It really doesn't look as imposing as I thought it would in that photo. It really needs to be twice the height it is to be considered any sort of tower. As it is it is more a box.
Jantra, I agree.
I must admit to being perplexed by the unofficial comments stating that the company's head count has appeared to have already outgrown the capacity of the new building. I appreciate that it's not essential to have every employee in one building, but I thought that that was originally the rationale behind the move to a new purpose built HQ.
Unless there are reasons unknown to us, it would appear to the outsider that it would have been a no-brainer to have opted for more storeys on the current site.
I don't really understand why they have opted for a building that won't be able to hold all of their staff, unless expansion has been rapid and unforseen. I doubt that though - aren't they in the game of trying to forecast outcomes?
It might be that the new build is for Admiral staff only and the Confused.com arm is kept separate. I've been told that they are quite keen on ensuring that these two sides of the business are run separately and at arms length. I don't know the breakdown of staff between the two to be honest.
As for the building itself it looks imposing as you approach from Mary Ann st and as you exit SD2. Viewed from afar it looks stumpy. The materials will be key - the stone/fake stone cladding that is on the lower levels at the moment does look quality so hopefully this will at least look like an elegant stump.
While it may have 'topped out' in terms of the workable floor space I think it will get higher than it is today with some kind of raised structure mostly on the east side. I guess it is some kind of spire, although not in the traditional shape. This will, to some extent, lessen the boxyness. Or at least I assume that is the aim.
Personally looking at how it faces directly onto the CIA i think this area may be up for redevelopment in the next few years, maybe admiral will expand around this area?
Does anyone know what happened to the supposed statue that they were going to build?
Project abandoned. I don't think they could find anyone to insure it.
"They aren't used to things of such little artistic value?"
There i corrected it for you :)
You are correct that Confused needs to be run at arms length to ensure that other insurers pricing strategies are not revealed to Admiral Group, as this info is commercially sensitive and could provide Admiral with an unfair advantage. Therefore Confused will never be in the same building as the the core business. Nevertheless they have still outgrown the new building, trust me on this.
The new building is very much seen as a HQ and will not incorporate the whole business.
Buy Rapport Buy Rapport Buy Rapport
From what I understand, large companies whose business is as much dependent on the accessibility of the their services to customers as it is on what they sell prefer not to have all their operations in one location in case of a systems failure. Were all of Admiral's business conducted out of one location, a system failure would take out their entire operation, from sales and customer support to more back office functions and management. Having multiple locations spreads the risk, and allows sales operations to continue even if one location has trouble. It's why other online majors such as Plusnet have opened second sites which often replicate some of the activities already going on at their main sites.
In the case of Admiral, they're already signed up to take more space at the new Cambrian building under construction opposite Newport station, which will be in addition to the extra space afforded by their new Cardiff HQ and their offices in Swansea. I suspect this new building is more about establishing a prestigious HQ fitting of a FTSE100 company than it is about providing enough capacity for all staff. The centralisation of the disparate Cardiff based staff and the possibility of a sale and leaseback in a few years are but secondary benefits.
I don't think a sale and leaseback is part of their plans given they will be renting the building from a German pension fund who've bought it off plan from LandSec. I think Admiral signed up for a 25 yr lease at something like 15 per square foot for the 180000 of net office space
Slightly off- message for this thread but.... having been to Manchester on the weekend, I must say that I was taken aback by the sheer scale and statement of the new Co-op HQ just outside the city centre. This building is 320,000 sq ft, yet to me it looked as if it was at least 2/3 times the size of the new Admiral HQ and was in a location which made a real statement. I got the impression that maybe the city authorities worked harder on planning design and location with the developers and business community than we do down here.
There also appeared to be a good dozen plus glass fronted office developments already up around a business district in the centre (Spinningfields) plus quite a lot of activity on a hulking great new edifice called 1 St Peter's Square slap bang in the centre next to the town Hall. To Londoners this is no obviously no great shakes, but by our standards the office developments in Manc are light years ahead of anything happening in Cardiff. The more that I travel to other cities, the more I notice that Cardiff really has stagnated after the turn of the millennium growth.
the co-op is a lovely building, a really interesting shape and is over the road from the CIS tower making a 'co-op' campus. Spinningfields is also an area on the march and is a nice dense business area.
what did you think of the Beetham? they also have a 35 storey student castle which is pretty impressive when you think a student halls is taller than anything we have in Cardiff
I think that Mark Radcliffe summed it up when he said that it's like a giant gravestone welcoming you to Manchester.
It certainly is a phallic building. Not a particularly pretty one though. I don't think I'd rate it in the top ten glass new builds in Manc centre over the past decade.
The student castle tower however runs roughshod over the evil crap Ty Pont Hearn that was built here. Someone really should call for a public inquiry into why that was allowed to be built.
PS Arriva Trains Wales managed to break down on the way home and the replacement had no working toilets!
The CO-OP HQ in Manchester is indeed a nice building, it does have a large atrium so that might explain is apparent size, the area it has a long way to go though, being quite rough in places. My pics from Chritsmas:
Beetham is quite a pretty building due to its cladding, when the sun shines it looks ace and really soars:
The nws tudent halls arnt that great but definately better than Ty Point y Hearn!
Spinningfield however is a souless and almost 'ugly' area, really devoid of character and soul!
Despite manchesters developments, it is a very car orientated city and worse for it. Its always busy, always dirty and very rearely has streetscapes of beauty or uniformity despite an abundant amount of beautiful architecture. In terms of places to live Cardiff is a much nicer place!
I'm not sure about being car centric. M'cr has the GMPTE who have been instrumental in developing the metro and are investing heavily in it. I'd also say you're a bit hard on Spinningfields as its primarily a business district. I do agree about the streetscape but that's more to do with the city's development as an industrial powerhouse. cotton mills, bonded warehouses and wharfs were the order of the day. pretty boulevards and tree lined thoroughfares were overlooked. that's what gives the city its charm
I don't really thnk that much of their waterside area to be honest... BBC or no BBC...
Let's be honest here, Cardiff is a city of roughly 350,000 people with only one FTSE 500 company. Manchester is about triple the size with bigger companies and two of the biggest clubs in football. Cardiff needs to attract far more private investment. Hopefully, legal and General will locate their head office here and that could be the start, but this is pie in the sky after all
I found Manchester to have very few refuges from traffic, be it car or tram or whatever. The noise and dirt from the traffic seemed inescapable no matter where you were in the city center, something Cardiff is largely free of, and maybe why a lot of people don't think Cardiff has that 'big city' feel. Spinningfields maybe isnt an ugly area, but it really didn't leave me with a good impression, maybe because it was winter or maybe i just didn't see the best sides of it, but it had quite an anodyne modern feel with no local character or connection to areas around it.
Dont get me wrong, i think Manchester is a great city and there are some fantastic development that Cardiff could only dream of, but it isnt a model city i would like Cardiff to follow
The two cities have very different dynamics that is for sure. Whereas Cardiff has a lot of pedestrianised areas M/cr has few - notably st annes square, piccadilly gardens (although itself in the middle of the bus station), shambles square and the triangle. Bearing in mind M/cr is about ten times the size of Cardiff's city centre, its not a great deal of space to get away from the hustle and bustle. On that score Cardiff trumps it.
i would say though that for a city centre of a city of population of 500k and metro population of 2.5m, M/cr is proportinately a much larger more dense city centre. There is hardly any fallow land and as such developments like Spinningfields really are constricted by topography.
both cities have their plus points, my view is that we need to look towards cities like M/cr and see what they do well. Sticking our head in the sand (as some on here do with alarming regularity) and pretend that Cardiff is powering ahead on equal footing with such cities as M/cr is only going to make our problem worse. To give you an idea, 1 St Peters Square is a speculative office development of around 350,000 sqft. KPMG have taken up 70,000 sqft - enough office space for 700 consultants. given that the likes of KPMG have their consultants/advisors out in the field rather than in the office, the size of office and the number of employees they will be actually have their will probably be double. KPMG have one floor of 3 Assembly Square with about 30 people in it. That to me speaks volumes for our ability to attract business - the top consultants and accountants go where the money is. They just don't see Cardiff as having any real potential.
there are some donuts who see Cardiff as being a rich city. i really can't understand why. Cardiff can be a great place to live, but in terms of wealth creation and career opportunities it sadly falls far behind (and we are the powerhouse for Wales).
back to Admiral...
Jantra, Manchester is a favourite city of mine and a favoured city in the North West. It has some wonderful Victorian architecture and a big city feel. But this is a city centre dealing with services not just to the metropolitan area of 2.5M people but the whole of the North-West of England, Cheshire and North Wales, a catchment area of some 7-8 million people.
Cardiff cannot compete with that economy of scale and is a victim of its late development, the last victorian industrial city. This is in part the reason that companies, such as the Co-op are not based in the city. But as you allude to it does have some advantages in its feel, the green spaces and in particular it does not have the ring of deprivation that surrounds Manchester city centre (I know of a friend who has been carjacked and a relative who was daft enough to live in Fallowfield)
To have a chance to grab a share of future economic success Cardiff has to improve its connectivity, plan a urban enviroment worthy of its Edwardian heritage, and find a route to fund people with ideas. Henry Engelhardt was hooked by a financial sweetner, it is not impossible to replicate this.
Manchester isn't the only city in the north west of England - don't forget that there is also Liverpool just down the road. That city has also been transformed with big new hotels, arenas, museums and high rises also!
Not so sure. I've been to both recently and I would say that Liverpool is a lot more developed in both the city centre and the docks than I had otherwise realised. I'd say Liverpool is to Manchester what Belfast is to Cardiff.
After visiting Liverpool in May i would say the latter is more comparable, Liverpool is seeing quite a boom in development, and is a much prettier and livable city than Manchester.
Any new photos of the Admiral building?
I thought this was an Admiral HQ progress photos thread? Can somebody please tell me what this is now located under so i can have a look, thanks.
Economically I think Greater Manchester has performed better than Merseyside in recent years, though there are other considerations of course. Liverpool I think has more listed buildings than any city outside London. There's a good deal to recommend it.
There is quite a lot of glass in place on the lower two floors now, set back from the outer perimeter of the building. Just enough to give the first sense of the finished thing.
The framework for the highest point is now in place.
any new pics of the admiral building, its been a month now since we've seen any new images of the build.
Hi Andrew - I'm going into town now - so check later
Here's a photo looking from Bute Terrace ...
Does anyone else feel underwhelmed by it? I'll save final judgement until it is finished but it looks too boxy to be a tower and I think it's not grand enough for cardiffs most successful company
thanks Paul for the new images, it has changed a lot since the last update, still feels like a long way to go till completion.
I agree with both of you.
I'm not going to turn this into a rant about heigh, but it does feel a bit boxy, and might look considerably better if there were a couple of more metres on top of it.
At the same time, I'm sure that this is the best that Admiral can afford, or is willing to spend, and in the current era that we're living in, with a sluggish economy and what not, it does seem that this is as good as it gets.
Quite simply, its more expensive to build taller, and more expensive to occupy tall buildings. In the first case, a taller building has a lower ratio of net (usable) space to gross space because more is taken up by the lifts, stairs, and core structural features of the building. In addition, occupiers like to have toilets, kitchens, small meeting rooms etc on each floor so more space is taken up here as well. In terms of occupation costs, employers favour large open floor plates now as it means you can have more flexibility of space, and can sometimes get away with fewer supervisory staff.
It does look boxy but that in itself isn't a problem for me. A lot of new office buildings in London are quite boxy rather than tall. What matters is the quality of the finished materials. I was quite impressed with its under-statedness. Very Admiral.
I seem to remember that when Admiral went out to tender the company specifically said that it didn't want a "statement building". Presumably they thought that anything flash wouldn't suit the brand.
If tall buildings are so impractical then why on earth are so many insurance, financial and legal firms queuing up to move into all these flashy glass plated London skyscrapers at rental rates which are thrice the square footage that you'd pay out here in the sticks? Why aren't they moving into the 'boxy' London developments instead?
As Cardiff's once in a lifetime major office development (I'll be well into my eighties by the time that we get the next one built here if past rates of construction continue into the future), I'm ultimately disappointed by both the location and the the size of the building. We don't get a.. ahem..lot of mid rise office development down here, so when we do (every 40 years) some of us understandably get a little over excited, as we did in this case what with Admiral being a home grown FTSE 100 constituent.
IMO, twas an unforgivable mistake for our authorities to not entice them to Callaghan Square/Cardiff Central/wherever it's supposed to be as anchor tenant for the 'financial services enterprise zone'. A building of this height would have suited that area far more than where it has been built.Perhaps the authorities were too busy 'working in partnership' with each other to actually see the bigger picture. Who knows.
Whilst on that topic, anyone know how the financial services enterprise zone that is progressing?
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