Cube Real Estate has submitted exciting new plans for a mixed-use re-development within the southern part of Kingston’s town centre. The plans for the Eden Campus comprise two-interlinked office buildings, car parking designed for electric vehicles, and a new residential building set within landscaped gardens adjacent to the restored historic Hogsmill River.
Unilever, the consumer goods company behind brands including Persil, Dove, Magnum and Marmite, has confirmed that, should the scheme be granted planning permission, it will occupy the Campus office buildings in Winter 2023/2024. The move would bring together around 2,000 employees from five existing sites in London and Surrey into two office buildings built to the highest sustainability standards.1 A new, more sustainable car park with electric charging facilities will replace the existing multi-storey car park, for use by employees during the week, and shoppers at the weekend.
In addition, the developer’s recently-submitted plans also include 156 new one-, two- and three-bedroom homes with 35% affordable housing which will be built next to the newly landscaped Hogsmill River.
Sebastian Munden, General Manager and Executive Vice President of Unilever UK & Ireland, said, “Following consultation with our employees, we are excited to work with Cube on a Unilever Campus in Kingston. For Unilever, this represents a rare opportunity to bring together teams in a highly sustainable, accessible and inspiring office designed for future ways of working, which will be a hive of collaboration for our employees, and for retailers, suppliers, consumers and other organisations.
Sebastian added, “We have had a presence in Kingston for many years, but we are looking forward to being an even bigger part of the local community, and the diversity of skills that the town and surrounding areas have to offer.”
Jonathan Lawes, Director of Cube Real Estate, said, “Unilever’s decision is an enormous boost for Kingston and we’re incredibly excited about what this can do for the town. This decision could not come at a better time for the area given the year we have all been through.
Jonathan continues, “This development not only brings new jobs to the area but brings with it improved new green space, affordable homes and a revitalised town centre. I have no doubt this will be the catalyst for the town centre to go from strength to strength.”
Kingston Council leader Caroline Kerr said: “This is a fantastic endorsement of Kingston as a great place to live and work. This is especially welcome news at this critical time in the COVID pandemic and brings huge opportunities for local employment. This is a fantastic boost for our economy and is a clear signal that Kingston is very much open for business and welcomes new employers to the town. Of course the plans will follow the appropriate planning process.”
Forbes Low, CEO of the Kingston Chamber of Commerce, added, “Kingston is a fantastic place which offers businesses a wealth of opportunity and I am delighted that Unilever has rightly recognised this. This decision is essential for Kingston to move into the years ahead thriving and benefitting residents and businesses. To remain competitive, it is essential the area continues to attract enormous investment such as this to remain a diverse and sustainable location for business growth, as well as being an affordable place to live.”
Kirsten Henly, CEO of Kingston First, said: "We're delighted that Unilever will be relocating to Kingston, a move which is an exciting boost for the town. Their relocation will bring significant numbers of jobs and investment and further highlights Kingston's credentials as a fantastic place to work and live. Unilever has long been a welcome and active part of Kingston town centre's community and we look forward to working with them to support their relocation in the coming years."
Professor Steven Spier, Vice-Chancellor, Kingston University said: “The University is delighted Unilever has shown this commitment to Kingston. As a major stakeholder and employer closely interlinked to the town centre, we welcome the regeneration of an important central space, and the provision of much-needed employment and skills opportunities for the local community. Unilever has an outstanding reputation with a strongly established brand. This investment in Kingston creates a myriad of opportunities for the University and we look forward to progressing partnership discussions to produce enriching and stimulating initiatives around internships, apprenticeships and placements for our highly talented students and graduates.”
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Notes to editor
Unilever has around 400 brands found in homes all over the world, including Dove, Knorr, Dirt Is Good, Rexona, Hellmann’s, Lipton, Wall’s, Lux, Magnum, Axe, Sunsilk and Surf.
Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan (USLP) underpins the company’s strategy and commits to:
- Helping more than a billion people take action to improve their health and well-being by 2020.
- Halving the environmental impact of our products by 2030.
- Enhancing the livelihoods of millions of people by 2020.
The USLP creates value by driving growth and trust, eliminating costs and reducing risks. The company’s sustainable living brands delivered 78% of total growth and 75% of turnover in 2019.
Since 2010 we have been taking action through the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan to help more than a billion people improve their health and well-being, halve our environmental footprint and enhance the livelihoods of millions of people as we grow our business. We have made significant progress and continue to expand our ambition – in 2019 committing to ensure 100% of our plastic packaging is fully reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025. While there is still more to do, we are proud to have been recognised in 2019 as sector leader in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index and in 2020 - for the tenth-consecutive year - as the top ranked company in the GlobeScan/SustainAbility Sustainability Leaders survey.
1The ambition is for the Unilever buildings to have leading sustainability credentials:
- Net Zero Carbon targeted for the base-build
- LEED Platinum (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design - an internationally recognized green building certification system) and WELL Platinum (WELL Building Standard - a performance-based system for measuring, certifying, and monitoring features of the built environment that impact human health and wellbeing, through air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort, and mind) for the office fit-out
- Net zero carbon in operation.