A weekly round up of the latest planning and property news from the central London boroughs
Camden New Journal reports that skyscraper offices and private housing blocks are expected to dominate the skyline of Euston after HS2 bosses were given the green light to ramp up a multibillion-pound redevelopment around the station. the Department for Transport (DfT) has instructed HS2 Ltd – the government-owned company in charge of the £106billion railway – to work up fresh designs for “increased over-site development” to ensure “best investment value”. The DfT said that they were working alongside other key stakeholders, including HS2 Ltd, Network Rail, London Borough of Camden and Lendlease to assess the proposals and refine early scheme designs. Launched by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the Oakervee review concluded that Euston station should be “de-scoped” in a bid to stem costs.
Estates Gazette reports that Camden Council has selected luxury developer Godfrey London as its preferred buyer for a £80m mixed-use scheme in West Hampstead. The council is in talks to sell Godfrey a consented site at the former industrial estate on Liddell Road, with a potential deal expected later this year. The project would see 106 homes across two buildings designed by Maccreanor` Lavington architects and masterplanners. The development would also include 40,000 sq ft of workspace. Camden obtained consent for the scheme in 2015.
City of London
A London & Oxford fund has acquired the shares in First King Properties, which holds the freehold of £128m office building on 75 King William Street in the City of London. The purchase from Singaporean Keppel Land represents a net initial yield of 4.59%. The multi-let office building comprises 128,132 sq ft of office and retail accommodation and is let to tenants including National Bank of Greece, Danske Bank, Landmark, CMA CGM and SThree. The building was originally developed in 1989, only 200 metres from the Bank of England.
Property Week reports that last year, 54% of all closures in the City of London were hospitality and leisure units, of which 83% were national chains, according to new data. The research from the Local Data Company (LDC) calculates that the number of vacant retail units in the City of London increased by 47% from 174 at the end of 2019 to 255 at the end of 2020. The vacancy rate in the district increased by 3.5% compared to an average increase of 1.3% for Greater London and 1.6% across the UK.
Kensington & Chelsea
Architects Journal reports that the government has ordered a planning inquiry into SimpsonHaugh’s proposed 30-storey replacement to a Richard Seifert-designed hotel in Kensington. The move comes after Kensington and Chelsea Council – which strongly opposes the scheme – called on housing secretary Robert Jenrick to intervene in the application. London mayor Sadiq Khan approved plans for 749 hotel rooms, 62 affordable homes, restaurants, bars and conference facilities for a second time in October last year, after his first approval of the scheme was quashed in the High Court. Jenrick will now make the final decision on the planning application following an inquiry by the planning inspectorate.
Property Week reports that Wolfe Commercial Properties Southbank has revealed its third set of plans to redevelop the brutalist IBM building on London’s South Bank. The revised scheme, designed by architects Allford Hall Monaghan Morris (AHMM), would comprise 118,000 sq ft of flexible office space and would retain more of the building’s original brutalist design. The developer first submitted an application to redevelop the IBM building in early 2020. Four months later, the government awarded Grade II status to the building. The practice subsequently submitted altered plans but then pulled those last September following criticism from the Twentieth Century Society, which said the plans ‘”failed to respond to the listing of the building”. The plans will now be consulted on locally before a planning application is submitted to Lambeth Council in spring 2021.
Bdaily reports that plans have been unveiled for a £36m mixed-use development in Southwark. The newly consented scheme, which has been designed by Alan Camp Architects, will provide 71 apartments and 15,480 sq ft of commercial space. The development also features a roof garden and public realm. The 0.24 acre site hopes to make intermediate and social rented housing available. The development is close to the Old Kent Road Action Plan zone, which is undergoing a £10.7b transformation, aiming to provide 20,000 new homes and workspace for 10,000 new jobs.
Architects Journal reports that Foster + Partners has resubmitted scaled-down plans for an office scheme on a corner site in Whitechapel. The scheme, which is for developer South Street Asset Management, will see two existing buildings on Whitechapel High Street and Commercial Road demolished to make way for 39,500 sq m of offices. Following criticism of the original 2018 scheme, the latest designs reduce the height of the building from 20 to 15 floors. The 2018 submission also included a new extension for the Canon Barnett School designed by Haverstock Architects; however this new school space now appears to have been dropped, with the school only getting a new playground out of the deal.
My London reports that Wandsworth council have unveiled new plans for improvements along Putney High Street and Wandsworth Town Centre. The council announced that it had received a further £1.058m in funding from the Government from the Future High Streets initiative to help increase footfall on the high street. The projects include a new library community and incubator hub, with workspace, meeting rooms and a community café. The council are also proposing to extend the Putney Embankment towards the high street to improve access to the existing waterfront.
The Evening Standard reports that online fashion retailer Boohoo is on the hunt for a larger London office, reportedly in Westminster. The digital fashion firm is searching for between 60,000 square feet and 80,000 sq ft of space. The Manchester-headquartered firm currently has a much smaller amount of space in the capital, at Euston Tower. It is understood to have in the region of 15,000 square feet there. The search for a potential new London office comes at a time when the company is expanding. In recent weeks Boohoo has bought the Debenhams brand, and Arcadia divisions Burton, Dorothy Perkins and Wallis.
Costar reports that Zara founder Amancio Ortega’s investment firm Pontegadea has signed Bain Capital Credit for a lease renewal of 48,582 sq ft at 1 Mayfair Place. The multi-asset alternative investment manager has agreed to extend its stay by 15 years across the fifth, sixth and seventh floors. Pontegadea bought the 174,000 sq ft building, Devonshire House, from GreenOak Real Estate for £411m in 2013.
Property Week reports that take up across central London reached 420,000 sq ft in January, the highest volume since July 2020. Levels were 13% above the average monthly leasing figures since the start of the pandemic, according to Colliers. Guy Grantham, director of research & forecasting at Colliers, said: “January’s numbers exceed November and December’s volumes combined, with the legal sector being particularly active, accounting for 233,000 sq ft of lettings.