This new digest has been prepared on behalf of London Property Alliance by Concilio communications consultancy as part of a service agreement to provide information for our members.
Property Week reports that Life Science REIT has completed the £85m acquisition of 7-11 Herbrand Street, an Art Deco building close to University College Hospital and University College London in London’s Knowledge Quarter. The deal was struck in cash and reflects a net initial yield of 4.42%. The entire building, in area of London that includes Bloomsbury, King’s Cross and St Pancras, is currently let to fintech company Thought Machine until October 2026. The property totals a net internal area of 67,097 sq ft of office space over four floors with a partial basement, and, Life Science believes it “represents an ideal opportunity for development as a major life science asset”. Life Science REIT has now deployed more than £262m since its IPO, representing around 75% of the net proceeds raised at its IPO last November.
My London reports that Camden Labour has seen a resounding victory in this year’s local elections, including taking its first seat in Hampstead for the very first time. The Labour Party won 47 seats, though the Liberal Democrats won three in Belsize Park and one in Fortune Green. As for the Conservative Party, they took two seats in Frognal and one in Hampstead Town, though they previously held seven. The Camden Tories also lost their former Borough Council leader Oliver Cooper after seven years in the role, along with three other councillors. The sole Green Party councillor Sian Berry also successfully held her Highgate seat. One of the biggest surprises in Camden this year was Hampstead Town, where Adrian Cohen was elected as the first-ever Labour councillor in history, alongside the re-elected Conservative Stephen Stark.
City of London
Property Week reports that International law firm HFW has chosen 8 Bishopsgate as its new London office. The firm said today that next year it will move from its existing London HQ at Friary Court to 62,000 sq ft of space at 8 Bishopsgate, spanning three floors. The building is owned by Mitsubishi and is being developed by Stanhope. According to HFW, the building is the UK’s most sustainable speculative office tower, targeting BREEAM ‘Outstanding’ and EPC ‘A’ ratings. It features smart floor-by-floor air provision that is filtered and controlled locally, providing occupiers with complete control of their air quality within their own parts of the building. Jeremy Shebson, HFW managing partner, said: “We are very excited to be moving to one of London’s best and most sustainable new developments. We truly believe this will be transformational for HFW in London, giving us modern, agile and progressive space, while being flexible so that we can continue to adapt to the changing needs of our people and our clients. This includes giving us room to continue to grow in London, which is very much the plan.”
Property Week reports that Taylor Wimpey is preparing to demolish a half-built development of 148 flats in east London upon the discovery of a potential structural issue, reports suggest. According to a Construction Enquirer (CE) report, work was halted last year on The Factory scheme in Hackney Wick when the issue within the building’s concrete frame was found. The £48m mixed-use scheme was granted planning permission in 2019 and is located close to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. A Taylor Wimpey spokesperson told CE: “Following the discovery of a potential structural issue, identified as part of a routine check during the early stages of construction at our development in Monier Road, Hackney Wick, we have taken the decision to demolish the existing concrete structures and rebuild.
Hackney Gazette reports that The Greens are celebrating gaining two seats from Labour in hotly contested wards. As predicted, Labour held control of Hackney with 50 seats, but a delighted Green Party is celebrating the elections of Zoë Garbett in Dalston and Alastair Binnie-Lubbock in Hackney Downs. The pair vowed to push the council to act faster on the climate emergency. Labour has always controlled Hackney since it became a borough council in 1965. However, the Greens were determined to build on their 2018 showing, when they narrowly failed to gain a seat in Dalston by 21 votes and lost out in Hackney Downs by 90 votes. Garbett, who also finished second in this this year’s mayoral race, said she was determined to hold the council to account on the climate emergency.
Property Week reports that Consultancy firm Dalberg Advisors has signed for 3,200 sq ft at Cordy House, 87-95 Curtain Road in Shoreditch, east London. The firm has agreed a five-year lease for the fifth-floor offices with building owner Aitch Group. The ‘plug and play’ space is fully fitted to include 30 workstations, three meeting rooms, kitchen and break-out space. Cordy House is in the centre of Shoreditch and was designed by Arcademy Architects. Aitch Group was advised by Strettons, BELCOR and Situu. The Workplace Company was the agent for Dalberg Advisors.
Hammersmith & Fulham
Property Week reports that A two-acre London College of Fashion university campus in Shepherds Bush, west London has been put up for sale with a price tag of £42.5m. Allsop is marketing the freehold for 40 Lime Grove, which offers 104,321 sq ft of accommodation across four blocks featuring lecture theatres, auditorium space, seminar rooms, design studios and offices. The site is part of the University of Arts London (UAL), but with the university consolidating all of the London College of Fashion’s campuses into one site in Stratford, the Shepherds Bush site will be vacant by the end of 2023. Allsop partner Nick Pemberton said: “This is an exceptional opportunity for UK and international investors to acquire a two-acre site in central London where two-thirds of the built space has circa four metre ceiling heights.” He added: “40 Lime Grove is likely to attract bids from international schools and universities keen to benefit from the UK capital’s outstanding academic credentials and student market, as well as other possible uses that may include the growing life sciences sector.”
My London reports that the Labour Party has easily won Hammersmith and Fulham Council again and has extended its hold over the local authority. The Conservatives lost one seat and the Labour party now has 40 seats. The Conservatives were unable to improve on their 2018 result after a muted campaign. Across the borough, a total of 146 candidates battled it out for 50 seats across 21 wards. The Conservatives had put forward candidates in every seat while there were also 36 Liberal Democrat candidates, eight Green candidates, one Independent and one Social Democrat standing for office however the council is made up exclusively of Labour and Tory councillors after Thursday’s vote. Labour councillors looked relaxed and quietly confident on the night as ward after ward was revealed to be in their favour. The Conservatives secured 10 seats and were able to keep Fulham Town, Parson’s Green and Walham, Shepherd’s Bush Green, and Munster wards blue but the rest of the borough remained firmly red.
Kensington & Chelsea
Property Week reports that A consortium led by LA Dodgers part-owner Todd Boehly has signed an agreement to take over Chelsea FC from Roman Abramovich in a £4.25bn deal. The consortium comprises Boehly, Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss and London property tycoon Jonathan Goldstein, chief executive of Cain International. US private equity firm Clearlake Capital will own the majority of the shares. The new owners have now said they will invest in the redevelopment of Stamford Bridge. Over the weekend, the group beat off competition from other consortiums led by Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Sir Martin Broughton. The deal will now be subject to approval from the UK government and the Premier League. Chelsea has until the end of May to find a new bidder after the authorities gave the football club a special licence to operate, which ends on 31 May. Boehly had previously tried to buy the football club for £2.2bn in 2019, but the offer was rejected.
My London reports that The Conservative Party has tightened its grip on Kensington and Chelsea Council by winning 35 seats at the Local Election. Despite Labour making huge gains in neighbouring councils the conservatives still have a tight grip over Kensington and Chelsea Council with Labour unable to improve on their 2018 result. The opposition party still has 13 seats with a second Liberal Democrat councillor also being elected. Across the borough, a total of 146 candidates battled it out for 50 seats across 18 wards. The Conservatives and Labour had both put forward 50 candidates while there were also 39 Liberal Democrat candidates, four Green candidates, and three Independents. Tory councillor Johnny Thalassites, in charge of planning, said: “On a mixed night for London Conservatives, I am proud our team has been re-elected in Holland ward with an increased Conservative vote share.
Evening Standard reports on a rare flat for sale in famous Earls Court mansion where Diana lived before marrying Prince Charles. The £3.15 million apartment in Coleherne Court is available for the first time in 30 years. An Earls Court apartment with a royal past has gone on sale for the first time in 30 years. The £3.15 million apartment on Old Brompton Road is in the same Edwardian mansion block that Princess Diana once called home. An English Heritage Blue Plaque to ‘Lady Diana Spencer later Princess of Wales’ now adorns the red-brick exterior. The ‘People’s Princess’ lived in Flat 60 of Coleherne Court from July 1979 until the night before her engagement to Prince Charles was announced in February 1981, at which point she moved into Clarence House, swiftly followed by Buckingham Palace.
Property Week reports that Housing secretary Michael Gove has issued a notice pausing the demolition of the former ITV Studios on London’s South Bank. The existing building at 72 Upper Ground was due to be demolished as part of a major redevelopment of the site by Lendlease. However, Gove has issued an Article 31 notice while the government considers whether the development should be ‘called-in’. The scheme has proven controversial locally, with some opponents calling it “a swollen deformity”. In February 2021, Mitsubishi Architects and CO-RE revealed plans for the site, which comprised a 26-storey office building connected to two further buildings of six and 13 storeys. The new building was awarded planning consent at the end of March by Lambeth Council despite strong local opposition. In a statement, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities said: “The secretary of state has issued an Article 31 direction pausing the application to demolish the former ITV Studios while ministers consider whether it should be ‘called-in’. Before ministers will consider whether to call in or not, Lambeth council will refer the application to the Greater London Authority.”
Evening Standard reports that Labour has retained control of Lambeth council. Labour has held a majority in Lambeth since 2006 and increased it seat share by two, to five. The Conservatives lost their two seats, while the Lib Dems won three and the Green won two – a lost of three. One issue that could be a significant factor in this year’s local elections in Lambeth is both the quality and quantity of affordable housing in the borough. Labour-run Lambeth Council has become a regular target for social housing activist Kwajo Tweneboa, who exposes poor and unsafe social housing conditions to his 45,000 Twitter followers and television audiences nationally. There have been widespread reports of damp, mould and other unsafe conditions including lead-poisoned water at residential buildings across the borough, while the council has been accused of failing to act.
London News Online reports that Labour has swept to election victory in Southwark, picking up three seats from the Lib Dems. The party gained three councillors in the London Bridge and West Bermondsey ward, tightening its grip on the council. Labour councillors won 52 of the 63 seats up for grabs across the borough – a better result than at the last local election in 2018 when it picked up 49. The Lib Dems saw their number of councillors cut from 14 to 11, but the party held on to closely-fought seats in Surrey Docks and St George’s wards. Emily Hickson, one of the newly-elected Labour councillors for London Bridge and West Bermondsey, said the victory was the result of hard work by Southwark Labour. In a statement posted on Twitter, she said: “We did it! A result which is testament to all of @SouthwarkLabour. “Here is to the next four years working hard for the people of London Bridge and West Bermondsey. Now heading home for some sleep.” Victor Chamberlain, who was re-elected as Lib Dem councillor for Borough and Bankside, thanked residents for picking him at the ballot box.
Property Week reports that Developer JTRE London has agreed 25,000 sq ft worth of office lettings at its £400m mixed-use Triptych Bankside development on the South Bank in central London, Property Week can reveal. The commercial building at One Triptych Place will soon welcome several new tenants, including UK-based coffee company 92 Degrees, which has signed a 10-year lease across 2,200 sq ft as its first London location. The UK arm of international developer JTRE is also taking 4,000 sq ft of space on the fourth floor for its UK HQ, adding to its offices in Bratislava and Prague. Additionally, the top two floors – which span 5,750 sq ft of space each – have been let on a 10-year deal to a large corporation, while the 6,425 sq ft seventh floor has been leased to a corporate occupier on a 10-year lease. The £400m-GDV scheme is made up of three towers, with 169 luxury apartments in two blocks, office space in a third and 9,900 sq ft of retail space.
Property Week reports that Vistry Partnerships has secured a £128m contract from LGIM Real Assets (Legal & General) to construct 480 new homes on a former Homebase site in Wandsworth, south-west London. Constructed over five new buildings and designed by architect firm Hawkins Brown, the development will also create more than 15,000 sq ft of mixed-use space, with retail, office and community uses. The Homebase site extends the platform of work between Vistry Partnerships and Legal & General and is the third English scheme delivered by Vistry for Legal & General. Construction has started on site and is scheduled for completion in Spring 2024. The proposals have been designed to support Legal & General’s New Acres, Wandsworth masterplan and the sites comprise one of Legal & General’s five BTR schemes in London that will deliver more than 1,000 homes.
The Telegraph reports that Tories turned leaflets green in Wandsworth but could not avoid the spectre of ‘partygate’. The symbolic loss in Wandsworth is a sign of the Tories’ shrinking relevance in the capital and growing anger over Boris Johnson. It was an election in which the Conservatives did all they could to distance themselves from Westminster. Leaflets were printed in green not blue and candidates appeared on the ballot as “local Conservatives”. Yet in the end, none of it was not enough. Wandsworth Council was once Margaret Thatcher’s “favourite council”, its leafy south London streets in Battersea and Putney emblematic of a kind of urban, wealthy Conservative voter that now appears to be on the endangered species list. A detailed breakdown of voting patterns will have to wait, but this appears to have been yet more evidence of the Tories’ shrinking relevance in the capital.
Property Week reports that Capital & Counties Properties and Shaftesbury are in advanced talks on a £3.5bn merger that would bring such London tourist destinations as Covent Garden and Soho into a single West End property giant. The move comes after two years of speculation around such a deal following Capco’s deal to take a 26.3% stake in Shaftesbury, after paying Hong Kong tycoon Samuel Tak Lee £436m for his position in the company. Shaftesbury would own 53% and Capco shareholders the remainder in a deal structured as an acquisition of Shaftesbury by Capco. The companies said the merger would create a REIT with a portfolio of 2.9m sq ft “in high-profile destinations including Covent Garden, Carnaby, Chinatown and Soho”. Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, a shareholder in both firms, has given its support for the merger. The merged company would be led by Capco boss Ian Hawksworth and chaired by Jonathan Nicholls, chair of Shaftesbury, the companies said.
Property Week reports that Property developers 1.61 London and Urbanwise Developments have partnered with investment firm Valpre Capital to create a boutique collection of ‘super-prime’ homes in Mayfair, London, with a GDV of £40m. The new multi-unit residential development – named Three Kings Yard – is located opposite Claridge’s and will feature one- to three-bedroom apartments and duplex penthouses, with private terraces, a communal gym and a porter service. Construction will begin shortly with an estimated completion in Q3 of 2023. Alex and Michael Christou, founders of 1.61 London, said: “We have dedicated ourselves to delivering a truly exceptional experience for our clients with the highest levels of design, craftmanship and service. “We are incredibly excited to be working alongside our partners Urbanwise with their wealth of construction expertise and Valpre Capital, who bring deep financial experience and investment capabilities to the JV.”
Evening Standard reports that Labour has won Westminster after taking all three Hyde Park council seats, and all three seats in the Bayswater ward. A traditional Tory stronghold, Westminster had never been under the control of another party. Labour won 31 seats, gaining 12 from the election in 2018, while the Conservatives won 23, 18 fewer seats than four years ago. Westminster’s Labour leader Adam Hug tweeted: “The residents of Westminster have put their faith in Labour to lead the council. It is an honour and a privilege. “We will work every day to build a fairer Westminster.” Ahead of the 2022 local elections, Conservative peer and political analyst Lord Robert Hayward suggested that Westminster was one of four Conservative strongholds in London that was at risk of being won by Labour in the wake of the partygate scandal. Labour will also be hoping to capitalise on the Marble Arch mound fiasco which drew widespread derision and made national and international headlines.
Property Week reports that Legal & General Investment Management Real Assets (LGIM Real Assets) has sold all the properties held by Bishopsgate Property Fund on behalf of the joint venture partnership with PGGM and Legal & General Capital. In the second half of 2021, LGIM Real Assets sold 11 assets across all sectors in London and Brighton to individual purchasers for a combined sales value of £169.5m. The properties included 101 St Martin’s Lane in London, Selco in Walthamstow, 95-97 High Street in Clapham and I-Scene in Ilford. The joint venture initially acquired the 24-asset portfolio in 2014 for £360m and following the final disposal, the sale values for all properties in the portfolio was £474m. LGIM Real Asset’s asset management of the portfolio resulted in the completion of 65 new lettings, 13 lease renewals, 20 lease re-gears, 19 reversionary rent reviews and 11 dilapidations settlements. A total of 128 value accretive asset management initiatives created approximately £57m of added value.
Property Week reports that Central London office take-up totalled 2.19m sq ft in Q1 2022, up 69% on the figure for Q1 2021, according to data published by Cushman & Wakefield. The legal sector was the most active, accounting for 19% of total volumes during the quarter, bolstered by Hogan Lovells’ pre-let of 266,000 sq ft at 18-20 Holborn Viaduct. The media & technology sector accounted for 17% of leasing volumes, with banking & finance accounting for 16%, as did professional services. While around 752,000 sq ft of the overall activity was in the West End – where no transactions over 50,000 sq ft occurred – the City recorded 1.3m sq ft leased during the quarter, its highest Q1 figure since 2018, including four lettings over 50,000 sq ft. Overall, Central London take-up was 4% above the five-year Q1 average. Cushman & Wakefield said robust leasing activity resulted in a reduction in supply and overall vacancy rates – which peaked at 8.27% in Q4 2021, the highest level since 2004 – to 8.18%, equating to 23.2m sq ft.
Property Week reports that Chinese developer R&F is looking to refinance its last Nine Elms scheme as it continues to sell its property holdings in London, Property Week understands. The struggling developer plans to revitalise its £900m One Nine Elms development in Battersea – the largest of its Nine Elms projects, comprising 494 apartments, a Park Hyatt hotel across two high-rise towers – through the refinancing. In January, Construction News reported that all work had been suspended due to failure of a payment to contractor Multiplex, but though work has resumed, industry sources told Property Week R&F expected to be fully back on site within the next two months if a deal is agreed. “I get the feeling that they’ve divested sufficient amounts of money to correct their position,” one source said. “They’ve got rid of the two thirds of the sites, so I would think that they’ll keep the final third.” Last week, R&F was reported to have made a £187m loss on the sale of its Thames City scheme in Nine Elms to joint venture partner CC Land Holdings. In March, R&F sold mixed-use scheme Vauxhall Square to the Far East Consortium for £95.7m.