A weekly review of the latest planning and property news from the central London boroughs
EG reports that Argent is close to securing a major leasing deal with Sony Music at its King’s Cross scheme. The music giant is in discussions to take 124,000 sq ft across six floors at 4 Handyside Street, N1. Currently, Sony Music occupies 97,000 sq ft at 9 Derry Street in Kensington, W8.
City of Westminster
EG reports The Crown Estate has launched its first co-working flexible office service at One Heddon Street, W1. Providing 350 desks across five floors, the new space will be available to occupiers via three membership tiers. There is also a 32-person office, which the Crown would possibly like to be a flagship office that would attract other occupiers to the space.
PW reports that Evans Randall has abandoned talks to buy a large chunk of London’s Clerkenwell for up to £200m, partly because of concerns over Brexit. As revealed by Property Week in October, the investor was in exclusive talks to acquire The Clerkenwell Collection, which is owned by the little-known Sheinman family. It is understood that the firm, run by founders Kent Gardner and Paul Kendrick and former BNP Paribas Real Estate UK chief executive John Slade, had raised the cash for the deal, but contract complications and macroeconomic concerns, including Brexit, led to the decision to end negotiations.
Kensington & Chelsea
PW reports that the planning saga surrounding the development of a 749-room hotel in Kensington has taken a new twist after the local authority launched an application for a judicial review into the mayor of London’s decision to call in the plans. Queensgate Investments and Rockwell Property’s plans for the Kensington Forum hotel, which include 340 serviced apartments and 46 homes, were originally rejected by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC) but were later called in by Sadiq Khan on grounds they would contribute to the borough’s housing targets. RBKC has now applied for a judicial review into the legality of the grounds for the mayor’s decision to call in the plans, rather than the decision itself, stating that Khan made “a material error of fact” in assessing that the number of homes delivered in RBKC in 2016-17 was 153 instead of the true figure of 319.
PW reports that British Airways Pension Trust and developer General Projects have acquired the commercial element of Keybridge House in Vauxhall from Mount Anvil. The JV has acquired 98,000 sq ft of ground-floor, basement and first-floor space within the residential scheme.
EG reports that Canary Wharf Group, Landsec and Stanhope are battling to win a five-acre development opportunity close to London’s Waterloo Station, SE1. The site, which has a price tag of £200m, is being sold by Savills on behalf of Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity. The land is to the east of St Thomas’ Hospital on Royal Street and could benefit from a mixed-use scheme, but the charity also wants to include a medical facility on the site.
M&G is looking to sell its long leasehold on 20 Churchill Place in Canary Wharf, E14, for around £300m, reflecting a yield of circa 4.5%. It is understood that the Prudential-owned business has appointed JLL to look for a buyer for the 16-storey office block. It is fully let to US financial services firm State Street Corporation and is home to the European headquarters of its investment servicing division, the State Street Bank and Trust.
EG reports that Galliard Homes has completed its purchase at the former Royal Mail sorting office in London’s Nine Elms, picking up 0.9 acres for £22.2m. The site has planning for 262 homes, of which 25% will be affordable. The former South London Mail Centre covers 14 acres, which Royal Mail has been selling plot-by-plot, after attempts to sell the entire scheme to Ballymore in 2015 fell through.