October 23, 2012 / 8:15 AM / in 5 years

Goldman Sachs tags London site as Europe HQ in "Project Armada"

LONDON (Reuters) - Goldman Sachs is lining up a future eight-storey building beside its London office as the site of its new European headquarters, according to confidential documents referring to project “Armada”.

The bank purchased the second of two office blocks occupying the site of the new campus last year. But it has never confirmed it will move into the site adjacent to its current HQ on Fleet Street, the district which was the hub for Britain’s newspapers until the 1980s when legal and financial firms moved in.

Over 100 pages of technical drawings and data seen by Reuters show a clear assumption that Goldman plans to consolidate its London operations into the new building, which is 1.2 million square feet.

The bank is simultaneously pressing ahead with plans to group its Bangalore offices together in a major new back-office centre housing 4,000 staff, codenamed “Big Bang.”

“GS London and Bangalore campuses are currently not consolidated, obstructing collaboration among the GS employees and duplicating infrastructure requirements,” the report by architect Adamson Associates said.

“Armada and Big Bang projects provide an opportunity for resolution of this situation,” it said.

A Goldman Sachs spokeswoman declined to comment.

The London project has faced some hurdles. The site acquired by Goldman includes a building that was London’s largest telephone exchange when it opened in 1961 and the bank needed special permission to remove protected murals from it.

The bank had argued that the nine ceramic panels by relatively unknown artist Dorothy Annan were not rare. But the murals were listed by the government as being of national importance and special interest as surviving works of 1960s mural art.

Goldman also had to promise telecoms firm BT Group that it would get access to current telecoms tunnels during and after construction.

The designs for the new London office include fan and generator rooms that can be used to power trading operations and a 50 square meter area for secure waste and shredding. There are also details on how much shower, locker and bicycle parking space will be included in the new building.

Reporting by Tom Bill; Editing by Sophie Walker

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