Morgan Stanley Set To Stay In Major Boost For Canary Wharf

April 3, 2024

Morgan Stanley has recently reached an agreement to remain in Canary Wharf for an additional 14 years, providing a significant boost to the development amidst recent high-profile departures.

This extension entails the US investment bank prolonging its lease from the original expiration date in 2028 to now last until 2038, in a deal struck with Canary Wharf Group, the building’s owner. The decision to stay serves as a notable vote of confidence in the docklands hub, particularly following the departure of several prominent tenants, raising questions about the area’s allure for business.

Amidst expectations of a 16.6% increase in Canary Wharf office vacancies in the fourth quarter of 2024, up from 15% in the same period the previous year, the commitment from Morgan Stanley comes as a welcome reprieve for the development’s occupancy rates.

Shobi Khan, CEO of CWG, expressed delight at Morgan Stanley’s reaffirmation of its commitment to Canary Wharf, highlighting the location’s appeal to leading companies due to its vibrant mixed-use environment, excellent transport connections, and diverse leisure amenities, including extensive water boardwalks and parks, along with a wide array of retail and dining options.

Despite the departure of other notable firms like HSBC and Clifford Chance, Canary Wharf remains home to four of the top six investment banks, including JP Morgan, Barclays, and Citi, with significant investment from some, such as the £100 million revamp planned by Citi for its 42-storey tower. Additionally, the area boasts the presence of major accountancy groups like EY and KPMG, as well as promising newcomers like fintech firm Revolut, which is eyeing expansion into the YY building.

Chris Beatty, Morgan Stanley’s EMEA COO, expressed satisfaction with extending the firm’s tenure in Canary Wharf, citing the area’s longstanding status as the location for their EMEA headquarters and expressing eagerness to witness its ongoing evolution.

In a bid to further enhance Canary Wharf’s offerings, a taxpayer loan exceeding £118 million has been allocated to the development, aimed at bolstering its life science sector and facilitating the construction of new residential properties. Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced this initiative as part of the Spring Budget, emphasizing its role in accelerating the Canary Wharf scheme’s implementation.