ICI to relocate from Millbank premises: Demerger prompts sale of headquarters after 65-year occupation

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THE change in culture at Imperial Chemical Industries, the chemicals giant, following its demerger was underlined yesterday when the group confirmed it is to move out of the prestige office block it has occupied for 65 years, writes Heather Connon.

The group has already shown several interested parties round the building, although it will not be officially marketed until next year. 'We are not going to move unless we can get a proper commercial deal,' a spokesman said.

Zeneca, the pharmaceuticals and agrochemicals business spun off from ICI in June, has already moved its staff to a new head office in Mayfair, and ICI intends to reduce the number of employees at its headquarters from 250 to between 125 and 150, a third of the capacity of the Millbank building.

ICI had already reduced the space it occupies at Millbank, which was built for the group when it was created by the merger of four chemical companies in 1926. Nobel House, next to the ICI headquarters, is already let to the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, as is much of Ergon House, just round the corner. It is likely that ICI will sell the freehold of the whole site.

ICI's headquarters were refurbished between 1985 and 1988, but many of the art deco features were retained. The attractions include a central atrium with custom-made carpet and works of art - all of which may have to find a home in a new office.

(Photograph omitted)