ICE Council this week backed proposals that could see £5.19M spent on refurbishment of the ICE’s new property at 8 Storeys Gate.
Deputy director general Hugh Ferguson 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,” 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.”
ICE bought 8 Storeys Gate, Westminster in April 2009 following the sale of its Heron Quay building. The plan is to relocate most ICE and Thomas Telford staff to the new building once it is refurbished. The existing tenant is expected to move out in September 2010.
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 in 2010.
The vision agreed previously by Council for the building was to create “an attractive working environment which encourages good staff to join and stay with ICE and help make the Institution an employer of choice”. It also had a vision to apply best practice for sustainability.
Ferguson said to meet these goals it was necessary to invest in Option 3 and stressed that if option 1 or 2 were chosen it would be much more expensive to achieve the benefits of option 3 in the future.
Some Council members warned that discussion about such large unbudgeted investment in the face of on-going budget cuts would have to 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 investments to property. The ICE will still retain this asset and we need to explain this to members.”
Council agreed to follow the recommendation of the Executive Board and asked that plans for Option 3 (minus) be worked up to include details of programming, phasing and de-scoping and brought back to Council for agreement.