Work will start later this month on the construction of a new corporate headquarters for insurance giant Zurich in Swindon.
The £37 million construction contract was signed today with Skanska. The firm hopes to complete the six-storey, 9,300 square metre office – housing 950 staff – by 2022.
The sustainable building – which will become the main tenant of the new Kimmerfields development – is expected to achieve a BREEAM rating of Excellent.
It will have a rooftop terrace with a beehive to increase biodiversity and the firm hopes to produce honey to raise money for its community trust.
The building will be bought by Swindon Borough Council and leased back to the insurance company who will provide the Council with a rental income for the next 20 years on the majority of the building.
Zurich UK's chief operating officer John Keppel said: "Swindon has been home to Zurich for over 30 years and we’re pleased to be playing our part in the regeneration of the town centre.
Councillor Dale Heenan, Swindon Borough Council’s cabinet member for the town centre, said: “The new building, which secures Zurich’s future in Swindon and allows them to expand, is the first new office development in 20 years in the town centre.
“It is the first piece of the jigsaw. The council and Zurich have entered into a sale and leaseback deal which is a tried and tested approach and the first time we have done it on a new construction project as a council.
"Only when construction has finished in two years’ time, and Zurich employees have moved in, will the council purchase the building and lease it back to the company for an annual rent.
"At no cost to taxpayers, with the minimum of risk, it is a commercial deal, based on professional expert advice, that we should explore more often.
“I remain optimistic Swindon will secure £25 million of government funding in October, which will transform Fleming way and the bus station and become the second piece of the jigsaw next to the new Zurich offices.
"And as soon as we can, the grand plan for the remainder of the Kimmerfields site will be published so that residents, businesses and investors see how construction will visibly transform our town centre for the better over the next eight to 10 years.”