The London Borough of Camden informs that the Council has published a draft new Local Plan for public consultation, following on from the initial call for views last year. The draft new Local Plan sets out the Councils vision for future development in Camden for the next 15 years and includes planning policies and site allocations to help achieve this. When finalised, the Local Plan will replace our current Local Plan (2017) and Site Allocations (2013) as the basis for planning decisions and future development in the borough.
Architects’ Journal reports that activists are urging architects to boycott the British Museum’s redevelopment plans following its highly controversial £50 million funding deal with BP. News emerged earlier this month of a planned competition to redesign around a third of the Bloomsbury-based museum, as part of a 10-year partnership with the fossil fuel giant to renovate and redevelop the site to create ‘[one of the] most significant cultural redevelopment projects ever undertaken’. The boycott is also being backed by the Section of Architectural Workers (SAW) trade union.
City of London
EGI Magazine reports that Fieldfisher extends Square Mile HQ lease. Fieldfisher has renewed its lease for its headquarters in the City of London. The European law firm has extended its lease for three floors at 2 Swan Lane, EC4, until 2035. The firm signed a deal in 2013 to sublease space from head leaseholder Man Group until 2026 at £50 per sq ft, according to EG Radius. BNP Paribas Real Estate advised Man Group.
EGI Magazine reports that he owner of an almost-empty 1970s “gas-guzzler” office block in Blackfriars, EC4, is set to redevelop it as a 152-bedroom hotel operated by Germany’s Motel One chain. The seven-storey office block at 9 Bridewell Place sits on the site of the former Blackfriars Prison. Grainmarket Properties bought it from Aberdeen Asset Management for £5m almost two decades ago and is the last remaining tenant. Sign-off from the City of London Corporation earlier this month clears the way for Grainmarket Properties’ Bridewell joint venture to change the building’s use to a hotel, remove the top two floors and add five more.
City of Westminster
The Standard reports that House of St Barnabas charity and members’ club, closes due to financial challenges. Operators said that the business model had become unsustainable in Britain’s troubled economic landscape. Established in 2013, the organization, backed by notable figures like Brian Cox, Jarvis Cocker, and Andrew Weatherall, has helped over 300 individuals through its workplace programs, offering training, qualifications, and support in securing future employment and housing.
Property Week reports that investment firm Unica Capital has acquired office-led asset 167-169 Wardour Street in London’s Soho for £11.5m. The freehold building, totalling 13,628 sq ft over six floors, is fully let, with Indian restaurant Tamarind Kitchen occupying the basement and ground floors, and office occupiers on the remaining four floors. Unica Capital founder and chief executive Byron Baciocchi added: “The acquisition of 167-169 Wardour Street marks the beginning of what will be a substantial growth year in 2024, with nine active acquisition projects under way in central London.
EGI Magazine reports that Zero Carbon Space has bought 105 Jermyn Street, with plans to transform it into a modern workspace. The firm is a development platform from Northstar Capital and LandCap which aims to deliver best-in-class sustainable office space. It bought the 16,000 sq ft building from insurance and pensions fund Spinnaker Nominees for £19.5m. The deal was financed with a three-year fixed-rate facility provided by Delancey Real Estate.
Hammersmith & Fulham
The Standard reports that the cost of repairing Hammersmith Bridge has soared to £250 million – raising fears that the Thames crossing will never reopen to vehicles. The latest estimate is up about £100 million on previous expectations. Discussions on funding the repairs have reached a stalemate, with a government taskforce having last met more than two years ago. Sources admit there is no sign of a breakthrough, despite ongoing anger from residents. MPs whose constituents have been blighted by the closure said the growing size of the repair bill made it “increasingly unlikely” the bridge would ever fully reopen.
Property Week reports that Developer Marldon has appointed Savills and Colliers to sell the freehold of two London serviced apartment schemes in Farringdon and the City with combined guide prices of £28m. No 2 Suffolk Lane in the City is being marketed with a guide price of £17m and comprises 16,822 sq ft over basement, lower ground, ground and three upper floors. The second property for sale, with a guide price of £11m, is the seven-storey, 13,614 sq ft 66 Turnmill Street adjacent to Farringdon station, which includes 14 studio serviced apartments, three office units and a retail unit.
Kensington & Chelsea
The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea reports that residents, partners and stakeholders have time until Thursday 29 February to share their views on the Draft Tenancy Strategy by taking part in the online consultation. Commitments to lifetime tenancies, supporting people to remain in their homes and to understand their rights and a proactive approach to preventing homelessness are among the priorities. The Draft Strategy sets out Kensington and Chelsea Council’s expectations of tenancies offered by the registered social housing providers in the borough.
The Guardian reports that Aysen Dennis, who fought gentrification of Aylesbury estate that has been her home for 30 years, has won a high court battle against Southwark Council for its misuse of planning law. Her judicial review challenged amendments to the wording of planning permission about the redevelopment of the estate. The new wording that was pushed through as a “non-material amendment” made it easier to wave through changes that had not been previously agreed with residents without making a new application, including making proposed buildings higher.
Property Week reports that JTRE London has acquired a long leasehold interest to develop a £400m mixed-use project at London’s 220 Blackfriars Road in partnership with the site’s previous owner, Southwark Charities. When completed, the scheme will comprise a 21-storey office building with 219,000 sq ft of grade-A offices, roof gardens and food and beverage outlets, and a 15-storey tower with 62 charity-owned flats, gardens, a charity hub and community hall. The acquisition of the long leasehold interest takes JTRE London’s portfolio to nearly £1bn following rapid growth in the capital in the past five years.
The Standard reports that The All England Club took their fight to the Mayor of London’s office after Wandsworth Council did not approve the £200million expansion plans. The Mayor of London’s office has until January 29 to make a ruling over Wimbledon’s ambitious expansion plans. Mayor Sadiq Khan has already recused himself from any decision, which now rests with the deputy mayor for planning Jules Pipe. It will officially be presented to him at a meeting on Monday afternoon. The Mayor’s office could back or block the ambitious project or else refer to national government level for a decision.
Architects’ Journal reports that the value of project starts across the UK fell by almost a third in the final quarter of 2023, but rose by 29 per cent in London. Figures released by construction analyst Glenigan in its quarterly Construction Review found project starts in London are leaping up by 29 per cent in the final quarter of 2023 compared to the third quarter – despite previously falling by 11 per cent over the same period in 2022.
EGI Magazine reports that Central London office prelets accounted for the lowest proportion of total take-up in over a decade last year, according to data from Cushman & Wakefield. The agency found 24% of take-up in 2023 was attributed to prelets, compared with the typical take-up which stood at 25-30% between 2013 and 2022. Almost two-thirds of 100,000 sq ft plus deals – five out of eight – were prelets. Those five transactions marked the lowest volume for 12 years outside of 2020, when there were three.
EGI Magazine reports that British Land and Landsec should both be in the sights of equity investors hungry for REIT returns, according to the real estate research team at investment bank Berenberg. Analysts said the pair are still seen as “proxies” for the UK real estate sector, despite representing less than a fifth of the country’s REIT sector – a proportion that has halved over a decade. The analysts said both provide “a less concentrated exposure to what is still an uncertain London office market”, as well as access to the retail property sector, “which we believe has bottomed and should show selective growth”.
Property Week reports that London’s residential market for properties priced £5m-plus slowed in 2023 but was still at its highest since 2013. Savills’ whole market analysis found sales of London homes valued over £5m fell 13% year-on-year, but remained just 2.3% lower than 2021 and higher than any other year since 2013. Despite the drop from 2022 figures, sales stood 71% higher than the pre-pandemic total of 308 in 2019 and 66% higher than the £3.41bn total value for that year. Savills also revealed 158 £10m-plus homes were sold in London last year, up from 104 in 2019, and worth a combined £3.19bn.