The Labour Party has almost doubled the size of its headquarters in London Victoria, just one year after moving there.
Headquartered on the eighth floor, the beleaguered party have agreed a fee believed to be in the region of £400,000 per year for an additional 6,000 square foot as part of their expansion.
DMZ calculates that the deal means Labour will be shelling out a total of around £1million per year for their space in Victoria, breaking the £5 million barrier over the course of their lease.
When the party announced their original relocation in 2015 there were reports that their lease price was extortionately high for the Victoria area; Labour exec’s reportedly paid £72.50 per sq ft, well over the previous years’ average rent of £52.91 per sq ft for the Victoria area.
The buildings management, Grafton Advisors, were predictably bullish about the news, “these significant lettings at Southside are a clear vindication of the extensive work we have carried out on the building and trust the new and existing tenants have in the quality of our product” said Property Director Ker Gilchrist.
Interestingly, when Labour agreed the initial contract for their new digs they included a break clause option that could be exercised in 2020 – coinciding with the next scheduled UK General Election.
Party leader Jeremy Corbyn bought his home in Islington, North London in 2007 for £363,000 and this has since risen in value to over £600,000 according to local estimates.
A staunch critic of the rising cost of housing in the Capital and a backer of numerous social housing groups, the hard-left leader may have been surprised when his next door neighbour listed their ‘Clock House’ property for an eye-watering £925,000 at the tail end of last year.
DMZ have tracked down the actual house listing to here, in which the agent describes the house as “a brilliantly imaginative reworking of a mid-terrace 1960s townhouse” and claims the property has “garnered considerable praise in the architectural press”.
Struggling with popularity outside of Labour card holders, DMZ views Corbyn’s doubling down on their London HQ as a particularly strange move in the current political climate.
Why spend millions on leasing prime London real estate in a newly furnished (and therefore more expensive) unit, when cheaper alternatives are readily available. Nearby Battersea or Vauxhall are two emerging areas that have fantastic travel links and are a short distance from Parliament, at a markedly cheaper price.
DealMakerz would also point to the differing strategies adopted by Labour and Conservatives on their HQ’s. The Tories signed a lease in 2014 for 12,000 sq ft at 4 Matthew Parker Street, SW1 – paying their new landlord Aviva about £35 per square foot. That equates to approximately £420,000 per year, the same square footage, in a better location, for half the price of Labours deal. The Tories also managed to sell their old HQ in Smith Square to a European property developer for a profit of £15m in 2007.
It could be worse – UKIP are allegedly still without any Headquarters at all since they left their Mayfair offices last year.
We can only assume that Nigel Farage is holding out for a permanent lodging at Trump Towers…