Canary Wharf is a major business district located in Tower Hamlets, London. It is one of the United Kingdom's two main financial centres – along with the traditional City of London – and contains many of the UK's tallest buildings, including the second-tallest, One Canada Square.
Canary Wharf contains around of office and retail space, of which around is owned by Canary Wharf Group. Around 105,000 people work in Canary Wharf and it is home to the world or European headquarters of numerous major banks, professional services firms and media organisations including Barclays, Citigroup, Clifford Chance, Credit Suisse, Infosys, Fitch Ratings, HSBC, J.P. Morgan, KPMG, MetLife, Moody's, Morgan Stanley, RBC, Skadden, State Street and Thomson Reuters.
Canary Wharf is located in the West India Docks on the Isle of Dogs in the Borough of Tower Hamlets in East London. The West India Docks once formed part of the busiest port in the world. After the docks were closed in 1980 the British Government adopted various policies to stimulate the redevelopment of the area, including through the creation of the London Docklands Development Corporation in 1981 and granting the Isle of Dogs Enterprise Zone status in 1982. In 1987 the Canadian company Olympia and York agreed to construct a major office development on the Isle of Dogs, with construction commencing in 1988.
From 1802, the area was one of the busiest docks in the world.
After the 1960s, the port industry began to decline, leading to all the docks being closed by 1981. Of the three main docks of the West India Docks, the Canary Wharf estate occupies part of the north side and the entire south side of the Import Dock (North Dock), both sides of the Export Dock (Middle Dock) and the north side of the South Dock.
Canary Wharf itself takes its name from No. 32 berth of the West Wood Quay of the Import Dock. This was built in 1936 for Fruit Lines Ltd, a subsidiary of Fred Olsen Lines for the Mediterranean and Canary Islands fruit trade. At their request, the quay and warehouse were given the name Canary Wharf.
The project was sold to Olympia & York and construction began in 1988, master-planned by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill with YRM as their UK advisors, and subsequently by Koetter Kim. The first buildings were completed in 1991 which included One Canada Square that became the UK's tallest building and a symbol of the regeneration of Docklands. Upon opening, the London commercial property market had collapsed and Olympia and York Canary Wharf Limited filed for bankruptcy in May 1992.
In 1997, some residents living on the Isle of Dogs launched a lawsuit against Canary Wharf Ltd for private nuisance because the tower caused interference with television signals. The residents lost the case.
Rescue and recovery
In December 1995 an international consortium, backed by the former owners of Olympia & York and other investors, bought the scheme. The new company was called Canary Wharf Limited, and later became Canary Wharf Group.
Recovery in the property market generally, coupled with continuing demand for large floorplate grade A office accommodation, slowly improved the level of interest in the estate. A critical event in the recovery of Canary Wharf was the much-delayed start of work on the Jubilee line, which the government wanted ready for the Millennium celebrations.
In March 2004 Canary Wharf Group plc. was taken over by a consortium of investors backed by its largest shareholder Glick Family Investments and led by Morgan Stanley using a vehicle named Songbird Estates plc.
At the peak of property prices in 2007, the HSBC building sold for a record £1.1 billion.
In March 2014 planning permission was granted for the first residential building on the Canary Wharf estate, a 58-storey tower including 566 apartments plus shops and a health club.
In July 2014 Canary Wharf Group was granted planning permission for a major eastwards expansion of the Canary Wharf estate. The plans include the construction of 30 buildings comprising a total of 4.9 million square feet, including shops, 1.9 million square feet of commercial offices and 3,100 homes. Construction is planned to commence in Autumn 2014 with the first buildings to be occupied at the end of 2018.
Completed buildings over 60 metres
Buildings under construction