British Land Wins Approval for South London Redevelopment

(Bloomberg) -- British Land was granted planning approval to develop 53 acres (about 21 hectares) of land sandwiched between London’s old and new financial districts.

The project will deliver 3,000 homes and 320,000 square meters (3.4 million square feet) of office space south of the river Thames in Canada Water and should take around 15 years to complete. The decision by Southwark Council on Sept. 30 came after planning officials recommended that lawmakers endorse the plan.

The site’s nearest London Underground station is just one stop from Canary Wharf, home to the European headquarters of JPMorgan Chase & Co., HSBC Group and Citigroup Inc.

The council’s decision “should lift the current 303 million-pound ($373 million) book value of this site and boost net assets,” Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Sue Munden wrote on Tuesday. The project will help shift “the portfolio’s emphasis toward mixed-use and residential, away from retail.”

The project is British Land’s fourth campus-style development in London, following projects in Paddington, Broadgate and Regent’s Place. The firm believes owning the areas surrounding buildings allows them to control the environment and makes them more attractive. The project was initially delayed after the company purchased more property in Canada Water that bordered the initial site.

Affordable Homes

To lead the project, British Land hired Roger Madelin, known for transforming London’s traditionally seedy King’s Cross neighborhood into an area that houses Google’s European headquarters.

The developer has agreed to make at least 35% of the homes affordable, a potential sticking point for local London lawmakers as their voters struggle to buy homes despite a slowdown in the property market. Southwark Council rejected a proposal by Grosvenor Group Ltd. to put up more than 1,300 rental apartments earlier this year, as the project failed to provide sufficient homes with discounted rents for the borough’s poorer residents.

“I am convinced that the build quality will be exceptional” Councillor Martin Seaton, chair of the Southwark planning committee, said at the meeting. “I am convinced that the new town center will be exceptional and a destination place.”

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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