The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has confirmed that its new Wolverhampton headquarters will be located in the newly-constructed i9 building in the city and that it will open to staff this summer.
Communities secretary Robert Jenrick announced in February that the West Midlands city had been chosen to host his department’s second HQ, but the precise location was not revealed.
On Friday MHCLG confirmed the i9 building, designed by Birmingham-based Glenn Howells Architects, would be its base. The building was always a strong contender. CSW reported as far back as 2018 that Wolverhampton City Council had invested in the speculatively-developed building with a view to attracting central-government jobs.
The department said its move to the city was creating at least 150 new jobs, and that some staff had already been hired while recruitment was under way for others. Jobs currently on offer include statisticians, economists and building-safety specialists. MHCLG added that “a number” of existing staff members had already taken the opportunity to have their roles reassigned to Wolverhampton.
MHCLG is taking two floors at the i9 building. The HQ will also include a space for ministers to use regularly, substantiating MHCLG’s suggestion that its new base will be a first-of-its-kind ministerial office outside of the capital.
The new HQ is not a large building, however. None of i9’s six storeys offers more than 914 sqm of floorspace, meaning MHCLG's Wolverhampton domain will be around 1,800 sqm. By contrast, HM Revenue and Customs’ One Ruskin Square hub in Croydon offers 17,000 sqm of office space. A neighbouring building currently being built for use by the Home Office is due to deliver 30,000 sqm of office space over 10 floors.
Housing secretary Robert Jenrick, who was born in Wolverhampton and was a pupil at the independent Wolverhampton Grammar School, said he was looking forward to formally opening his department’s new HQ later this year.
“This department is leading the effort to level up every corner of the country, so it is absolutely right that we bring decision-making to the heart of the communities we serve,” he said.
“I hope that this vote of confidence in Wolverhampton helps the city to attract other employees and further investment.
“We are already recruiting in Wolverhampton and over time this move will bring hundreds of jobs and exciting careers in the UK civil service to the city and the West Midlands.
“I look forward to welcoming staff to our new headquarters and as a Wulfrunian myself, will be working from the office as often as I can and enjoying the city once again.”