Amid fears Brexit could pull the rug out from under the UK technology sector, a major development – which Hackney Council plans will dominate the north-east corner of Old Street roundabout – could come as much-needed good news for East London’s tech cluster.
The development could help attract more entrepreneurs and digital businesses to Silicon Roundabout
The scheme, which could provide as much as one million square feet of mixed use property, running the length of Old Street from Silicon Roundabout – so named for its proliferation of tech start-ups – to Pitfield Street in the east, could mark a change of fortunes in the area.
Plans are due to be made public in early 2017, but sources close to the council expect a select group of leading architects, thought to include Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, Buckley Gray Yeoman, Squire and Partners and Gensler, will be invited to submit concepts for various phases of the development.
Hackney Council already owns much of the property in the development space, but has begun acquiring strategic sites that fall outside its ownership including the William Sutton Estate fronting the roundabout and the former Nelson’s Retreat pub, which was subject to a compulsory purchase order. It is also believed the council is in negotiations with the Greater London Authority over the site occupied by Shoreditch Fire Station.
The development could help attract more entrepreneurs and digital businesses to the area, which is already the third-largest technology start-up cluster in the world, after San Francisco and New York City. National and local governments have long supported the growth of the area, and that will be of paramount importance as the country tries to manage uncertainty about the effect Britain’s exit from the EU will have on London’s status as a global technology hub.