Ashursts leads Barclays on Canary Wharf contract

Ashurst Morris Crisp partner Martin Wright has advised on his fourth major head office relocation this year with the signing of Canary Wharf's lease to Barclays Bank.
The bank's decision to house its new headquarters in the Docklands is the UK's first major letting deal since the terrorist attacks on the US in September.
Advised by Lovells partner Michael Stancombe, Barclays will initially take 650,000sq ft of office space, but will be able to move into more space in the one million sq ft building if required.
Wright, who worked closely with Canary Wharf group legal counsel Michael Ashley-Brown on the deal, said the structure of the agreement is extremely flexible for Barclays. Construction and fitting-out work on the building is scheduled to be completed at the end of 2004.
The final agreement ends speculation that the bank would pull out of the transaction, which started before September, because of the current economic climate. The attack prompted safety concerns about tall and prominent buildings and these had to be dealt with in tandem with other matters involved in the letting.
Since January, Wright has also advised Paul Hamlyn Ventures on the letting of 33 Holborn to Sainsbury's and Paddington Basin Developments on its lettings to Orange and Marks & Spencer. He said: “I think it is extremely helpful for lawyers to work on a variety of different projects, but where there are similar concerns. In this case, they were all head offices.”
Ashursts has a longstanding relationship with Canary Wharf and shares letting work with Clifford Chance. Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer regularly acts as an adviser to prospective Canary Wharf tenants, but Lovells has an existing relationship with Barclays. Lovells had already been involved in Barclays Capital's move to Canary Wharf.