Canary Wharf Group seeks comms boost to attract more global business

Canary Wharf's biggest landlord is considering bringing in additional corporate PR support as it looks to attract more businesses from around the globe.

Canary Wharf: aims to double its working population by 2031
Canary Wharf: aims to double its working population by 2031

Canary Wharf Group (CWG) owns 6.4 million square feet of property worth £4.7bn, collecting annual rents of £230m.

JP Morgan and Royal Dutch Shell are moving their headquarters to Canary Wharf, taking the number of people working there to 105,000. The aim is to boost this to 200,000 over the next 20 years.

CWG comms manager Hamish McDougall confirmed the group was considering bringing in extra corporate PR support to work alongside its retained agencies. The Communications Group handles consumer PR for CWG and Brunswick looks after financial PR.

CWG manages 97 acres of grounds on the 15 million-square-foot Docklands estate, as well as the underground shopping malls.

The successful agency would work on positioning Canary Wharf as a booming business and retail district, at the same time as assisting with the corporate positioning of the wider company.

The process of bringing in additional PR support is in the early stages. A handful of agencies have been contacted, but none had been asked to pitch as PRWeek went to press.

McDougall suggested that CWG was still making its mind up as to whether extra agency support was needed.

The news comes as CWG prepares for the relocation of the first of 8,000 JPMorgan staff from the City. In January, the bank's staff are due to move into the Canary Wharf offices vacated by Lehman Brothers in 2008.

Songbird Estates, which owns CWG, reported a 40 per cent rise in pre-tax profits to £463.8m in 2010, boosted by the £495m sale of the Lehman Brothers building to JP Morgan, although it also had to write off more than £50m after the Lehman administrators stopped paying rent on the Bank Street offices.

The market value of Songbird's property portfolio rose ten per cent year-on-year to £4.6bn on 31 December 2010.

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