago. And that was itself long after the hopeful description “South Chelsea” stopped being a joke, and became more of a curse.
Still, the dog’s home is still there, though after the news that Tim Cook has taken a lease just over the road, we have to ask ourselves, was that really Paul O’Grady that’s been paying regular visits? ®