News and Views

The Weekly Wrap

City of London property investment shatters approaching Brexit

Early 2019 investment levels in the City of London and the West End have dried as uncertainty around the UK’s exit from the European Union begins to dent the deal flow.

Last year London was the most popular city in the world for deal making, but with little clarity over the terms of Brexit, investors have put their transactions on hold.

In January, only two deals completed in the West End, which is the lowest number of monthly transactions on record.  The deal value has been marked as third worst January on record at £130m, behind 2009 and 2010.

Meanwhile, four deals completed in the City totalling £111.25m, which is a 75% decrease when compared with January last year. Furthermore, this an 80% reduction from the five year average of £500m.

One property analysts said, “The lack of transactional activity is largely owed in part to the political uncertainty created by the ongoing Brexit deliberations culminating in caution from both vendors and purchasers”. And that, “whilst some groups are pausing for thought, others are more willing to commit and so whilst transactions for this month are subdued, the number of inspections and bidding activity remains high.”

There is a total of £1.08bn of property under offer at The City of London, meanwhile, in the West End there is only £320m under offer which is “relatively little”.

City Corporation appoint Nick Collier as Brussels managing director

Nick Collier, the head of government relations of Refinitiv, has been appointed as a Brussels managing director and will take over the role from March as UK leaves the EU.

The City of London Corporation has said it will strengthen its Brussels office and that the new managing director will be a “focal point” for building a relationship between professional and financial services in the UK and the European Union.

Catherine McGuinness, the Corporations policy chair said, “this is a critical time for the UK financial and professional services sector so I’m delighted that Nick has accepted this managing director role at our Brussels office. He brings a wealth of experience and expertise that will play an important role in shaping the industry’s European engagement both before and after Brexit.

“It is in the interests of Europe as a whole that we continue to work together constructively to ensure the sector can support jobs, investment and prosperity across the continent.”

Hilton hotel to open in the City

Hilton is scheduled to open a 145 room Curio property in the City of London in 2022. The hotel will be located behind Creed Court, on the corner of Ludgate Hill.

It will include a ground floor restaurant along with a bar and a barista café. The scheme will have six floors of rooms available with views over St Paul’s Cathedral.

Hilton already has two Curio Collection properties within the UK, at Lincoln Plaza London and The Trafalgar St James London.

Furthermore, Dominvs Group is developing a 120 room Hampton by Hilton London City, which is expected to open in 2021 near Whitechapel Station in London’s Aldgate district. A spokesperson said that “Hilton’s brands are growing rapidly in the UK, with more than 180 hotels trading or under development. We’re seeing growing consumer demand at every price point, and these hotels will add exceptional new rooms in prestigious urban locations.”

Fears over too many visitors at the Tulip sky scrapper

There are fears that The Tulip, the capital’s second highest proposed site, opposite the Gherkin, will not cope with the number of visitors.

According to reports, the council’s public realm manager Tom Noble said, “we have serious concerns about the capacity of the public realm to adequately manage the additional number of people that this development will bring."

Provisions in the plans were “unacceptable and likely lead to people walking the carriageway and experiencing discomfort”.

The objections come after a Deloitte report claimed the skyscraper would boost the economy by £1bn and create 600 full time jobs.

The Tulip would host cultural, business and technology events, and carve space for an education centre where 40,000 state school pupils a year would be able to learn about London’s history.

The projected plans for The Tulip are yet to be approved or rejected, however, if it all goes well the building is due to be completed in 2025.

New roof garden opens up in The City of London

A new mid-level roof garden named The Garden at 120 has opened up just off Fenchurch Street. The 15-storey building is now open to the public and it’s completely free to enjoy the views of London. Unfortunately, One Fen Court is only 15 floors high, therefore, some skyscrapers are in the way for 360 degrees views. Nevertheless, there are pretty unique views of across the City.

The building was designed by Eric Parry Architects on behalf of insurance company Generali. The design is also very unique as if almost one building stacked on top of another.

The higher level is covered in iridescent strips, producing a vivid colourful effect both inside and outside.

The roof garden is open from 10 am until 6.30pm, with summer hours to be introduced from 1st April. There is going to be two six-weekend trial periods, for which the garden is open 10am-5pm. The 2,800 sq m roof garden has a capacity of 207 people, so if it’s a particularly clear day, you might have to queue.

Another thing to look out for is down at the ground level, where a spacious through-passageway to retain a historic link between Fenchurch Street and Fenchurch Avenue. It’s from here that you catch a lift to the roof. But before you do, look up. There’s a digital art installation by Vong Phaophanit and Claire Oboussier on the ceiling.

It aims to act as a camera obscura bringing imagery from the garden down to the street. The best moment comes when the image flickers onto the roof’s live-stream, trained on Tower Bridge. People walk underneath barely noticing, but stop and stare when it grabs their attention.

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