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FT in unwanted Bankside office crisis

Financial Times owner Pearson may be forced to sublet the prestigious Bankside riverfront building once earmarked for its internet operation at a vastly reduced rent.

The lease for Riverside House, the distinctive building with the bulging frontage just to the west of Southwark Bridge, was secured by Pearson in 2000, before completion of the development, at an estimated 37 per square foot to provide growing room for FT.com as well as other FT businesses.

The 160,000 square foot office block is opposite the familiar FT headquarters building at 1 Southwark Bridge is now surplus to requirements following the scaling back of FT.com and other online ventures.

Agents Cushman Wakefield, Healey & Baker last week launched it on the open market.

An FT spokeswoman admitted that the company has shed 300 in the past year: 'We are not going to occupy it because the business structure has changed. We've integrated FT.com into the Financial Times and everyone can now fit into our main building on Southwark Bridge.'

At 37 per square foot, the annual rent for Riverside House is just short of 6m. Newspaper reports suggest that Pearson may have to accept much less than that to find an occupier.

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