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EXCLUSIVE: UBS And Grant Thornton Cancel 105K SF Broadgate Lease After Credit Suisse Rescue

UBS and Grant Thornton have canceled a deal for the latter to sublease 100K SF at UBS’ City of London headquarters as the Swiss investment bank starts to shift Credit Suisse staff from Canary Wharf, Bisnow can reveal.

UBS agreed to sublease two floors totaling 105K SF to accountancy firm Grant Thornton at its 733K SF 5 Broadgate building in December 2022. That would have seen Grant Thornton move its UK HQ into the building from its current location at nearby 30 Finsbury Square.

But UBS agreed to a deal to rescue Credit Suisse in March amid fears that the latter did not have enough liquidity to survive. Following the completion of the acquisition in June, UBS is planning to move Credit Suisse staff out of One Cabot Square in Canary Wharf and into 5 Broadgate.

For that to happen, the sublease with Grant Thornton needed to be aborted. 

UBS HQ at 5 Broadgate

“Following the acquisition of Credit Suisse by UBS, we have agreed with UBS to a surrender of our earlier agreed lease at 5 Broadgate and are currently in the process of reviewing options for our Central London headquarters from 2024,” a spokesman for Grant Thornton told Bisnow in an emailed statement. “Further information will be made available in due course.”  

A UBS spokeswoman confirmed it would retain two floors at 5 Broadgate.

“This comes following our acquisition of Credit Suisse and allows us to accommodate more employees under one roof,” UBS said in a statement.

UBS is now starting to move Credit Suisse staff out of the 546K SF One Cabot Square in Canary Wharf, the company said in a memo to London workers last week. The aim is to move all Credit Suisse staff out of the building by the end of the year, Financial News reported

Credit Suisse has a lease at Cabot Square that runs to 2034, and it had already been subleasing 190K SF of the building through JLL and CBRE, CoStar reported. The building was bought by the Qatar Investment Authority for £330M in 2012. 

While widely expected, the deal cancellation is another example of a bank choosing to relocate staff from Canary Wharf to the City. It follows HSBC’s decision to move out of its Canary Wharf tower to a building near St. Paul’s Cathedral. HSBC’s building is also owned by the QIA. 

UBS will start moving Credit Suisse staff out of One Cabot Square.

5 Broadgate is owned by Korea's National Pension Service, which bought it for £1.2B in 2022. 

The cancellation of Grant Thornton’s lease at 5 Broadgate brings a fresh 100K SF office requirement to the City market. The company leases the majority of the 130K SF 30 Finsbury Square on a deal that ends in 2024. 

That will be a boost for building owners looking to fill space.

City office leasing volumes have been subdued since the onset of the pandemic. Takeup was 2.2M SF in the first half of 2023, data from BNP Paribas Real Estate showed, 27% down on the same period last year. Yet prime rents have held up due to the shortage of quality buildings available to lease. 

30 Finsbury Square was bought by MEAG, the asset management division of German insurance company Munich Re, for £102M in 2010 and was built in 2002.