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Canada to Consolidate UK Properties

Canada to Consolidate UK Properties

The Canadian government has put out a request for proposal seeking a team to complete a massive overhaul of its properties in London in the UK.

The federal government has put out a request for proposal, seeking firms to lead a large-scale revamp of Canada House in the UK, consolidating its diplomatic holdings in London.

The $16 million project would see the Canadian High Commission relocated from Grosvenor Square to Canada House on Trafalgar Square. The site would be amalgamated with 2/4 Cockspur Street to create 5,000 square metres of usable space and 1,200 square metres of plant and building support areas in three above-grade floors and two below-grade floors  at the Cockspur Street addresses and roughly 1,800 square metres of Canada House.

According to the request for proposal, the work will include architecture, engineering and interior design at the site.

“The intention of the project is to be exemplary in response to the City of Westminster’s and the United Kingdom’s Heritage concerns for this important building at this important location and to highlight Canada’s products and place in the United Kingdom both historically and in the 21st Century,” the RFP says.

The federal government is looking to sell off Macdonald House on Grosvenor Square and recently purchased the Cockspur Street site.

Cockspur House was originally owned by Sun Life Assurance of Canada and served as headquarters for Canadian military forces during World War II.

Canada House London

A map of Canada House and the attached 2-4 Cockspur office building. Photograph by: HANDOUT/Government of Canada , Postmedia News

The winning bidder will most likely be one who is able to reflect the building’s connection to Canada while retaining much of the site’s original 1920s-era architecture.

“As the primary physical symbol of Canada in the U.K., Canada House needs to be a modern, green, efficient building that reflects Canadian values,” the RFP says.

As it will serve as home base for Canadian diplomats working abroad, security is also of utmost importance, with specification for bulletproof windows, blast-proof walls and a perimeter fence that is difficult to scale.

Bob Dechert, Parliamentary Secretary to Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, noted in February that Canadian works in London were split between two buildings kilometres apart from one another.

“We will be expanding Canada House—taking over the building immediately adjacent—and consolidating the high commission’s operations in one spot,” he said. “This will save taxpayers money and provide better service to Canadians.”

The government will accept tenders until April 23.

By Anthony Morales
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