HSBC to move into new office complex at Geneva airport

Posted on 14 March 2009 by Mr Bureau

In Geneva, HSBC will be moving over 1000 of its employees to a new business center in Blandonnet near the Geneva Cointrin Airport, a new office complex which is expected to become an important concentration of jobs in the canton of Geneva.

Already several top brand name companies have set up offices there, among them Ralph Lauren, IBM, L’Oréal, and the TCS. HSBC will begin the big move next year. HSBC will thus be regrouping a total of 1300 jobs in the new complex. HSBC employs more than 2000 staff in Switzerland, of which approximately 1550 are located in Geneva.

One of the directors of HSBC Switzerland, Claude Brodard, remarked that every year, HSBC Switzerland has added between 150 and 200 new professional jobs. In 2008, which was a bad year for most, HSBC Switzerland grew by 17% over 2007.

HSBC Bank Switzerland to move in 2010Currently HSBC is spread out over 12 different sites in Geneva: there are 530 employees in the offices on rue de Lausanne, 210 more in the HSBC building on rue Montbrillant, 160 additional employees in the stately offices on quai General Guisan which look out over the lake, another 160 jobs are in the rue des Noirettes complex which also houses UBS, still another 140 jobs are located in the premises on quai Wilson on the Eaux Vives side of the lake, 130 workers are in other ‘main offices’ at rue Alfred Vincent, and finally another 300 employees are dispersed over offices at rue de la Synagogue, place Longemalle, quai Mont Blanc, rue du Rhone, and rue de la Navigation.

Pictet Bank had a similar problem years ago, which it solved by building a huge office complex in Acacias. Mirabaud also consolidated, regrouping all its jobs in one premises one Plainpalais.

Evidently, HSBC’s decision to move over a 1000 jobs to the new Blandonnet center near the airport has overjoyed the developers RI Realim, who had considerable difficulties filling it. The 30,000 square meter center is now headquarters for companies like Gillete, Procter & Gamble, Verisign, Bacardi, and some NGO’s.

The third building of the center – the one in which HSBC will move – has not yet been completed. Already 75% rented by its agent SPG Intercity, the new building housing HSBC will also be home to L’Oréal, which is regrouping 200 jobs there. Transocean – the American oil drilling firm—will be settling its career professional in the same building.

The new office center will house a total of 4500 workers, meaning Blandonnet will extend over more than 85,000 square meters. The center is putatively equipped with high tech cabling infrastructure, as well as modern central heating and ventilation, which means windows that don’t open.

Apparently HSBC HQ in London carefully studied the proposal, worried over the proximity of the huge oil storage drums nearby, one of which exploded in 2005, but they concluded that there was no danger. Beginning in mid 2010, HSBC’s staff will move to the new premises, which can accommodate up to 1270 employees. The Bank is said to have paid between CHF 500-600 the square meter for the new office space, which means a yearly rental price of roughly CHF 10 million, a lot of money for offices with windows you can’t open. The Bank expects to economize at least 10% in comparison with current costs attendant on 12 dispersed office locations.

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