BT investing in a new office hub in Cardiff for 900 staff

Telecoms giant BT is creating a new office hub in the centre of Cardiff for up to 900 staff as part of a multi-million-pound investment.

In the biggest office property deal in Wales this year, BT will occupy 65,000 sq ft of grade A office space at the 3 Capital Quarter office building in the centre of city.

The investment is part of its ongoing better workplace programme, which by 2024 will see its 300 locations focused on 30 UK hubs. Projects have already been confirmed in locations including Birmingham and London.

For its Cardiff hub it is taking space being vacated by FTSE 100 insurance to loans group Admiral, which is exiting part of its office portfolio across South Wales as part of a permanent hybrid working model.

BT staff will move into the new hub by year end. The office building, which forms part of the wider Capital Quarter development is owned by property investor Mayfair Capital. It acquired the freehold interest from developer of the wider Capital Quarter scheme, JR Smart, two years ago.

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Brent Mathews, BT’s director of property and facilities services, said: “We’re really pleased to have agreed this exciting new office space in the centre of Cardiff. Despite the economic challenges and changes to working patterns caused by the pandemic, we think this is an important investment and it secures our presence in the capital of Wales and the wider region.

“This will bring our people together in an impressive and modern environment in Cardiff’s developing Capital Quarter. Our new offices reflect a move to more hybrid and flexible ways of working, with colleagues able to come together, using the latest technologies, to collaborate in inspiring workspaces. It will help us attract and retain brilliant people and we look forward to welcoming colleagues into this great new workspace when it’s ready later this year.”

As well as a location for existing BT staff in the city it will also act as a regional hub for colleagues, as well as its at arm’s length engineering venture Openreach. The vast majority of staff will work on a hybrid basis.

BT will now enter in a consultation with staff on its hub plans, as we reviewing its existing office space in the city, including Stadium House next to the Principality Stadium.

BT had already adopted a flexible working policy prior to the pandemic. It said it couldn’t say at this stage whether the new hub could support any new roles.

The 3 Capital Quarter office scheme at Capital Quarter in Cardiff.

The new operation at 3 Capital Quarter will include smart building technology, flexible workspaces and collaboration areas. It also features a sixth floor roof terrace, underground cycle parking and shower and changing facilities.

Rhydian Morris, director of the Cardiff office of property advisory firm JLL advised BT on the deal with Huw Thomas of Huw Thomas Commercial Property Consultancy advising Admiral.

Huw Thomas, leader of Cardiff City Council, said: “This announcement by BT is a big vote of confidence in the city and in our plans for the future.

“I’m pleased that BT sees Cardiff as a good place to invest and to continue recruiting its present and future workforce. This is good for skilled jobs, for the city and the wider region. The Central Cardiff Enterprise Zone was developed for this reason, to attract new investment, create new high quality workspaces and attract good, sustainable jobs.”

Head of property for Admiral, Huw Llewellyn, said: “As part of our ongoing property strategy and office consolidation given our commitment to hybrid working, we are delighted that such a high quality tenant in BT Group will be taking on our Capital Quarter office space. We would like to thank JR Smart and family for their continued support, and our landlord and agent, Huw Thomas (Huw Thomas Commercial Property Consultancy) and Rhydian Morris (JLL)

“We’re excited by the opportunities a more flexible, hybrid approach brings us, where colleagues can spend time working both at home, and together as teams in our offices working collaboratively. There’s no doubt that the flexibility of approach will help us attract and retain the top talent in the market and that’s important as we think about the future of our business.”

Both parties wouldn’t comment on whether Admiral has assigned its lease to BT, or whether a subletting deal has been struck.

BT Group remains one of Wales’s leading employers and according to independent research its activities contribute almost £1bn to the Welsh economy (gross value added) and support more than 12,000 jobs.

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