BOEING, the American aircraft maker that has recently announced plans to make 30,000 people redundant, is to lease one of the most expensive offices in London for it’s British directors. The company has agreed to pay Pounds 87 per square foot for the office at 16 St James – equivalent to pounds 609,000 a year. Other costs, such as local taxes, will add a third to the final bill.
The office is thought to be the most expensive leased in London in more than a year. It costs about twice as much as space in Canary Wharf and a third more than in the City.
Boeing’s new building is owned by Heron Group and managed by Healey Be Baker but has been empty for two years because the rent is so high, according to commercial property experts. One said: “This has caused quite a stir, especially considering the turmoil in the airline industry.”
Boeing’s extravagance has not stopped at renting the office. It has also employed Metro Design Consulting with a budget of Pounds 500,000 to redesign the interior of the offices – which will house fewer than 20 executives. The company has been told to adopt a “minimalist style” to complement the modern art that will be on display.
Boeing will move from its current base in nearby Jermyn Street in December. British Airways is also moving from neighbouring Berkeley Square but to cheaper premises.
Boeing defended the deal, which comes just weeks after it announced that it would make almost a third of its workforce redundant. The sharp fall in demand for air travel is widely expected to lead to airlines cancelling orders for new aircraft.
A spokesman said: “The move is part of our long-term plan to expand our presence in the UK. This country is one of our key markets and all property in central London is expensive. It is very sad that we have had to lay people off.“