Council deal to buy flagship Swindon office building 

By Barrie Hudson - 23 July 2020

CommunityBusiness

Zurich’s new state-of-the-art office building in Swindon's town centre will be bought by the borough council.

  • Councillor Dale Heenan, Swindon Borough Council's Cabinet Member for the Town Centre, Culture and Heritage, looking down on the site of the new Zurich offices off Fleming Way

    Councillor Dale Heenan, Swindon Borough Council's Cabinet Member for the Town Centre, Culture and Heritage, looking down on the site of the new Zurich offices off Fleming Way

The move is part of wider plans to regenerate the Kimmerfields site.

The flagship offices will then be leased back to the insurance company, who will provide the council with a rental income for the next 20 years on the majority of the building.

Construction will begin next month and is due for completion in 2022. 

The building will form the cornerstone of the wider Kimmerfields development and, the council intends, act as a catalyst for the regeneration of the site over the coming years.

Councillor Dale Heenan, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for the Town Centre, Culture and Heritage, said: “The new building, which secures Zurich’s future in Swindon and allows them to expand, is the first new office development in 20 years in the town centre.

“It is the first piece of the jigsaw. The council and Zurich have entered into a sale and leaseback deal which is a tried and tested approach and the first time we have done it on a new construction project as a council. 

"Only when construction has finished in two years’ time, and Zurich employees have moved in, will the council purchase the building and lease it back to the company for an annual rent. 

"At no cost to taxpayers, with the minimum of risk, it is a commercial deal, based on professional expert advice, that we should explore more often.

“I remain optimistic Swindon will secure £25m of government funding in October, which will transform Fleming Way and the bus station and become the second piece of the jigsaw next to the new Zurich offices. 

"And as soon as we can, the grand plan for the remainder of the Kimmerfields site will be published so that residents, businesses and investors see how construction will visibly transform our town centre for the better over the next eight to 10 years.”

Zurich announced earlier this week that Skanska had been appointed as the contractor for the building and was aiming to achieve a BREEAM - Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method - rating of Excellent on completion, while also minimising waste during construction and through the building’s life cycle.

The building will provide 100,000sqft of office space over six floors, with a terrace and function space at roof level.

Zurich has a long history as one of the town’s largest employers, and the new building, the firm promises, will provide more than 950 staff with a modern workspace designed to enhance their wellbeing and the local environment.

Electric car charging will be installed for visitors, and there are also plans for a beehive on the roof terrace to boost biodiversity and produce honey - which will be sold to raise money for Zurich’s charitable arm, the Zurich Community Trust.

An open atrium staircase will encourage more walking between floors and there will be additional facilities for cyclists to encourage employees to use sustainable transport.

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