EG Magazine reports General Projects and Valeo Capital have lodged plans to redevelop a 1970s office block next to Chancery Lane Tube station. The pair say the proposals for 14 Gray’s Inn Road, WC1, will bring forward a “state-of-the-art workspace”, increasing its floorspace by more than three-quarters to 165,000 sq ft. The Buckley Gray Yeoman-designed plans are expected to keep more than 80% of the existing structure, saving 42,240 tonnes of material, equivalent to 4,462 tonnes of embodied carbon.
Property Week reports that Robert Evans, partner at Argent and Related Argent and a key figure in the regeneration of King’s Cross Central, is set to leave after 23 years at the company. The redevelopment of the King’s Cross Estate is in its final stages, with its 50th and final building due to start construction next year. With the Argent business preparing to transfer to Related Argent next year, Evans will exit at the end of 2023.
Property Week reports that Feldberg Capital has bought West End office building 8 Bloomsbury Street from an undisclosed institutional investor, as the first purchase for its new ReForm Fund. According to market sources the property was selling for around £37m but it is believed Feldberg Capital acquired the asset for significantly less. The fund will retrofit 8 Bloomsbury Street to provide 33,448 sq ft of green workspace.
City of London
Property Week reports that specialist insurance provider CFC has taken a 90,000 sq ft chunk of Mitsubishi Estate London and Stanhope’s 8 Bishopsgate scheme. The company has agreed a 15-year lease to take floors 10 to 15 plus an exclusive landscaped terrace on level 11 at the office building owned by Mitsubishi and developed by Stanhope. The deal brings 8 Bishopsgate to 80% let or under offer following a spate of recent deals, including with law firms King & Spalding and Proskauer.
Property Week reports that the completion of the £300m ‘justice quarter’ development on Fleet Street is under threat of an injunction served by its neighbours under rights of light laws. The City of London Corporation is now seeking powers to override the threat of an injunction that could bring the development, which is already under way, to a halt.
City A.M. reports the City of London Corporation announced it is laying permanent foundations across the pond with the opening of its first offices in the US. The two offices, in New York and Washington, will ensure the organisation helps build on the already close relationship, engage with government and regulators, and break down trade barriers for financial and professional service firms looking to do business.
City of Westminster
Property Week reports that Indian billionaire Adar Poonawalla has agreed to pay £138m for a mansion in Mayfair in London’s most expensive home deal of the year. Aberconway House is a 1920s, 25,000 sq ft residential home near Hyde Park and was owned by Dominika Kulczyk. According to a number of reports, it is understood that the mansion is being acquired by Serum Life Sciences, a UK subsidiary of the Serum Institute of India. The £138m price tag will make the transaction the biggest home sale of 2023, and the second-most expensive home ever sold in London.
MyLondon reports that the Westminster City Council is pushing ahead with the £16.3m plans to pedestrianise side roads off Oxford Street. The Council voted in favour of starting design works to extend pavements, lighting, seating and green spaces along Davies Street, James Street and Grosvenor Square. The plans are the third and final part of the wider £90m Oxford Street revamp, which is expected to start next year.
Architects’ Journal reports that Hopkins’ Portcullis House next to the Palace of Westminster requires a complete overhaul of its roof and glass atrium, a leaked Parliamentary report by Purcell has revealed. The 22-year-old Parliamentary office building was found to have severe structural failings in its roof and problems with maintenance access. Purcell, which carried out the assessment with specialist contractors, said multiple failings had led to failures in glass panels and water ingress in many areas.
EG Magazine reports that LBS Properties has leased office space in Old Street to an artificial intelligence company leaving a soon-to-close WeWork site. Signal AI has signed for more than 7,000 sq ft on the fourth floor of Script, at 44 Featherstone Street, EC1. The five-year lease was agreed at £62.50 per sq ft. The company was previously based at WeWork space in the Bower, EC1, a Helical building. WeWork is due to exit that building imminently after a lease renegotiation following overdue rent.
Kensington & Chelsea
Architects’ Journal reports that RSHP’s rejected plans for a mixed-use development around South Kensington tube station have been approved on appeal. The Planning Inspectorate has approved the practice’s controversial proposal for shops, offices, and 50 homes around the west London tube station, more than two years after it was rejected by the local authority. In an appeal decision, inspector conceded that, despite the proposal’s conflict with some policies, including heritage policies, the development would accord with the policies when read as a whole.
SE1 News reports that Lambeth councillors approved plans to refurbish and extend the office block at 1-5 Lower Marsh. As well as refurbished and extended office space, the ground floor will include three shop units. One of the building’s tenants – the Waterloo Health Centre which serves more than 15,000 local NHS patients will relocate to the modular building from mid-January 2024. Although the GP surgery won’t be returning to 5 Lower Marsh, the developers will be required to provide space for medical use in the revamped building.
London Post reports that Southwark Council has appointed Hakeem Osinaike as the Strategic Director of Housing, who joins from Brent Council where he has been Director of Housing since 2017. Mr Osinaike will officially join Southwark Council on 1st March 2024. He is inheriting a huge and urgent to-do list, including a comprehensive, root and branch review into Southwark’s housing department, after a series of scandals.
SE1 News reports the plans for a new office block at the corner of Southwark Street and Southwark Bridge Road have been approved by Southwark councillors. The existing six-storey building is currently vacant but was previously used as a disaster recovery centre. The proposed development by developer CLI Dartriver will have an eight-storey element on Southwark Street and six-storey block on Southwark Bridge Road.
EG Magazine reports the owners of the Truman Brewery site have appointed newly formed development manager Grow Places to work up a masterplan for under-utilised elements of the historic site. The first round of consultation on what was once the world’s largest brewery launched on 8 December. Proposals are at a very early stage but will include a sustainable mixed-use development with retained and new buildings, spaces for employment and training opportunities, new public realm and mixed-tenure housing, including affordable homes.
MyLondon reports that an empty South London pub is set to be brought back into use as a boutique hotel, after the Wandsworth Council approved the plans. The scheme includes revamping the interior of the Star and Garter Hotel, in Putney, so it can be used as a hotel and restaurant, along with extending the roof at the fourth floor and adding a roof terrace garden above. Owner Coldunell Ltd, the applicant behind the scheme, plans to convert the landmark building on Lower Richmond Road into a boutique hotel rivalling the best in Europe.
EG Magazine reports that London agents are working flat out to seal more than £1bn of London office investment transactions before the end of the year. With 10 working days left in 2023, JLL is tracking 17 transactions valued at £1.09bn that it expects to close before the year is up. This would take the total of investment transactions for 2023 to roughly £7bn, down from £12.2bn in 2022.
Architects’ Journal reports that sustainability experts have slammed the government’s latest plans for zero-carbon homes, insisting its proposed standards are less ambitious than existing regulations. Housing minister Baroness Penn said measures set out in the Future Homes and Buildings Standards consultation would slash the carbon emissions from new residences by 75 per cent.