A weekly round up of the latest planning and property news from the central London boroughs
Architects journal reports that PLP Architects has revealed designs for a major new office scheme next to Holborn Viaduct in the City of London. The scheme, for developer Royal London Asset Management, involves redeveloping buildings by the Grade II-listed cast-iron viaduct and the gatehouses which provide access to Farringdon Street below. The project involves the demolition of tp bennett’s 1970s Kimberley House and a pair of Portland stone office buildings dating from 1921-22. The scheme introduces entrances at two levels – one on Farringdon Street and another at the Holborn Viaduct level – and would create a new public route and a lift to improve connectivity.
Property Week reports that flexible workspace provider TOG has doubled its space in The Gridiron Building, to become the sole office occupier in the Pancras Square scheme in London. TOG will lease floors one to four, taking its total space to over 55,000 sq ft, an increase of 28,300 sq ft. It expects to open the extended work space in July 2022 following refurbishment of the four newly acquired floors and its existing 8th floor. This expansion builds on TOG’s existing platform adds to its presence in King’s Cross area, where it already operates four buildings.
City of London
Property Week reports that plans for a 49-storey, 200,000 sq ft office scheme on Bury Street in the City of London have been rejected following claims that the building would disrupt services at Bevis Marks, the UK’s oldest synagogue. Campaigners have also taken issue with a second scheme by Merchant Land, which is seeking to build a 19-storey, 104,000 sq ft office scheme at 33 Creechurch Lane. The fate of its planning application has yet to be decided. Rabbi Shalom Morris told the BBC the proposed schemes threatened the “very survival of our great synagogue as a place of worship”. He added: “Not only will light be blocked, on which the building depends for ambience, spirituality, and atmosphere, but the very foundations will be at risk.”
Property Week reports that a joint venture between Great Portland Estates and Ropemaker Properties has sold 160 Old Street, in the City of London for £181.5m. The Great Ropemaker Partnership (GRP) JV sold the office scheme to a fund advised by JP Morgan Global Alternatives, and the deal reflects a 5% premium to the March 2021 valuation. The building was refurbished by GRP in 2018 and offers 166,300 sq ft of office space arranged over lower ground, ground and eight upper floors. The space is 70% let to Turner Broadcasting until 2034. The balance of the office and retail space is let to a variety of occupiers including Robert Bosch, Pusher and Sensat Surveying, together with a small amount of vacant space and some near-term asset management opportunities.
Islington Gazette reports that A hostel supporting 30 single homeless people off the streets will open in Finsbury Park, despite concerns of residents who say the area suffers from antisocial behaviour. Residents delivered a 265-signature petition calling for a rethink to full council last month. They said they support work to help the homeless but the scheme was not suitable on the estate of 300 homes and suggested a smaller scheme. The scheme was given planning permission and will be asked to contribute to improvements at the park to tackle crime and to have regular contact with Islington Village residents.
Architects Journal reports that two post-war blocks, the ‘sophisticated’ 1957 Canterbury House flats and the neighbouring 1964 Stangate House, are to be flattened under AHMM-led plans for a major mixed-use development on a 2.2ha site behind St Thomas’ Hospital in London’s Southbank. The massive proposals for developer Stanhope and site owner Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust feature four new buildings, a major refurbishment of an existing block and the revamp of railways, designed by a number of top-name architects. The scheme is backed by US hedge fund Baupost Group, and early proposals includes office blocks focused on medical technology (MedTech) with lab-enabled floors, affordable workspace underneath the existing railway tracks, 130 homes, cafés, shops and new public space.
Architects Journal reports that Fraser Brown MacKenna Architects (FBM) and Weston Williamson + Partners have been given planning permission for council home schemes in Southwark, south London. Weston Williamson’s elements will see an arts centre at Rodney Place, by Elephant and Caste, demolished and replaced by a four-storey mixed-use building on a 0.038ha site. The new building will provide 236m2 ground floor space, which can be used for community events, as well as eight council plats with one to three bedrooms. Meanwhile, designs by FBM will see unused land in Lomond Grove in Camberwell redeveloped to create 22 council flats across a part-four, part-five storey building. Planners at Southwark Council recommended both schemes, which are being brought forward by the borough, for approval.
Construction Enquirer reports that the Salvation Army has confirmed McLaren Construction as the main contractor on its new 55,000 sq ft territorial headquarters in Southwark, London. The Breeam Excellent building will be located at the William Booth Training College site in Denmark Hill, Southwark – an underutilised part of the Salvation Army’s existing campus. The HQ varies between five and six storeys and includes open-plan office space, designed to be flexible and support smart working, arranged around an atrium. It will accommodate up to 450 employees and Salvation Army officers. Additional Facilities within the headquarters include a series of multi-function rooms, recording studios, an editing suite and a café open to the public. A landscaped terrace at the southern end of the site will provide a private space and retreat for staff to enjoy.
Construction Enquirer reports that Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust has decided to go out to competitive tender for its new landmark Evelina London Children’s Hospital extension. The planned 290,000 sq ft hospital building, designed by Hawkins\Brown Architects and Bouygues-owned developer Linkcity, has just received planning. Bouygues UK which had a preconstruction team on the project had been widely expected to follow on with a main construction contract but the Trust has now decided to go out to competitve tender. The proposed 12-storey building, which will be sited behind Lambeth Palace on the opposite side of the Thames to the Houses of Parliament, will be joined to the existing, award-winning children’s hospital which opened in 2005.
Property week reports that Battersea Power Station has secured leasing deals with 14 brands at its new retail destination, which will open to the public in 2022. The Battersea Power Station project covers 42 acres and includes 3.5m sq ft of mixed commercial space and 4,239 new homes. Luxury retailers Ray-Ban, Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, The Kooples, Aēsop and Calvin Klein are among the line-up of brands opening at the grade-II listed building. A 25,000 sq ft food hall offering an “all-day dining experience” will also open in the Boiler House in the centre of the venue.
Westminster City Council has unveiled new and upcycled vehicles which will make street cleansing services in the West End fully electric for the first time. The new electric fleet will be one of the largest operated by a waste and street cleansing contract in any local authority in the UK. It will allow an 89% reduction of CO2e emissions compared to a diesel fleet, in line with Westminster City Council’s carbon net zero by 2040 plans
Construction Enquirer reports that developers behind the 105 Victoria Street scheme have committed to go ahead with the largest speculative office project to come forward in London since the pandemic. Welput, the specialist central London office fund managed by BentallGreenOak (BGO), is now looking for a contractor for the 470,000 sq ft ultra-sustainable commercial building with a gross development value of £1bn. 105 Victoria Street will create a new kind of community-focused building in Victoria, providing over 400,000 sq ft of workspace, including 5,500 sq ft dedicated to incubator and affordable space, all designed to foster the health and wellbeing of its end users. It will also provide 30,000 sq ft of greenspace and terracing– the largest of any commercial building in the West End and equivalent to 10 double tennis courts – which will include a 200m ‘walk and talk’ track and an Urban Farm with community allotments.
Property Week reports that activity in the London office fit-out market has returned to its pre-pandemic levels, according to the latest survey by Colliers’ Cost Consultancy team. With increased leasing activity and office occupation, demand for office refurbishments or wholescale new fit-outs is back to the same level at the start of 2020, Colliers’ latest London Fit Out Market Update has found. Colin Wood, director of Cost Consultancy at Colliers said: “We’re seeing there’s plenty of reason for optimism in the market. The majority of leasing requirements are from occupiers with lease events coming up or within premises due for redevelopment. Of the leasing that has happened this year 61% has been to grade A stock, a significant increase on the ten-year average of 44%.
Property Week reports that investment in central London totalled to £2.5bn in Q3 2021, up from £1bn recorded in Q3 2020, according to data from CBRE. The Q3 figures brought year-to-date investment to £6.4bn, a 95% increase on the same period last year, when only £3.3bn of investment was recorded. Core transactions dominated the London investment market, accounting for 60% of total volumes. European investment into London was strong, with more than £1bn deployed in Q3 2021. Asian investment, which was once predominant in London, only accounted for 15% of year-to-date investment totals. James Beckham, head of central London investment at CBRE, said: “We have certainly seen a bounce back in the investment market as the year has progressed, with year-to-date volumes almost doubling from the same point last year.