A weekly review of the latest property news from the central London boroughs
City of London
Property Week reports that flexible workspace provider Convene has signed for its second London location, taking 70,000 sq. ft at YardNine’s EightFen. The deal is the first pre-let at 80 Fenchurch Street, which topped out last September. Convene’s space in the building will include almost 40,000 sq. ft of workspace and 30,000 sq. ft of meeting rooms and event space. It will also operate a 2,000 sq. ft cafe and lounge as well as the building’s commercial kitchen. EightyFen is due to complete in June, when it will bring forward more than 240,000 sq. ft of new grade A office space across 14 storeys.
It was reported widely that the City of London has appointed Studio Ergo West to be the lead architects on redeveloping Smithfield Market. Hawkins\Brown have been awarded the contract to the develop the pedestrian experience around the market.
Hammersmith and Fulham
Property Week reports an Ikea affiliate has concluded a deal for the Kings Mall shopping centre in Hammersmith. It is reported that the site was bought with a view to transforming the shopping centre into a “mixed-use destination” anchored around a smaller format IKEA store. This deal is a first in the UK for Ingka Group, a property company owned by IKEA’s parent company Ingka Group. The investment to acquire and redevelop the centre, which was previously owned by Schroder UK Real Estate Fund, totals around £170m. Gerard Groener, Ingka Centres’ managing director, said: “Our urban projects are all about getting closer to more people, and a revamped Kings Mall will be an ideal location for reaching millions of Londoners. Hammersmith is a place where people work, live and spend their leisure time, and we want to be part of it. It is one of London’s main retail, commercial and residential centres, and has excellent public transport links.”
Property Week reports that the Planning Committee of Westminster City Council has refused British Land’s high-profile application for a new tower block at 5 Kingdom Street. The mixed-use development proposed ground plus 18 storeys to provide offices, ancillary plant and amenity areas. In addition, the proposals included three floors below Kingdom Street to provide a flexible mix of uses within the former ‘Crossrail Box’ and alterations to the public realm on Harrow Road. British Land were praised as being good, engaging applicants who work with the local community but felt the proposal before them was inappropriate at this location. British Land released a statement saying: “We are disappointed with Westminster’s decision to refuse planning permission…we believe that the scheme would deliver much needed workspace, capitalising on the significant recent investment in Paddington, as well as providing many direct benefits to Westminster and its residents through a mix of employment, leisure, cultural and community uses. We will now consider our options.”
The Times reports Westminster City Council has won a landmark legal battle requiring telephone companies to get planning permission for new boxes after receiving more than 300 applications in two years. Westminster is reportedly trying to change planning regulations to give councils the power to remove unused and redundant boxes. It is reported that Westminster Councilwant to remove as many as 1,000 phone boxes from the borough. Richard Beddoe, Westminster council’s deputy leader, said: “Most people haven’t used a phone box for 20 years and unfortunately all too often these are left to fall into disrepair and end up as hubs for antisocial behaviour or X-rated display boards for private escort services and drug dealers.”