A weekly round up of the latest planning and property news from the central London boroughs
City of London
Property Week reports that Law firm Covington & Burling has taken 86,000 sq ft at AXA Investment Managers – Real Assets’ flagship development in the City of London. Covington & Burling, which is headquartered in Washington DC, has taken floors 51 to 54 of the 62-storey building on a long-term lease, along with expansion options. The firm will join 13 other tenants and is expected to move its new London headquarters from the Strand, in the West End in 2021.
EG reports that the European real estate investment arm of asset manager La Francaise Group has struck a first UK deal for its French funds after a £48.5m deal to buy 90 Bartholomew Close. Spurred on by further clarity on Brexit and a tightening of yields on the continent, La Francaise Real Estate Partners International is targeting £1bn under management in the country.
Property Week reports that designs for a 250,000 sq ft office scheme at London Bridge has been unveiled by EDGE. The developer, which acquired 60 Thomas Street last year, claimed the development would be “London’s most sustainable office tower”. The new office will have BREEAM Outstanding and WELL Platinum certification, which will make it the only office tower in London with both accreditations at this level.
Property Week reports Constellation Hotels has refinanced a ten-year loan on The Connaught and The Berkeley hotels. The £340m facility was arranged by Citigroup, and provided by a consortium of lenders including a German bank, UK investment manager and UK-based debt fund.
Westminster City Council announced that Debbie Jackson, currently the GLA’s Executive Director for the Built Environment, will be joining the City Council this summer (exact date to be confirmed) as its new Executive Director for Growth, Planning & Housing. Greg Ward will continue to lead the Growth, Planning & Housing team in the interim.
Property Week reports that WeWork has appointed Knight Frank to advise it on its leased portfolio in the UK as it looks to drive down costs. The move is part of the business’s long-term business plan that was draw up last Autumn to help the business shore up its finances. It is understood that the review of its office portfolio was not related to the Covid-19 outbreak but that the pandemic had accelerated its implementation.
BBc reports that TfL’s income has been badly affected during the pandemic, and about 7,000 employees will be put on the government’s furlough scheme due to it. London’s transport commissioner Mike Brown said fares, which are TfL’s main revenue, had plunged by 90%.
CityAM reports that UK shops, restaurants and pubs will be protected against aggressive rent recovery action during the coronavirus crisis after the government issued new rules for commercial landlords. The government has temporarily banned the use of statutory demands and winding up orders until at least June following pressure from the retail and hospitality sectors.
Property Week reports JLL has committed to reducing its carbon emissions in line with the ambitions of the 2015 Paris climate agreement, reducing its scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions by 68% by 2034 from a 2018 base year.
CoStar reports that Yoo Capital Investment Management has held a first close of £200m for its second fund, with a target size of £400m to deploy capital in real estate assets in Central London.
CoStar reports that investors spent just under £800m on London West End offices in Q1 2020, double the amount spent in a quiet Q4 2019 and more than three times that spent in Q1 2019, according to CoStar’s latest data. It was the strongest first-quarter total since Q1 2017.
The Mayor of London is urging the Government to protect London’s three million private renters both during and after the Coronavirus pandemic by introducing three key policies to shield those affected by Covid19 from eviction. Sadiq Khan wants the Government to implement a ‘Triple Lock’ protection for renters:
- Increase in welfare support for renters, suspend the Benefit Cap, restore Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates to median market rents, and cover any shortfall in rental payments of private tenants unable to pay them due to COVID-19 – including those with no recourse to public funds. This could be achieved by setting aside LHA rates for those who are affected by COVID-19.
- Once the temporary suspension of court proceedings is lifted in June, prevent private landlords from evicting tenants who have accrued arrears as a result of COVID-19. This could be achieved by making section 8 (the arrears ground for eviction) discretionary in court proceedings.
- Scrap so-called ‘no fault’ section 21 evictions. This would prevent landlords evicting tenants affected by COVID-19 using this route as an alternative to the section 8 method.