'We will always want to be in east London': Chairman pledges commitment to £1.7bn business district
PUBLISHED: 10:00 22 September 2019
The chairman of the company behind a £1.7billion Royal Docks business district has pledged his commitment to the scheme's future.
The first phase of ABP's Royal Albert Dock site has been completed and chairman and president Xu Weiping revealed that despite uncertainty around Brexit and the UK's role on the global stage, he is confident in the project's long-term success.
"I think before we started building we had 50 per cent of places reserved for phase one," he said.
"Many of them are very confused about the future of the UK."
But he added that he was not worried about filling all the units in phase two - set to include more offices and flats - "as long as the UK and London business environment returns back to normal".
Asked if ABP would consider backing out of its investment in the Royal Docks, Mr Xu said: "No. Never.
"I will never leave the UK. ABP are always committed to the UK and always committed to this development.
"We will always want to be in east London. The future of London development is in east London."
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He added: "I think Brexit, it's not scary. It's the choice of the British people.
"But it's been going on three years, it's so long. We have already lost two very capable prime ministers, and the government and parliament still don't agree.
"It's like parents who are always arguing. If the children aren't happy they will choose to leave home."
The first phase, which was completed this year, has seen 460,000 sq ft of office space created across 21 buildings.
"Phase one has gone really well," Mr Xu said. "I feel very happy about it. It's fulfilled our objectives."
Phase two of the 4.7 million sq ft development is set to go through the planning process early next year, and is set to include more offices, flats and a membership club.
The whole scheme is expected to take around 26 years to complete.
Mr Xu emphasised the importance of the Elizabeth line opening, and said that he wanted the area recategorised from Zone 3 to Zone 2.
He said: "At the moment we have got the DLR. It's not very speedy and it only comes from the city. Crossrail comes right from Heathrow to us, coming through the city and Canary Wharf."