London Development Update

Thursday 12 September 2013

20 Fenchurch Street

Billions of pounds’ worth of central London developments were on show at the NLA this morning as key figures from Helical Bar, Lend Lease and Land Securities talked through their schemes.

Helical Bar development director Gerald Kaye gave a packed audience at the latest development update a whistle-stop tour around some of the firm’s development portfolio of around 1.7 million sq ft, with an end value of some £1.5bn. This included 200 Aldersgate, a scheme which includes a bike store at ground level with changing rooms and lockers that is proving very popular with tenants. Kaye said that another great thing about the building is the variety of floor space on offer – it was perhaps one of the reasons why buildings with different floors such as the Cheesegrater are more successful than those with near-identical floorplates. ‘It costs more but is more attractive to the market’, he said. Other Helical Bar schemes on show included Barts Square, designed by Sheppard Robson and with landscaping by Gross Max, a 3.2 acre mixed use development with planning permission in West Smithfield; Mitre Square; and 207 Old Street, an AHMM project it hopes will appeal to the TMT market.

Lend Lease’s development director David Reay took the audience through projects including Elephant and Castle, which aims to be ‘climate positive’ and which will include six new parks plus around 2800 new homes, new shops and restaurants. Projects within that include 1 The Elephant, a 30 storey tower by Squire and Partners. ‘Elephant and Castle today is already much better located and much better value than Nine Elms’, he said. But finding the next Elephant and Castle is tough, with precious few interesting sites of a sufficient scale where schemes can be ‘truly transformational.’ The developer is looking further east on the fringes of zone 3 for big opportunities.

Lend Lease is also working on The International Quarter at Stratford and Raey said the firm last night won planning permission to build more than 200 new homes in Battersea – Cobalt Place on Surrey Lane and Victoria Drive.

And finally Oliver Gardiner, head of development management of the London Portfolio at Land Securities – whose founder Harold Samuel coined the phrase ‘location, location, location’ – detailed some of the developer’s extensive £6.1bn London portfolio. This included the major plans for the 22 acres of Victoria estate it has brought forward, such as the mixed use Nova project, Wellington House, Kingsgate and Zig Zag building. Then, of course, there is 20 Fenchurch Street, the ‘Walkie Talkie’ building where Heston Blumenthal is involved with event dining at the scheme’s roof garden and the Land Securities the team is working on solutions after last week’s façade problems. ‘It’s an amazing building’, he said, ‘In fact it’s blinding!’

David Taylor, New London Quarterly

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