The commercial property market during the summer in Victoria was relatively subdued, partly due to the holiday season but also due to the political shenanigans. However, there were still various significant transactions and new amenity openings, which continue to galvanise Victoria as a vibrant quarter of the West End.
The largest and most important transaction was the sale of 55 Broadway, the headquarters of Transport for London. It is a Grade I Listed Building and officially the first skyscraper in Britain at the time of construction in 1929. It has been sold to the Blue Orchid Hotel Group for refurbishment. Change of use will be required from its current office use and it will be a very welcome addition to the hotel stock, even though it will mean a further loss of commercial office accommodation for the area. That said, being TfL HQ, this had never really been actual commercial market stock. Allegations in the press of it being sold as part of the Government's ‘family silver' do not seem justifiable as the building was in a state of disrepair and needs a significant amount spent on it.
The unfortunate demise of Jamie‘s Italian has been eased somewhat by the arrival of The Ivy Grill on Victoria Street. After looking in the Victoria area for some time, the Ivy have settled on this large LandSec unit next to City Hall. It is another excellent addition to the amenity offer in the locality, and is likely to open for Christmas.
AXA, the owners of Asticus, are considering increasing the height of the building by another storey, taking it to ten. With near 360-degree terraces, will this be the unit to better the £95 psf achieved at Buckingham Green? With the refurbishment of 55 Broadway, the pending redevelopment of 4-14 Palmer Street, Northacre’s Ten Broadway and the future redevelopment of 40 Broadway/Carteret Street, the area around St James’s Park tube is going to be subject to significant re-generation in the coming years. Close by, The Caxton at Buckingham Green is now fully let and we understand that The Tower and The Gatehouse have good interest. The retail scheme, which is now home to Chez Antoinette, Teds Grooming Parlour and Urban Greens is also going well with the final restaurant having just also gone under offer.
MYO, the LandSec serviced office brand, is now 57% let to five different tenants from both on and off their estate. We are also leasing a superb unit of 22,222 ft.²within Nova North, formally let to Child & Child solicitors, on behalf of LandSec. The transaction of half of the ownership of Nova from CPPIB continues to progress. Nova East is now underway as ground works and piling are due to commence soon to provide a further 150,000 sq. ft. The extension to Portland Housenow has planning consent, as of last night, which will create a new podium level up to floor 14 fronting onto Bressenden Place. It is likely that the building will be subject to full vacant possession from March 2020 at which point the extension and refurbishment scheme commences. Discussions are understood to be underway with a range of exciting new leisure operators.
The number of investment properties in the market over the course of the last two months has been minimal, but we expect activity to increase in the run-up to Christmas. 19 Dace Street (Dacre House) was one building which was on the market during the summer period and is now at best bids stage. A large development site, currently leased to Mapeley, at 11 Belgrave Road, is also now under offer.
The planning application for 52 Wilton Road has now been submitted and this will create a continuation of the regeneration of the area immediately south of the station. The area has become very popular with foodies with Lorne restaurant, A Wong, Kazan and Rosie’s Thai amongst some of the superb independent eateries along Wilton Road.
The arcade at Victoria tube station is now closed and under refurbishment with new shopfronts being created. It is long overdue and this will further improve the first impressions of Victoria for visitors. The Market Halls above the tube has become a real success story and the rooftop bar has proved to be particularly popular during the summer months. The area around the station is now also being master-planned withtenders being issued for the improvements to the public realm by the Victoria BID.
A further rooftop bar is now planned at Eccleston Place as part of the refurbishment of the former Audi garage. 27 Eccleston Place has planning for an A3 and B1 office scheme next to the very successful Eccleston Yards. Eccleston Yards itself is now fully let with Barry’s Boot Camp, Wild by Tart, Central Working and The Jones Family Kitchen taking the restaurant space and recently, an Argentinian coffee outlet being the final transaction to complete the scheme. The Grosvenor Hotel restaurant next to the Station has also had a makeover and a rebrand, and is now called The Soak, offering a new plush interior and live music.
Stock levels are now at circa 3.7% across Victoria with a severe shortage of quality (and even economical) space. Victoria is becoming more sought-after as a location for all sectors and the Government continues to seek space across SW1 and SE1 to boost the pressurised civil estate, adding further to the shortage of available stock.
Two floors at Drummond Gate are now under offer and Nova North has good interest from various potential tenants. 60,000 sq. ft of the Deutsche Bank space at Zig Zag is now under offer to Neuberger Berman, the fund backed by the Big Short inspiration Steve Eisman. The third floor is also under offer, with only the second remaining.
111 Buckingham Palace Road launched on 19th of September following the refurbishment (to Cat A) of 42,000 Sq Ft of offices , which will bring further much-needed supply to the Victoria market. The quoting rental is £75 psf and they are openly offering floor splits from circa 10,000 Sq Ft.
Tuckerman has had a busy time with sizable transactions at The Peak, 21 Dartmouth Street and CityHall as well as 123 Victoria Street and with almost 200,000 sq ft currently under offer in SW1, both on and off market.
We continue to support The Passage, sponsoring their excellent Summer Garden Party at College Garden and their upcoming annual Concert. We also did our bit for the environment this week by collecting bags of rubbish on the Thames foreshore! As partners of theVictoria Westminster Business Improvement Districtwe are also keen to support this continually emerging and diverse part of the Capital.
For any further information on any of the above, please do give me or any member of the team a call.