Camerons spurned City for a cheaper address

CMS Cameron McKenna turned down a building in the heart of the legal district for its new City offices in favour of a cheaper alternative in Shoreditch.

Principal Place: Shoreditch home for Camerons in 2015
Principal Place: Shoreditch home for Camerons in 2015

The news comes after Hackney Council granted planning approval for ­property developer Hammerson’s £500m Principal Place development north of Bishopsgate, which the firm plans to move into in early 2015.

Camerons is said to be paying in the region of £47 per sq ft per year for up to 200,000sq ft (18,580 sq m) for the pre-let as part of a 20-year lease, understood to be similar to the amount it is currently paying for its Aldersgate Street offices. The firm was also offered a three-year rent holiday.

It rejected Land Securities’ new development on Old Bailey after narrowing its shortlist down to two. The building, yards from the Central Criminal Court, would have cost the firm at least £50 per sq ft including a rent holiday, according to sources, with some estimates reaching £55 per sq ft.

Camerons’ management turned down the London Fruit and Wool Exchange just south of Spitalfields Market earlier this year as the Exemplar-owned ­building would not be ready and kitted out by 2015, when the lease on its ­current building expires.

Property market observers said the firm had also plumped for a modern glass-and-steel skyscraper with room for expansion over an older bricks-and-mortar construction.
Camerons is the only ­tenant reported to have engaged in a deal with ­Hammerson to take up space in the development.

A spokesperson for the firm said it was still working with Hammerson on the lease agreement, which has not been signed, and declined to comment on the finances of the deal.