LONDON (Reuters) - Barclays (BARC.L) has agreed to expand its presence at London's Canary Wharf by 40 percent, landlord Canary Wharf Group said on Tuesday.
Barclays, which will move its headquarters to Amsterdam if a planned 67 billion euros (46 billion pound) takeover of Dutch rival ABN AMRO AAH.AS succeeds, had agreed to lease a further 300,000 square feet of office space for its investment banking arm Barclays Capital, Canary Wharf Group said.
The Songbird Estates-unit SBDb.L confirmed an earlier Reuters report that Barclays had agreed to lease 16 floors at 40 Bank Street, in addition to the 700,000 sq feet it already occupied on the towering 97-acre (39.26 hectares) site in east London.
Canary Wharf said Barclays Capital will move in to the new premises over the next 18 months and had agreed to pay rents ranging from 44 pounds to 47.50 pounds per sq ft.
Average rents for high-quality offices in prime locations at Canary Wharf have averaged 45 pounds per sq ft since the end of the last year, according to data from property services firm Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL).
In a statement, Richard Archer, head of leasing and marketing at Canary Wharf Group, said the vacancy rate on the Canary Wharf estate would fall to 3 percent as a result of the deal with Barclays.
JLL said on Monday the prime office vacancy rate in Canary Wharf had fallen to 6.5 percent at the end of March from 6.7 percent at the end of 2006, due to strong demand for London office space amid a financial services-fuelled boom.
JLL also said the average vacancy rate in the rival City of London financial district fell to 6.1 percent from 7.5 percent over the same period.