Virgin Atlantic first airline to apply Google Glass to customer service

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VirginGoogleGLass2

It’s already been predicted that Smart Glasses will be a boon to technicians, engineers and healthcare workers, as well as useful interactive, hands-free devices for office staff. Another obvious application for wearable technology is in customer services. Virgin Atlantic is applying the technology to deliver the airline industry’s most high tech and personalised customer service yet. Working with air-transport specialist SITA, it’s the first airline to test how the technology can best be used to enhance customers’ travel experiences and improve efficiency. During a six week pilot scheme, concierge staff in Virgin Atlantic Upper Class Wing at London Heathrow airport will use wearable technology to greet customers by name and begin the check in process. The benefits to consumers and the business will be evaluated ahead of a potential wider roll-out in the future. More →

Arup announces first Manchester office relocation in over 40 years

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Arup new spaceArup has announced it is to take 20,000 sq ft of Grade A office space at the Carlyle Group’s Three Piccadilly Place in Manchester. The TSK Group has been appointed to design and deliver the engineering and property consultancy’s first new Manchester office relocation in over 40 years. Three Piccadilly Place comprises 190,000 sq ft of flexible workspace over 11 floors, with 9,300 sq ft of retail space on the ground floor. Keith Rudd, Arup Director and leader of Arup’s Manchester office explained: “The relocation has been a major decision, driven by the growth and breadth of services we now offer across a range of sectors. As an employee owned firm, it’s important we have the right environment to attract and retain the best people, to enable us to continue to deliver great work for our clients.” More →

Oil and gas firm moves in as regeneration of London’s Victoria area continues

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123-Vic-completed-external-440x200The regeneration of London’s Victoria area continues with the news that Land Securities has let a further 18,000 sq ft at its 123 Victoria Street SW1 development. Oil and gas exploration company Ophir Energy PLC is relocating from its Mayfair headquarters to join existing tenants such as US software company Intuit, CDC Group, CPA Global and Jimmy Choo. This latest letting means 123 Victoria Street is now 93 per cent let with just 17,000 sq ft still available. Kaela Fenn-Smith, Head of Leasing at Land Securities, said: “We are delighted to welcome Ophir Energy to 123 Victoria Street. Their decision to move from Mayfair and choose Victoria as their new home reflects the area’s ever-increasing reputation as a vibrant destination for forward-thinking companies.” More →

International serviced office provider in first single floor letting for ‘Cheesegrater’

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CheesegrateretcBritish Land and Oxford Properties have announced the Leadenhall Building in the City of London – known as the ‘Cheesegrater’  due to its distinctive tapered profile – has been let to serviced office business Servcorp. The Sydney-based firm already provides businesses with flexible space in some of the world’s most famous buildings, including The Seagram Building, Park Avenue, New York, IFC 2 Hong Kong, Trust Tower Marunouchi, Tokyo and Emirates Towers, Dubai. This, the first single floor letting in the building, is on the 30th floor, which provides 11,851 sq ft of space. Because of the building’s design, floorplates  range from 21,000 sq ft on level 5 to 6,200 sq ft on the top floor (level 45). More →

Land Securities to submit application for solution to Walkie Talkie solar glare problem

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Walkie-Talkie solution

Land Securities has confirmed it will submit a planning application next month for the solution to the solar glare problem at the ‘Walkie Talkie.’ Last year the skyscraper at 20 Fenchurch EC3 was dubbed the ‘Walkie Scorchie’, after it was found its unusual design was reflecting and magnifying the sun’s rays, which were melting parts of vehicles parked in nearby streets. According to the developer, despite its problems, the building is now 64 per cent pre-let, with a further 23 per cent in solicitors’ hands, and just 42,700 sq feet of space remaining. Land Securities has also announced, that due to increased demand for London office space it is to launch two new central London developments.   More →

Largest single office floor plate unveiled in Leeds as demand for space increases

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No 1 Whiteall RiversideThe largest single office floor plate currently available in Leeds city centre has been unveiled, following the completion of a £1million refurbishment programme at one of the city’s landmark office schemes. The NFU Mutual insurance firm, which owns No 1 Whitehall Riverside, has refurbished 34,000 sq ft of space within the building to transform the 4th and 5th floors. In a first for the Leeds office market, 100 per cent LED lighting has been installed on both floors, to provide low maintenance, good quality lighting which will reduce CO2 emissions for future occupiers. Joint letting agents Jones Lang LaSalle and DTZ say that the building, which provides 127,731 sq ft of office accommodation over eight floors, helps to meet increasing demand for quality office space in the centre of Leeds. More →

Highest ever BREEAM outstanding score for PwC’s HQ refurbishment

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PWC refurbishment wins highest every BREEAM

PwC’s nine-storey headquarters at One Embankment Place in London has surpassed all BREEAM scores to date for both new build and existing structures. The 450,000 sq ft commercial office building located at Charing Cross station in London has achieved a milestone 96.31 per cent BREEAM Outstanding score, including a 100 per cent score for materials, transport and management. Built in the early 1990s, the structure, which comprises a basement below the station and nine floors of office space above it, has had a complete office refit and refurbishment as well as full central plant replacement in the basement areas, roof and terraces. Achieving a high BREEAM rating and EPC score was a priority of the refit, which was achieved while some 2,000 staff remained in occupation. More →

Sale of premier real estate portfolio More London announced

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City Hall, part of More London portfolioMore London has been sold to Kuwaiti firm St Martins Property Group for approximately £1.7 billion, according to Reuter’s sources. Owners London Bridge Holdings said it had originally intended to refinance More London (which is located adjacent to Tower Bridge and opposite The Tower of London), by the early summer of 2014 but had been persuaded to capitalize on “a highly attractive offer,” the details of which it has not yet disclosed. In a statement London Bridge Holdings said the transaction had underscored its success in transforming “a blighted, brown field site into a vibrant and vital global business centre.” The site was acquired in 1998 and is now a fully managed estate, with occupiers that include the Greater London Assembly – housed in City Hall, as well as PwC and Ernst and Young.

UK’s fastest growing tech businesses named by Deloitte survey

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Infectious Media's offices

Infectious Media’s offices

There is a decided London bias in the latest Deloitte Technology Fast 50, which names the UK’s fastest growing technology companies.  Twenty of the named companies are to be found in the capital and they generate just under half of their £672 million combined revenues over the last year.  The growth rates  used to measure the success of these businesses are jaw-droppingly impressive but can also be partially meaningless for such new companies. The winner grew at a Wonga-esque percentage rate of  just under 10,000 percent and the average for all fifty firms for the past five years was a staggering 1,382 percent. According to Deloitte’s research, the UK’s fastest growing tech company is Clerkenwell based real-time advertising agency Infectious Media.

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In pictures: plans revealed for East London iCity development

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Offices at iCity

Offices at iCity

While Parliament debates the reality or otherwise of the 2012 Olympic legacy, the firms behind iCity on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in East London (above) have submitted detailed planning proposals and launched a new website to promote the development which they claim will become ‘a world-leading centre of innovation, education and enterprise’. The joint venture between property consultancy Delancey and datacentre operator Infinity SDC claims it will offer almost unlimited bandwidth connectivity and provide up to 400,000 sq. ft. of office space, including for digital start-ups, as well as a 250,000 sq. ft. datacentre, studio and production space and a convention centre. The plans have been drawn up Hawkins\Brown architects.

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Gallery: first images of interior of Apple’s $5 billion campus in California

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Apple 11

Following last week’s final sign off of the plans for the new Apple Campus 2 building in northern California, the local council has issued the first interior shots of the new building. The $5 billion Foster and Partners designed campus includes a 2.8 million sq. ft. building and will be home to over 14,000 Apple employees. The late Steve Jobs originally submitted the plans to Cupertino City Council in 2011 claiming they had the potential to be the “best office building in the world”. The building is just 4 storeys high and is designed to have zero net energy consumption thanks to 700,000 sq. ft. of solar panels. As well as the main donut-shaped campus building the site includes extensive parklands, a visitor centre, R&D labs, a corporate auditorium and parking, as shown in the gallery and slideshow below.

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Best tall buildings in world competition winners announced by CTBUH

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cctvheadquarters_ext-entranceview-2_(c)butyrskii_igorThe Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitats (CTBUH) has announced the winners of its Best Tall Building Worldwide competition. The overall winner was the China Central Television Headquarters in Beijing (above) which was also the regional winner for Asia. The other three regional awards went to The Shard, London (for Europe), The Bow in Calgary (Americas) and the Al Khatem Tower in Abu Dhabi (Middle East and Africa). The awards were presented in Chicago on 7 November with the winners chosen from 60 entries by a judging panel. A popular vote was taken on the evening which also saw the audience voting the CCTV headquarters as the best tall building. The overall winner award was presented to the building’s joint architect Rem Koolhaas, who famously included a chapter called ‘Kill the Skyscraper’ in his 2003 book Content.

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