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ICE backs plan for new office refurb

ICE Council last week backed proposals that could see £5.19M spent on refurbishment of the ICE’s new property at 8 Storeys Gate.

ICE bought the property in Westminster in April 2009 following the sale of its Heron Quay building.

The plan is to integrate staff from the ICE and Thomas Telford to enable more cross functional working, and use the space currently occupied at One Great George Street to expand services for members. ICE and Thomas Telford staff will move to the new building once it is refurbished.

The vision agreed previously by Council for the new building was to create “an attractive working environment which encourages good staff to join and stay with the ICE and help make the institution an employer of choice”. It also had a vision to apply best practice for sustainability.

Three outline options for refurbishment were set out for Council to discuss:

  • Option 1 The minimum refurbishment schemes costing £3.73M.
  • Option 2 Modified core scheme costing £4.42M
  • Option 3 New core and basement terrace scheme costing £5.19M

Council was asked to advise which option or options should now be worked up in detail for representation to Council.

Deputy director general Hugh Ferguson suggested that to meet these goals it was necessary to invest in option 3, stressing that if option 1 or 2 were chosen it would be much more expensive to achieve the benefits of option 3 in the future.

He explained that although only £1.9M had been budgeted for refurbishment at the time of purchase, the additional sum would cover professional fees and fit out costs and ensure that the ICE maximised its asset value.

“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity adding some £2M to the value of the building.”

Hugh Ferguson

“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity,” Ferguson told Council. “We expect that the investment will add around £9/sqft to the rental value and some £2M to the capital value of the building.”

Council members agreed that discussion about such large unbudgeted investment in the face of ongoing budget cuts would be properly explained to the membership.

However vice president Peter Hansford said: “We need to be careful to distinguish between operating expenditure and capital expenditure. What we are doing is shifting some assets from other investments to property. The ICE will still retain this asset [8 Storeys Gate] and we need to explain this to members.”

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