In April 2013, Chinese telecoms giant, Huawei, opened a new UK headquarters in Green Park, Reading. Huawei is mainland China’s largest investor into the UK. The company has 15 offices across the UK and 890 employees, planned to rise to 1,500 by 2017. Victor Zhang, chief executive of Huawei Technologies UK, said "Green Park is at the heart of the Britain's communications and technology industry, is well located for some of our major customers, has excellent transport links and is the right location for us as we continue our UK expansion."
Chinese company, Sunfor Lighting Ltd has set up its UK base at Green Park. The parent company is Sichuan Sunfor Light Co and is based in Chengdu, the economically successful area of central China. Sunfor (China) is one of China’s largest and most successful manufacturers and distributors of commercial LED lighting and is now developing new markets in the UK and Europe. Its recent success and competitive advantage is being built on a new disruptive technology which creates a more uniform new generation AC LED lighting technology which is more efficient, has a longer product life and removes the ‘flicker to remove user experience. Its applications will be in street-lighting, car parks, shopping malls, terminals, offices as well as in the home. Mr TaoTao is leading the initial market research function for Sunfor assess the market opportunity and begin building a customer base.
Oaktree Capital Management and Patrizia have secured their first office letting at Winnersh Triangle since purchasing the business park from Segro last year. Blue-chip aerospace and defence organisation Rockwell Collins have taken a 70,000 sq ft prelet deal on Plot 700. The new purpose built facility, will comprise a 40,000 sq ft workshop, research and development space plus 30,000 sq ft of offices over 3 floors. Dan Williams, PATRIZIA’s head of development, said: “We’ve had a lot of good news come all at once: planning permission for Rockwell Collins and fresh investment for more office development both coinciding with the park’s official launch. It all serves to underscore Winnersh Triangle’s presence as one of the premier commercial locations in the Thames Valley region.” www.winnershtriangle.co.uk
M & G Real Estate have a long association with Reading. They manage Apex Plaza, premier office accommodation next to Reading Station, and are currently constructing the 370,000 sq ft Forbury Place, a new international HQ building in Reading town centre. In May 2014, M&G Real Estate announced the acquisition of Reading Bridge House for £35.million. Reading Bridge House is one of Reading’s biggest land mark buildings providing 113,778 sq ft of grade A office accommodation over ten storeys. Commenting, Fiona Rowley of M&G Real Estate said: “This is an important acquisition for us - Reading is the focal point for economic growth along the M4 corridor and one of the most accessible office centres for Central London in the Thames Valley.” www.readingbridge.com
International IT giant Pegasystems located its new European HQ in Reading. Based in One Reading Central alongside the new train station, Pegasystems, a leader in business process management, was reported by Fortune Magazine to be the third fastest growing technology company in the world. Alan Trefler, founder and CEO of Pegasystems, commented at the time of the move: “We’re really excited to have found an outstanding facility in an excellent location.”
Fast-growing national transport planning and urban design consultancy Phil Jones Associates is opening a new office in the centre of Reading in July 2014. The Birmingham-based company is opening the base at Forbury Square to cater for its growing number of projects in the South as well as bolstering its presence in the region, building on its current space at Farringdon in Central London. Phil Jones Associates is working on several high profile projects in the South, including shared space at Bournemouth Winter Gardens and residential developments at ITV Meridian’s former studios in Southampton. They will be based in Davidson House. Visit www.philjonesassociates.co.uk
Peter Brett Associates LLP (PBA), the independent development and infrastructure consultants, have committed their future to Reading. Using their in-house expertise, they designed the refurbishment of their offices themselves, creating light, spacious and energy-efficient accommodation. PBA’s Reading office at Caversham Bridge is now home to 240 staff. Scott Witchalls, the Partner who heads up PBA’s business in the South, said: “We have committed to a long-term future in Reading by completing a major upgrade of our offices and we see ourselves as part of Reading’s success. The comprehensive refurbishment was designed by PBA to be a true exemplar of sustainability providing space for community events, enhancing the surrounding area, sourcing locally, and creating an office environment of collaborative working space for over 300 long-term jobs for local planners, economists, engineers, scientists and support services.” More information at www.peterbrett.com
Planning and design consultancy Barton Willmore has relocated to Reading town centre. The partnership has taken 11,670 sq ft on the 10th and 11th floors of the iconic Blade town centre building where it will employ more than 100 people. Managing Partner Stephen Toole said the practice was looking forward to returning to the town centre and building on its links with the local business community. He said: “This is a major investment in our partnership’s growth and a vote of confidence in Reading as a place to do business. It is a tremendously sustainable location with fantastic transport links to our offices in London, Bristol, Cardiff and beyond.”
In 2013, supermarket giant Tesco opened a new 900,000 sq ft distribution centre in Reading, creating 1,150 jobs in the area.
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