A weekly round up of the latest property news from the central London boroughs
City of London
PW reports that Insurance broker THB Group is in exclusive negotiations to lease 35,000 sq ft of space at 22 Bishopsgate – taking the total amount of space leased at the 1.4m sq ft tower to 225,000 sq ft. The business is moving to the building which is due to complete late next year, from its current City of London home in the nearby Bankside Building at 107 Leadenhall Street.
EG reports that Royal London has sold its freehold interest in 70 Fleet Street, EC4, to the City of London Corporation for more than £26m. The property includes nearly 10,000 sq ft of shops and around 24,000 sq ft of offices, according to Radius Data Exchange. It is currently let to the International Dispute Resolution Centre, which signed a 15-year lease for the building in 2004. As part of the deal, the City Corporation has transferred its freehold interest in Eden House, Spitalfields, to Royal London. Eden House covers 54,000 sq ft and is let to UK consultancy Sapient.
EG reports that IWG is in advanced discussions to open a second London business club in the City through its No18 members’ club brand. The company is in talks to lease the entire office space at 20 Finsbury Circus, EC2, having placed around 85,000 sq ft under offer. Quoting rents at 20 Finsbury Circus are around £60 per sq ft. The news comes after No18 snapped up the remaining office space at Battersea Power Station this summer for its first London branch.
EG reports that the owners of luxury hotel firm The Grange have struck a deal to sell the company’s four prize London assets for close to £1bn. Queensgate Investments has entered exclusive talks to buy the hotels, which have a total of 1,317 bedrooms. The sale has also attracted interest from the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, Starwood Capital Group, CBRE Global Investors and Aprirose. The portfolio is made up of the 433-bedroom Grange St Paul’s, EC4; the 370-bedroom Grange Tower Bridge, E1; the 307-bedroom Grange City Hotel on Cooper’s Row, EC3; and the 207-bedroom Grange Holborn, WC1.
City of Westminster
EG reports that South Korea’s Hana Financial Group has placed Blackstone’s Sanctuary Buildings in Westminster, SW1, under offer for around £280m as part of a joint venture. Hana’s jv partner is understood to be another South Korean investor. Blackstone appointed CBRE and Savills to look for offers close to £280m, reflecting a net initial yield of 4.2%, in September. It relet the 227,000 sq ft office block for another 15 years to the Department for Education in August. Blackstone first acquired the property from Tishman Speyer in 2014 for £175m – representing a circa 5.6% yield – when the DfE had only around three years left on its lease.
EG reports that a group of lenders has provided£350m funding for the controversial redevelopment of Regent’s Crescent, NW1. The scheme will involve transforming several 18th century houses, designed by Buckingham Palace architect John Nash, into luxury flats. PCW Property, which includes Great Marlborough Estates, is developing a 2.4-acre site at 18-26 Park Crescent and 77-81 Portland Place. PCW is backed by US and Middle East investors including Venture Capital Bank and Rassmal Investments.
EG report that WeWork has begun approaching occupiers directly for its scheme on London’s South Bank, causing agents to ponder how much further the company will disrupt their way of working. The co working giant agreed to lease up to 50,000 sq ft to Centaur Media at Almacantar’s Two Southbank Place, SE1. It is understood that it approached Centaur directly in New York, where the publishing group has an office, and neither side turned to an agent for advice. Previously, Centaur had typically called on London agent Edward Charles & Partners for advice. While in March, WeWork had appointed Cushman & Wakefield exclusively to fill its 280,000 sq ft location at Two Southbank Place. The building, the largest global co working scheme in the world, is expected to be operational in August 2019.