A weekly round up of the latest planning and property news from the central London boroughs
Property Week reports that Regal London has acquired 100 and 100a Chalk Farm Road, a vacant commercial site next to the Roundhouse, the famous live performance space in Camden Town, north London. Regal London plans to submit a planning application next year for a mix of office and residential uses including affordable housing. The first part of this process will be a community engagement programme, which it will launch this summer. Regal London co-founder Simon De Friend said: “We are so excited to be embarking upon our first truly mixed-use scheme in Camden. As a locally based business, it is a real treat to be able to breathe new life into this creative corner of Camden town. “The acquisition of 100 Chalk Farm Road is the next step in our wider regeneration mission. It provides an opportunity to deliver a really innovative scheme that will bring our customary design flair together with our drive to bring value to our neighbours and wider stakeholders.”
My London reports that Camden locals fear ‘gentrification’ as politicians are set to approve Camden’s masterplan for the £565m redevelopment of a 1960s estate – but some people fear it could lead to gentrification. The work would see the blocks on the West Kentish Town estate demolished and replaced with 885 homes, including 276 council homes and new shops at Queen’s Crescent. The estate currently has 316 homes in three and four storey blocks. The masterplan is now set to be approved by Camden Council’s Cabinet. The council aims to provide a minimum of 40 per cent affordable homes on the revamped estate “with an aspiration for more”. This is lower than the Mayor of London’s target of 50 per cent. The scheme is currently forecasting a deficit of £11.72 million, due to inflationary impact on the construction market. The work will be done in eight phases over 16 years, and the first bulldozers are likely to be on site in November 2023, with the last home completed by October 2039. Some residents will be moved to homes which are being built at Maitland Park in the meantime. The council pledged that no one would have to move from Camden during the work and they will get priority for the new homes.
City of London
Property Week reports that KanAm Grund Group has secured planning consent from the City of London for its first redevelopment project, at Princes Court in London. The German investor acquired the 1960s office building at 7 Princes Street, directly opposite the Bank of England and next to luxury hotel The Ned and Grocer’s Hall, in early 2019. KanAm Grund Group said the building will be “redeveloped to the highest sustainability standards; with numerous amenities on offer to future occupiers”. Olivier Catusse, managing partner of KanAm Grund Group, said: “We have made a deliberate strategic change within the organisation in the past 18 months and strengthened our development team throughout Europe to not only acquire and manage high-quality real estate for our investors, but also to participate in its creation – in this case, through redevelopment. “We will soon start on the project, which reflects exactly what we have set as our corporate goal: to offer sustainable real estate with attractive and long-term performance prospects for our investors.” KanAm Grund Group added: “Future occupiers can expect high-quality spaces with the highest sustainability standards in a prestigious prime location. “The proposal, developed in close collaboration with development manager Morgan Capital and designed by architects Aukett Swanke, takes the original 1960s building back to its frame, adds two new floors and replaces the entire aged façade with a new high-performance replacement to create a nine-storey, around 54,000 sq ft building fit for the next generation of occupiers. “
Property Week reports that Serviced office operator Breezblok has completed on a four-year lease agreement with owner Merton Holdings for 15,500 sq ft of space at John Stow House in the City of London. Breezblok, formerly known as Business Space Made Easy, has already let out half the space over four floors of the building, which is between London Liverpool Street and Aldgate. Breezblok also provides office space at nearby St Magnus House, where clients include City AM and The Samaritans. “The office market in London has changed since the pandemic, it is being driven by a need for versatility and flexibility,” said Michael Knapp, sales and acquisitions director at Breezblok London. “Longer leases are often preferred, but short-term leases offer certainty too, especially for landlords where flexible space is unchartered territory but there is a need to diversify their portfolio.”
Property Week reports that Transport for London (TfL) has received planning approval for an extra office floor and roof terrace at its above-station development at Bank in central London. The revised scheme means the building will now have eight storeys plus a basement, totalling 142,310 sq ft across ground and seven upper floors plus more than 7,600 sq ft of terrace space over three floors. The project is located on Cannon Street in between Bank and Monument stations and the entrance will open on to King William Street. It was granted planning permission in 2014 and implemented in 2019 for the redevelopment of the site to provide a new office building comprising part of the basement, ground and six upper floors. It comes as London’s transport body announced in May that it was on the hunt for a joint venture partner after revealing plans to bring forward three mixed-use developments at London transport hubs, creating a total of just under 600,000 sq ft of office and retail space. The two other sites are located above the stations at Paddington and Southwark, part of a development portfolio to generate long-term revenue and reduce the body’s reliance on fare income.
Hammersmith & Fulham
Property Week reports that Mitsui Fudosan have bought AIMCo’s share on the second phase of the redevelopment of Television Centre in White City, London as the firm, along with Stanhope, have unveiled their plans for the £500m project. Phase 2 comprises a total of 511 homes in four buildings, including one crescent shaped block of 180 apartments and a contemporary 25 storey tall building of 167 apartments and has a total end value of £500m. Completion is expected for 2026. The masterplan will also open up the site to local residents, visitors and workers by the creation of a second entrance on Wood Lane and pedestrian connection through to Hammersmith Park via interlinking urban streets. Jonathan Trout, property & commercial director at Stanhope, said: “We are delighted to be working with Mitsui Fudosan as development manager for the delivery of a new residential 25 storey tower with 167 apartments and 180 apartments in a crescent block by 2026. The start of phase 2 demonstrates the commitment of Stanhope and Mitsui Fudosan to the delivery of much needed new housing, including affordable, in Hammersmith & Fulham and our long-term commitment to the area.” Tomoo Nakamura, managing director of Mitsui Fudosan UK said: “This announcement underlines our continued commitment to the development of the Television Centre site and the range of opportunities which it offers for the delivery of a number of significant commercial and residential projects.
Hackney Gazette reports that Hackney Council seeks new development partner. Campaigners pledged to continue pushing for more public housing after Hackney’s mayor said the council is looking for a new partner to develop a town centre site but would struggle to make sure half the homes are for social rent. They said Hackney council needs to increase the number of social homes on the Morning Lane site it bought from Tesco, which is earmarked for a new supermarket, homes and shops after a five year agreement with development partner Hackney Walk Limited expired this year. The council bought the Morning Lane site, near Hackney Central, in 2017 from Tesco. However, Hackney mayor Philip Glanville said it is “almost impossible” to ensure half the new homes are social housing on the site. The sale followed the failure of what he described as an “inappropriate” and “car dominated” development “that did nothing for our town centre” for a Tesco Extra and “Tesco Tower” with private flats above to get the green light from the planning committee.
Kensington & Chelsea
Property Week reports that LVMH Beauty will move from its current headquarters at 180 Oxford Street to boutique Kensington development Lancer Square, signing a 10-year lease on the site. The perfume and cosmetics brand will take 23,344 sq ft of premium office space across five floors, including a 1,879 sq ft private roof terrace. The brand is set to open the office in Q4 2022. LVMH Beauty, which is behind 15 perfumes and cosmetics houses including Christian Dior, Di Parma and Givenchy, will join a suite of other commercial tenants at Lancer Square, including artisanal delicatessen Bayley & Sage. Kevin Kuok, chief executive at Bellworth, developer of the scheme, said: “Lancer Square’s heritage and craftsmanship lends itself perfectly to welcoming LVMH Beauty, which embodies the highest standard of quality in its timeless products. “LVMH Beauty’s mission, striving for perfection while respecting its unique legacy, makes this collaboration a natural fit for Lancer Square. From media and music to fashion and finance, LVMH Beauty will join a suite of world-class companies that have chosen to make Kensington their home.” The Lancer Square scheme also comprises 36 private one- to four-bed residential apartments and three penthouses. The site originally consisted of two mixed-use buildings on Kensington Church Street and Old Court Place. However, planning permission was granted in 2014 to redevelop the area and it opened in 2020. CIT was appointed development manager for the project by the landowner, Malaysian property investor Chesington Investments.
Property Week reports that Technology giant Apple has opened a new flagship store on Brompton Road in Knightsbridge, London. The firm has moved into 17-27 Brompton Road following the redevelopment of a 1.5-acre site at the northern end of the Knightsbridge Estate. The store’s interior has been designed by Foster + Partners. Apple will mark the official opening of the store with a four-day celebration between 28 and 31 July. The Knightsbridge site has been developed to include seven large flagship stores, 67,000 sq ft of grade-A office space, 33 rental apartments, a rooftop restaurant and a ground-floor café. The Knightsbridge Estate was purchased in 2010 by The Olayan Group, which has subsequently upgraded the buildings and improved the public spaces. Jonathan Shelton, managing director for real estate Europe at The Olayan Group, said: “We are absolutely delighted that Apple has chosen the Knightsbridge Estate for its new flagship store and is an exciting addition to our thriving community here.
Property Week reports that Government-owned developer LCR has added beauty brand Kiehl’s to the roster of tenants at the Sidings, the new, 135,000 sq ft retail destination on the site of the former Eurostar terminal at rail station London Waterloo. Kiehl’s will open a 778 sq ft boutique featuring its patented skin imaging tool, the Derma-Reader Pro, at the Sidings, which is set to open this summer. Newsagent WHSmith has also confirmed it will take a 1,600 sq ft unit at the site, joining Scottish craft brewer BrewDog, the scheme’s anchor tenant, which has taken a 26,000 sq ft space set over two floors. Immersive theatre company Labyrinth has also taken space at the site to perform its Olivier-award nominated Alice’s Adventure Underground show. The Sidings will also introduce the Waterloo Curve, a new pedestrianised street connecting it to the wider South Bank area, which includes Leake Street Arches, Royal Festival Hall and the National Theatre. LCR CEO Peter Hawthorne said: “Waterloo station is one of the highest footfall locations in the country and this has been key to attracting the line-up of leading global brands and great experiences to the world-class destination we are curating at The Sidings.”
Property Week reports that Landhold Developments has secured a £13.5m loan from Investec Real Estate to fund the construction of 36 homes in Clapham, South West London. Known as Clapham Quarter, Landhold is developing a car park and the homes are due for completion in the fourth quarter 2023. The homes will feature technology-enabled one, two and three-bedroom apartments close to Clapham Common and Clapham South tube stations. Ian Burdett of Investec, said: “The London residential for sale market has long been one of our high conviction strategies, with a reversal of the ‘race for space’ trend caused by the pandemic set to further underpin the market’s resilience. “Clapham South, with its abundance of green space and excellent connectivity, is one of London’s most desirable neighbourhoods.” Garry Simpson, managing director at Landhold, added: “This is the second scheme we have had the pleasure of working with Investec on, who bring deep expertise in the London residential sector. ”Whilst the macroeconomic backdrop is not ideal, with over 35 years’ experience investing in and developing UK real estate, we are well placed to deliver on our pipeline.”
City A.M. reports that Heritage campaigners have started crowdfunding to battle Marks and Spencer’s plans to demolish its 1929 flagship Oxford St store this autumn. M&S hopes to demolish the Marble Arch building, which it says has “asbestos throughout,” to create a new 10-storey building, with office space and a gym. A two-week public inquiry in October will assess the merits and detriments of the scheme, as ministers have deemed the plan to be of more than local importance. SAVE Britain’s Heritage have launched a crowd-funding campaign to raise the £20,000 required for legal fees, with the group planning to argue that the building can be retro-fitted rather than completely razed. In an opinion column for The Daily Telegraph, M&S boss Stuart Machin argued a green light for the plans would help to innovate the West End shopping destination, which he said was running the risk of becoming a “dinosaur district destined for extinction”. He dubbed the current structure “a confusing warren of dense structures and misaligned floors,” and said a new site would use less than a quarter of the energy of the present building.
Property Week reports that leasing activity in Central London offices in the second quarter of 2022 saw an increase of 66% on the same period last year, according to Cushman & Wakefield. The real estate firm said a volume of around 3m sq ft in the second quarter was 25% above the five-year Q2 average, indicating that demand is outpacing supply of new space. “The findings suggest that the pandemic-influenced trends of 2020 and 2021 are making way for more traditional supply and demand dynamics – with robust demand resulting in falling supply levels and rising rental values on prime space,” said Cushman & Wakefield. Across the first half of the year, 5.2m sq ft of leasing activity was recorded in Central London. In the West End, volumes reached 2.1m sq ft – 20% ahead of the five-year H1 average, and the highest H1 leasing volume since 2006, said the firm. Andy Tyler, head of London office leasing at Cushman & Wakefield, said: “The supply of Central London office space has declined for a second consecutive quarter, indicating that demand is outpacing the supply of new space. This is particularly true for grade-A accommodation, which is being increasingly prioritised among occupiers – alongside connectivity – as they fight for talent and culture retention amid changing workplace expectations.
City A.m. reports that London’s commercial property market took a hit in the second quarter of 2022 as investment declined amid a weakening economic outlook, according to data by BNP Paribas. Central London properties experienced an eight per cent investment drop at £4.5bn compared to Q2 last year, with the number of office deals transacting at less than half the 10-year pre-pandemic average. Soaring inflation and recession fears added to these declines as higher debt and costs dented confidence. “The speed of the interest rate hike has caught the real estate market by surprise, said Etienne Prongue, CEO of BNP Paribas Real Estate UK. “As it stands, rising debt costs and the deteriorating economic outlook are impacting pricing discussions, causing some sellers to pause disposals and wait for improved sentiment.” Activity in the office market in Q2 was at £2.9bn, a steep drop from £5.3bn seen in Q1. Taking into account total transaction volumes in the UK as a whole, investment in Q2 was at £12.1bn, a 32 per cent fall from Q2 2021.