A weekly round up of the latest planning and property news from the central London boroughs
City of London
Alastair Moss, Chair of the Planning and Transportation Committee at the City of London, has written an opinion piece in Property Week praising the City’s long standing history of resilience. In the piece he talks about his remit ‘to make the City the world’s best destination for all property occupiers’ and the emphasising that ‘our message is that the City remains open for business and construction.’
EG reports that Valentine Investments is considering finance options to bring forward two developments in the Square Mile. The private investment vehicle has appointed agents to review options for the schemes at 63, 64 – 66 Coleman Street/ 35 – 39 Moorgate, EC2, and 9-11 Angel Court, EC2, which have a gross development value of more than £100m.
Architects Journal reports that TDO has revealed its designs for the £18.5 million office-led redevelopment and retrofit of an inner-city block in Southwark. The scheme at Great Suffolk Yard, which has now started on site, includes the retention and revamp of a trio of former industrial buildings, some dating from the 1850s, and the addition of four new blocks built around a central yard.
Property Week reports that Canary Wharf has launched a back-to-work strategy in an attempt to revive activity in London’s financial centre. Plans to bring back workers to the business district are being rolled out by the London landlord, which has suffered a slump in the use of its office spaces as its banking and accountancy tenants work from home. Among the measures geared at getting workers back into the office are the reduction of lift capacity and one-way routes to keep social distancing in place.
Property Week reports that West End based, Great Portland Estates (GPE), is looking to become a net asset buyer in the next 12 months for the first time in seven years. After announcing its year-end results this Wednesday, GPE chief executive Toby Courtauld said it planned to target offices in London’s West End, South Bank and Square Mile. GPE also made the news this week by pre-letting three floors at 1 Newman Street and 70/88 Oxford Street in London’s West End to Exane BNP Paribas. BNP Paribas’ cash equities business Exane has taken the fifth, sixth and seventh floors as well as ancillary basement space on three separate 15-year leases.
Property Week reports that the owners of 16-17 Connaught Place in Marble Arch are eyeing potential buyers after purchasing the 83,000 sq ft office block five years ago. GWM Group, a Luxembourg-based fund manager backed by Italian capital, is looking to sell the Marble Arch building for at least £125m, which would reflect a yield of 4.4%.
Architects Journal reports that a public inquiry into Adjaye Associates and Ron Arad’s proposed Holocaust Memorial next to the Palace of Westminster will now not start until October due to the coronavirus. A public inquiry – led by a planning inspector – was due to start later this month. This is the first stage in the process, before a report is prepared and ministers get the final decision.Westminster City Council in February unanimously turned down permission for the highly contentious project within the Grade II-listed Victoria Tower Gardens.
EG reports that office construction projects in Central London are facing delays of up to half a year owing to COVID-19. The latest London Office Crane Survey from Deloitte Real Estate predicts that developments already under construction will see their completion timings slip by between three and six months.