Mayor of London Boris Johnson has given the go-ahead for the £125m redevelopment of Saatchi & Saatchi’s headquarters in London’s West End.
The advertising agency is based in the buildings at 80 Charlotte Street and 65 Whitfield Street in the Fitzrovia area of Camden and the property is known as the ‘Saatchi block’, after its occupants.
Johnson stepped in to take over the application after Camden Council refused the planning application in May, despite a recommendation for approval by its planning officer. The mayor visited the site earlier this month and decided to approve the development because of its importance to London and the capital’s wider economy.
He gave the green light to the project, which will deliver over 35,000 square metres of office space, at a public hearing in City Hall. It will also offer 55 new homes, of which 16 will be affordable, along with 4,500 metres of commercial space.
Johnson said: “For decades these buildings have been the locus from which some of the most eye-catching and memorable British advertising campaigns have sprung.
“The capital’s adland, centred around Charlotte Street, has developed an international reputation for creativity and I have no doubt that its redevelopment can only be good news for both the West End and the wider London economy,” he said. “As well as providing a vital contribution to Crossrail and a boost to the construction industry, I welcome the fact that there will be considerable investment into the local community as a result.
“I can find no reason to refuse permission and am of the firm view that this ambitious and important redevelopment should go ahead.”
Derwent London, the developer, has agreed to make a £1.6m contribution towards the Crossrail project, as well as constructing the affordable housing units.
The company’s chief executive, John Burns, said: “We are pleased that our 80 Charlotte Street planning application has been approved by the mayor of London. This is a significant scheme for the group and gives us the opportunity to transform the existing buildings into high quality offices that will form an exciting new office hub in keeping with the Derwent brand.
“The park and ground floor retail space will create new life and character to the streets of Fitzrovia and the new residential units, that include affordable housing, will provide a high quality living environment. We look forward to starting on site in 2013.”