Universal Music to move UK headquarters from Kensington to King’s Cross

Kasmira Jefford
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Four Pancras Square, the new office building at King's Cross

Universal Music is moving its UK headquarters to King’s Cross, in a major coup for Argent, the developers behind the regeneration of the 67-acre scheme.

The music giant, which is currently based in Kensington, confirmed it has signed a long-term lease for the entire office space at Four Pancras Square, a ten-storey building totalling around 177,000 square feet.

It expects to move its 1000-plus employee workforce to King’s Cross, including staff at its sister companies Universal Music Publishing and See Tickets, by the middle of 2017 when the building is due to complete.

As well as a rooftop garden, Four Pancras Square will feature a 10,000 square feet “destination restaurant”, Argent said, as well as a dedicated cycle access and changing rooms in the basement.

Universal, which represents music stars including Taylor Swift and the Rolling Stones, did not disclose how much it will pay in rent, although some buildings are understood to have secured rents as high as £80 per square feet.

Google, media giant Havas and Louis Vuitton have all snapped up space on the estate.

“Kings Cross is fast emerging as a creative hub for London. It’s going to be an energising place to work and feels like a natural home for Universal Music with many opportunities for collaboration and inspiration literally on our doorstep,” Universal’s chairman and UK chief executive, David Joseph, said.

The King’s Cross Central Limited Partnership – a consortium made up of Argent and Hermes Real Estate, taxpayer-owned London & Continental Railways and DHL – is turning the former wasteland behind King’s Cross station into a new district comprising 50 new buildings and 2,000 new homes as well as shops and restaurants.

In August the government put its 36.5 per cent stake up for sale, bringing in investment group Lazard and high end estate agent Savills to handle the process.

CBRE acted for Universal Music; Savills and Cushman & Wakefield are acting for the King’s Cross Partnership.