Admiral Group selects new development for Cardiff HQ

South Wales motor insurance specialist Admiral Group has announced plans to move into a new headquarters in Cardiff city centre.

The new office, which at 220, 000 sq ft will be the biggest pre-let office project ever seen in Cardiff, will be developed by Midlands-based property specialists Stoford. It will allow Admiral to potentially increase the number of people it employs in the capital to more than 3,000 in a single building.

The decision is still subject to satisfactory planning permission being granted by Cardiff City Council.

The building will be based on a half acre site of the former David Street car park which was demolished as part of the St Davids 2 redevelopment. It was selected from a shortlist of 6 schemes, including the option of staying in the company’s current HQ in Capital Tower on Greyfriars Road. This shortlist was eventually narrowed to two adjacent sites- the other proposal being a joint venture between Rightacres and MA Rapport.

Head of facilities for Admiral Group, Huw Llewellyn said, “We started the process of looking for a new headquarters two years ago. The final decision was difficult to make because we narrowed it down to two very strong candidates in the Stoford and Rightacres/Rapport proposals. The Stoford development offers not only an excellent building and great location, but also an attractive financial deal.

“We also need to ensure our new headquarters allows us to sustain our growth and provides an excellent environment for our employees. Hopefully our staff will enjoy their new building as we will be consulting them throughout its development. I’m sure they will be happy with the location as it will have great accessibility for public transport and is close to all the shops, bars and restaurants in Cardiff city centre.”

The new building will extend to 11 storeys and will be a landmark in an area of the city centre that has gone through a lot of development recently. It will comply with the environment BREEAM ‘Excellent’ standard for sustainability and energy efficiency and is expected to be fully completed by January 2014, ready for Admiral to move in.

Tony Nash, Director of Stoford, said, “We are proud to have been appointed by Admiral to partner them for such an important development.

"Most importantly it will be 'tailor made' to support Admiral's needs and provide a great working environment for its staff.”

Steve Spencer, Associate Director at Glenn Howells Architects said, “The development of St David’s will make an impressive and significant addition to the Cardiff cityscape. Working within the City’s tall buildings guidelines, we propose to deliver an architecturally eye-catching and environmentally sustainable scheme that provides a best-in-class office accommodation.

“Having the opportunity during the design process to work closely with Admiral ensures that we create a truly flexible, bespoke space to meet its working requirements as the end user. Our early designs centre on a full height atrium to create a light and airy space, with flexible floorplates and workspace to really complement Admiral’s corporate objectives.”

The announcement of a new HQ demonstrates Admiral’s commitment to Cardiff and cements its position as one of Wales biggest employers. It currently employs more than 3,000 people in Cardiff, Swansea and Newport and is also Wales’ only FTSE100 company.

The deal was assisted by commercial property agents, Knight Frank. Stephen Widnall, Partner at Knight Frank’s Cardiff office, said, “The scale and importance of this project to Cardiff has required Admiral to adopt a partnership approach with Stoford to ensure that its business requirements are fully met by the development. There is still a long way to go in delivering Admiral’s new HQ but we have made a good start and we are confident the end product will set new standards for office accommodation in the city.”