Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, is currently on six day trade mission to China where he has outlined his vision to make London’s Royal Docks a world class international business district. Johnson said he is determined to capitalise on opportunities for UK trade and commerce, which will create local jobs and growth, while strengthening trade between east and west, the Mayor’s office reported today.
Johnson met with ABP chairman Xu Weiping in Beijing, where he welcomed the commitment of a further ten Chinese companies to take up office space in the new GBP1bn Asian Business Port development in London’s Royal Albert Dock. These firms include electrical manufacturers, commercial real-estate, water conservancy, educational training and fashion and textiles companies. In total, 57 firms are currently set to move into the new business park and are expected to account for around 600,000 sq ft of the ABP (London) development.
ABP is a developer in China, with a track record of investing and regenerating large areas. It will lead the development of the 35-acre Royal Albert Dock site, while UK partner Stanhope will act as development manager. The development will comprise 2.5 million square feet of office space, along with other supporting uses that will include leisure, retail and serviced apartments. The first phase of the development is due to open in 2017, with completion of the site expected by 2021/22. This development is projected to be worth GBP6bn to the UK economy and is expected to generate GBP23m in business rates annually.
According to the Mayor’s office, Johnson intends to work with the UK government to revamp Enterprise Zone business incentives for the Royal Docks, which are due to be reviewed in 2015. The Mayor said he would like to see the incentives extended to encourage more Asian businesses to locate to the historic docklands and create an eastern trading hub in London.
China is a key market for UK exports and its economy is said to have achieved growth of 8% between 2008 and 2012. The Mayor is in discussion with the government to initiate certain measures that would make it easier and more economic for Asian businesses to set up and trade internationally from the Royal Docks, as well as for UK companies to export and access Asian and other non-EU markets.
Alongside the ABP deal, regeneration in the area also includes the Siemens Crystal Centre, the first urban cable car in the UK, a new location at Great Eastern Quay for the Emirates Air Line and a GBP1.5bn new innovation quarter at Silverton Quays. The Mayor also plans to create the UK’s largest floating village at Royal Victoria Dock, which is said to be one of the most connected areas in the capital.