Archive | UK

World property M11July16 – Chinese in project round LA station, Shanghai land price spirals, Post-Brexit bargains

Chinese giant plans 1500-home Los Angeles station project
$NZ8790/m² for suburban Shanghai residential site
Asians shop for Brexit bargains

Chinese giant plans 1500-home Los Angeles station project

Chinese state-owned developer Greenland Group, which has large projects in Melbourne & London, has also been making its presence felt in Los Angeles.

It has the $US1 billion Metropolis project underway in downtown Los Angeles and has teamed up with CBRE unit Trammell Crow to form a public-private venture with the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transport Authority to develop nearly 6.5ha around the North Hollywood light rail station.

The consortium has won first-round approval for its proposal for up to 1500 homes & 42,000m² of office space in a total 232,000m² of development.

The transport authority is expected to vote on the proposal by the end of 2018, for work to start in 2019.

Mingtiandi, 4 July 2016: China’s Greenland Group plans 1500 new homes in North Hollywood

$NZ8790/m² for suburban Shanghai residential site

In China, the latest in a string of ever-rising land prices paid at government auctions for suburban sites in Shanghai is RMB2.44 billion ($NZ500 million) for 56,886m² ($NZ8790/m²) in the Xinchang township, Pudong.

Cofco Property Investment of Beijing paid a 235% premium over the auction minimum, equivalent to $NZ7149/m² gross floor area, $NZ7600/m² once infrastructure & the 5% reserved for affordable housing are taken into account.

Mingtiandi, 4 July 2016: Cofco Property beats out 20 rivals to pay $368 million for suburban Shanghai site

Asians shop for Brexit bargains

Immediately post-Brexit, I mentioned that speculators would take up some of the slack as the pound sterling dived. This article gives some details.

Mingtiandi, with link to Reuters story, 7 July 2016: Asian investors seen shopping for Brexit bargains

Attribution: Mingtiandi.

Regular leads: Europe Real Estate, Mingtiandi, Planetizen

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World property Sun28Feb16 – Multiple Goodman projects in UK, London City Airport sells, Melbourne port lease

Goodman teams up to develop Anglesea UK portfolio
Canadian & Kuwaiti consortium buys London City Airport
Deal agreed to sell Melbourne port lease

Goodman teams up to develop Anglesea UK portfolio

Goodman Group & Anglesea Logistics Partnerships have leased a spec warehouse in the Derby commercial park in the English Midlands to the group that owns the global lifestyle brand Ted Baker, No Ordinary Designer Label Ltd, as Goodman lifts its production of logistics space around the UK.

Asset manager & trader Anglesea Capital 0 LLP entered a joint venture with Goodman in November 2014, and has entered into a partnership funding joint venture with Lone Star Real Estate Fund III for this partnership, while Goodman has agreed to sell 4 more logistics assets containing 220,000m² to the joint venture.

The £25 million Ted Baker building, Angle 325, is a 30,000m² high-spec warehouse including 1400m² of office. It’s being fitted out and is due for completion at the beginning of May. It will be the retailer’s pan-European distribution centre, handling all operations for its retail, wholesale & e-commerce businesses in Europe and operating 24/7.

Goodman has spent £175 million developing the 66ha Derby commercial park at Raynesway, 3km from the centre of Derby, and has just opened a 59,000m² design/build national distribution facility there for Kuehne & Nagel and Heineken. It has 2 more spec warehouses lined up for construction at Andover in Hampshire & London Medway for the Anglesea partnership.

Sydney-based Goodman is also at full stretch in Europe. It signed up in January to develop a 130,000m² facility for online fashion, shoe & accessory retailer Zalando SE.

Link: Goodman UK

Canadian & Kuwaiti consortium buys London City Airport

3 Canadian pension fund managers and a Kuwaiti infrastructure investor agreed on Friday to buy London City Airport from Global Infrastructure Partners (75%) & Highstar Capital LP (25%). They haven’t disclosed financial details. The transaction is not subject to any regulatory approvals and is expected to close on 10 March.

The airport was opened near Canary Wharf in the Royal Docks in 1987 and Global Infrastructure Partners took control of it in 2006.

The new owners are Alberta Investment Management Corp (Aimco), on behalf of its clients OMERS (originally the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System), the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan & Wren House Infrastructure Management Ltd. Wren House is the infrastructure investing arm of the Kuwait Investment Authority.

Link: OTPP release

Deal agreed to sell Melbourne port lease

The Victorian State Government & opposition coalition agreed terms on Thursday enabling the sale of the lease on the port of Melbourne.

State Treasurer Tim Pallas said the 50-year lease should be sold early next year. While he’s been kept clear of the transaction, he’d been told 4 consortiums were lined up to buy the lease.

The Labor government agreed on Thursday to an opposition demand to amend the law enabling the lease, restricting compensation for the buyer. Compensation will be payable if the Government opens a second port within 15 years and the original port hasn’t reach its agreed capacity.

The port lease law is scheduled to be passed on Tuesday 8 March.

Attribution: Goodman, Anglesea, OTPP, GIP, Victorian Government

Regular leads: Europe Real Estate, Mingtiandi, Planetizen

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World property W20Jan16 – Chinese to buy second Investa portfolio, global institutions buy UK residential, fund for small UK industrials

Chinese fund in line to buy second Investa portfolio
Invesco launches fund to invest in UK rental housing
UK industrial estates investor establishes fund

Chinese fund in line to buy second Investa portfolio

Dexus Property Group agreed an $A10 billion merger with the unlisted Investa Office Fund a week before Christmas, with approval scheduled for an Investa shareholder meeting in April, but reports from Australia this week indicate the Chinese sovereign wealth fund China Investment Corp may win the fight for the second part of the former Investa empire.

The Australian Financial Review’s Street Talk column cited sources saying documents with some preliminary metrics had been drawn up.

The Chinese fund bought the $A2.5 billion unlisted Investa Property Trust from Morgan Stanley Real Estate Investing last year. The listed office fund has an $A3.5 billion portfolio.

Mingtiandi’s Michael Cole said on Monday the China Investment Corp had bought $US7.3 billion of properties in Asia, Europe & Australia in the last 5 years.
Links: AFR, 18 January 2016: China Investment Corp approaches Mirvac on $3.5b Investa Office Fund (behind wall) 
Mingtiandi, 18 January 2016: China’s CIC said ready to bid

Earlier story: 29 July 2015: World property T14Jul15 – Chinese fund buys Australian portfolio

Invesco launches fund to invest in UK rental housing

Giant US fund manager Invesco Ltd has closed a new open-ended UK private rented sector fund with £250 million of investable capital, including debt, from 5 institutional investors in Australia, Canada & the UK.

Invesco has $US775 billion of funds under management and its real estate division has $US16 billion under management.

The new UK fund was established in response to Britain’s growing imbalance in residential supply & demand. Invesco also has multi-family investments in the US & Asia, and has launched residential development investments in the UK & Germany in the last 18 months.

Invesco client portfolio management managing director Simon Redman told Europe Real Estate institutional investors owned less than 5% of the UK private rented sector, compared to over 25% in the US.

Links: Europe Real Estate, Invesco launches residential fund
Invesco global portal

UK industrial estates investor establishes fund

IO, a specialist UK manager of multi-tenanted industrial estates, bought 10 properties for £34.9 million in October and has just bought another 24 properties for £76 million to close a £120 million joint venture with the privately owned international property group Grosvenor Ltd and Quilvest, the Bemberg family office business which is an independent global wealth manager & private equity investor.

The first 10 investments for IO Investment 2 LLP had a combined vacancy rate of 16%, a blended net initial yield of 7.25% and a blended gross reversionary yield over 9%.

The second portfolio, bought from MStar, a joint venture between a controlled affiliate Starwood Capital Group & M7 Real Estate, has a combined vacancy rate of 11.3%, net initial yield of just under 7% and a gross reversionary yield over 8.5%.

IO says on its website it “applies a pioneering method of management to generate outperformance”.

Links: IO

Europe Real Estate, IO acquires portfolio

Attribution: Investa, Invesco, AFR, Europe Real Estate, IO.
Regular leads: Europe Real Estate, Mingtiandi, Planetizen

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World property Sat9Jan16 – English brownfields campaign

More detail given on English brownfield housebuilding programme

The UK Government made its funding allocations this week for 19 urban zones – all in England – under its new programme to accelerate house-building on brownfield land.

The councils where these zones are will share £6 million to support delivery of up to 34,000 homes.

Housing & Planning Minister Brandon Lewis said building in another 9 shortlisted zones would take the immediate build to 45,000 homes. The government aims to deliver one million new homes by 2020.

This package is on top of a £1.2 billion starter home fund announced on Monday.

Under the Housing & Planning Bill, the government aims to: identify sites in plans & brownfield registers where permission in principle to development will be granted; support small builders by requiring councils to ensure they have shovel-ready lots to match demand; and, despite the intention of building on public land, also protecting green belts (a factor which has been central to the argument between those campaigning to open up land for housing and those wanting to protect village lifestyles).

Link: Government release, Tens of thousands of homes supported by housing zone funding

Earlier story: World property W6Jan16 – Barangaroo, Melbourne Quarter, UK fast-track housing

Attribution: UK Government

Regular leads: Europe Real Estate, Mingtiandi, Planetizen

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World property W6Jan16 – Barangaroo, Melbourne Quarter, UK fast-track housing

Lend Lease gets Barangaroo investor, first Melbourne Quarter tenant
UK government launches fast-track housing programme

Lend Lease gets Barangaroo investor, first Melbourne Quarter tenant

Lend Lease Group announced major deals in the week before Christmas on its Barangaroo South development in Sydney and Melbourne Quarter in the heart of Melbourne.

In Sydney, it’s sold a 25% stake in the Barangaroo South Tower 1 to an unnamed Asian institutional investor, conditional on Foreign Investment Review Board approval. This will reduce Lend Lease’s equity commitment from $A525 million (37.5%) to $A175 million (12.5%).

The developer set up the Lend Lease 1 International Towers Sydney Trust last June to own the building, expected to be completed by July 2017 with PwC, HSBC, Marsh & McLennan and Servcorp as major tenants. Other investors include the Qatar Investment Authority and the Lend Lease-managed Australian Prime Property Fund Commercial.

Tower 2 has already opened and Tower 3 is due for completion by mid-2016.

In December, Lend Lease signed up global design & engineering firm Arup as the first tenant in its $A1.9 billion Melbourne Quarter precinct between Collins & Flinders Sts and across the road from Southern Cross station.

Arup will move to the 25,000m² 6-star green star One Melbourne Quarter, the first tower of 7 commercial & residential buildings planned for a precinct Lend Lease is calling Melbourne’s “new economic heart”.

Link: Lend Lease

UK government launches fast-track housing programme

British Prime Minister David Cameron said on Monday the government would directly commission small & up-&-coming companies to build thousands of affordable homes on public land in a fast-track programme.

He said the direct commissioning approach hadn’t been used on this scale since Margaret Thatcher and Michael Heseltine started the London Docklands regeneration in 1981.

This time, the government will set up a £1.2 billion fund to build 30,000 “starter homes” on underused brownfield land in the next 5 years.

Mr Cameron said developing on public land “will lead to quality homes built at a faster rate, with smaller building firms – currently unable to take on big projects – able to get building on government sites where planning permission is already in place.

“The first wave of up to 13,000 will start on 4 sites outside of London in 2016 – up to 40% of which will be affordable ‘starter’ homes. This approach will also be used in at the Old Oak Common site in north-west London.”

The Conservative government has committed to delivering 200,000 starter homes over the next 5 years. The brownfields starter home fund will fast-track construction of at least 30,000 new starter homes and up to 30,000 market homes on 500 new sites by 2020.

Link: Government will directly build affordable homes

Attribution: Lend Lease, UK Government.

Regular leads: Europe Real Estate, Mingtiandi, Planetizen

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World property Sun29Nov15 – CDL Singapore buys eighth London development site

CDL of Singapore buys London brewery site

Singapore-listed City Developments Ltd has entered into a contract to buy the 8.9ha Stag Brewery site in London from global brewer AB InBev for £158 million. Completion is expected in the next week.

City Developments is the leading development company in the Hong Leong Group of Singapore, which also has controlling interests in NZX-listed Millennium & Copthorne Hotels (NZ) Ltd & land developer CDL Investments (NZ) Ltd.

The brewery deal follows closely behind CDL’s £85 million purchase of the 1.82ha Teddington Studios site, former home of Pinewood Film Studios, also in the south-west London borough of Richmond, and is CDL’s eighth UK purchase, taking its total acquisitions to £411 million.

Executive chairman Kwek Leng Beng said: “This latest acquisition is in line with our plans to step up CDL’s overseas diversification. Greater London is a key focus for our UK real estate platform, which we established in 2013. Greater London is seen as an attractive alternative to central London as buyers have increasingly sought more value for their money.”

“Richmond is one of the most desirable locations for living & working in London. Mortlake (the brewery address) is a 25-minute journey by train to central London and buyers are drawn to its picturesque river views & abundant greenery. The Stag Brewery site, widely accepted as one of the best development opportunities on the River Thames, is CDL’s eighth acquisition in the UK. We will continue to build traction and capitalise on property development & investment opportunities in the UK.”

The company’s other acquisitions have been in Knightsbridge (2), Belgravia, Chelsea, Croydon & Reading.

The Mortlake site has been a brewery since the 15th century, was one of London’s largest breweries in the 19th century and has been producing Budweiser under Anheuser-Busch InBev ownership. It has 33,000m² of non-heritage listed industrial buildings on it, and is near Chiswick Bridge, finishing line for the annual Oxford-Cambridge boat race.

As a redevelopment site, it has potential for 850 homes and has an adopted planning brief that promotes a mixed-used scheme which would accommodate a major residential development, new school, a hotel and other employment & leisure uses. At Teddington, CDL will develop the 1.82ha site into a luxurious riverside freehold condominium comprising 213 apartments, 6 houses, a refurbished weir cottage & 258 secure parking spaces. It’s scheduled for launch early next year.

Attribution: CDL.

Regular leads: Europe Real Estate, Mingtiandi, Planetizen

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World property Mon19Oct15 – Chinese deal on London docks falls apart

Chinese backer pulls funds from Chinese developer’s London docks transformation

The £1.7 billion Chinese transformation of the Royal Albert Docks in London looked increasingly shaky last week on reports that its major backer was at least delaying investment, if not pulling out altogether.

£1.7 billion was the top figure on the project’s gross completion value. It started out in 2013 as a £1 billion project, and other price tags in stories over the last 2 years have included $US1.5 billion & $US1.7 billion. One recent story said construction costs had escalated by 30%, which didn’t match any of the changing numbers.

London mayor Boris Johnson awarded the project to Advanced Business Park China Ltd in 2013 and China Minsheng Investment Corp Ltd announced its support in February this year. In June, London real estate business Strawberry Star Group plc promised financial support for an unstated amount of equity.

The Financial Times questioned the credentials of the Chinese developer, chaired by Xu Weiping, almost as soon as the deal was signed in May 2013 and UK television Channel 4 raised more questions last November, including the level of donations to the Conservative Party by the wife of Home Office Minister Lord Michael Bates, Xuelin Black, who registered a company called ABP London China to promote the project, and the switch of Tongbo Liu, the former head of London & Partners, the organisation within mayor Johnson’s office set up to attract foreign investment, from that to ABP in 2012.

Strawberry Star, while a rising investor, also seems far short of matching the kind of investor needed in a major long-term development pipeline. Its founder, Santhosh Gowda, has worked in real estate for 20 years, in India, Singapore & the United Arab Emirates before moving to London in 2007.

But the main backer, China Minsheng, looks very much like the kind of paper empire that can be blown apart by a decent wind.

China Minsheng describes itself as “a leading international private financial investment group with 50 billion yuan in registered capital. It regards full-range financial licences & industrial integration as its focal business strategy and dedicates itself to guiding the investment of China’s private capital and driving economic transition & upgrading”.

China Minsheng was incorporated in Shanghai only in May 2014, “initiated by the All-China Federation of Industry & Commerce and launched by 59 prestigious private enterprises”. 7 of its shareholders are vice-chairmen of the federation, 5 are deputies to the National People’s Congress, 4 are members of the standing committee of the national committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and 8 are conference members.

“All shareholders are from largescale private companies, with their industries covering new energy, machinery manufacturing, metallurgy, IT, asset management, garment, bio-pharmaceuticals, environmental protection, culture & media, commerce & trade, electricity, home appliances & daily necessities, e-commerce, finance, real estate, to name a few. They are all the leading players in their specific industries.”

The Wall St Journal said last week China Minsheng was deferring its investment “due to a disagreement over ownership”.

Advanced Business Park’s project was to transform 14ha owned by the Greater London Authority and situated in the heart of Royal Docks enterprise zone. The mayor said at its launch: “When complete the site will become London’s third business district and, according to initial projections, be worth £6 billion to the UK economy, generating £23 million in business rates annually and acting as a catalyst for further development in the area.

“The largest development of its kind in the UK, the state-of-the-art business district will act as a platform for financial, high-tech & knowledge-driven industries looking to establish & drive forward their business in UK & European markets. The deal represents one of the first direct investments by a Chinese developer in London’s property market and will eventually be home to over 3.2 million ft² (300,000m²) of high quality work, retail & leisure space.”

The Royal Docks lies within the stretch of land running from Stratford down the River Lea to the Thames and the district is home to international exhibition & convention centre ExCeL and London City Airport.

The mayors of London and the Borough of Newham set out a joint vision to develop the Royal Docks in 2010, building on the momentum from the opening of the Olympic Park & Stratford City and the continuing investment in Canning Town. The Royal Docks was granted enterprise zone status in 2012. That included rates relief, enhanced capital allowances & simplified planning.

Image above: An artist’s impression of the Royal Albert Docks transformation.

Links: Royal Albert Dock 2013 launch
ABP Global
China Minsheng Investment
Strawberry Star

Mingtiandi, 15 October 2015: $US1.5 billion Chinese project in London loses financing after China Minsheng bails
Wall St Journal, 14 October 2015: Chinese fund puts London Docklands investment deal on hold
South China Morning Post, 10 October 2015: China Minsheng Investment’s involvement in £1.7b London development in doubt
Channel 4, 13 November 2014: Big questions for Boris over billion dollar property deal
Financial Times, 10 May 2013: Questions raised over credentials of Chinese developer

Attribution: ABP, Strawberry Star, China Minsheng, Mingtiandi, Wall St Journal, South China Morning Post, Channel 4, Financial Times, Greater London Authority, Mayor of London’s office
Regular leads: Europe Real Estate, Mingtiandi, Planetizen

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World property Sun4Oct15 – Transforming the East End

East Plus partnership agreed to transform 35ha of London’s East End

The Greater London Authority named the Segro real estate investment trust on Friday as its preferred partner to develop 5 industrial sites totalling 35ha of London Riverside, known as East Plus. The partnership means 99% of the authority’s land has been released for development.

Mayor Boris Johnson’s vision for London Riverside includes housing plans for Barking Riverside and surrounding areas, which the partnership will boost. East Plus is a series of industrial locations spanning Newham, Barking & Dagenham and Havering on both sides of the A13 corridor.

Mr Johnson said: “London’s population is at a record high and people are increasingly looking to the east as a place to live & work. We are already working hard to build the houses that people need, so I am delighted to welcome Segro aboard to help create the jobs. This site has bags of potential and I can see it becoming one of the most sought-after addresses for industry – whether large or small.”

The land will be transferred to Segro in stages over the life of the 10-year partnership.

Segro estimates the sites can support 130,000m² of new urban logistics & light industrial spaces, suitable for occupiers ranging from blue-chip companies to startup firms, and expects to invest £180 million in developing them.

London’s deputy mayor for housing, land & property, Ric Blakeway, said: “In stimulating the return of industry to London Riverside, this development shows a real commitment to supporting local trades and presenting new opportunities to attract businesses, keeping east London’s industrial heritage alive.”

The London Riverside opportunity area planning framework covers over 3000ha of London’s East End.

Links: Greater London Authority
London Riverside opportunity area planning framework

Attribution: Greater London Authority & mayor, Segro

Regular leads: Europe Real Estate, Mingtiandi, Planetizen

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World property Sun20Sep15 – A-reit enters Australia, Greenwich regeneration

A-reit enters Australian logistics market
$20 billion Greenwich regeneration approved

A-reit enters Australian logistics market

The Ascendas Real Estate Investment Trust of Singapore (A-Reit) has bought an $A1 billion Australian logistics property portfolio from Singapore sovereign fund GIC & Frasers Property Australia Pty Ltd.

Ascendas has formed the Ascendas REIT Australia trust to acquire the portfolio of 26 logistics properties, bought for $A1.013 billion, subject to post-completion adjustments. It will be held in the Ascendas Logistics Trust.

9 of the properties are in Sydney, 9 in Melbourne, 7 in Brisbane and one in Perth. Total gross floor area is 630,946m² on a total 121ha. Current occupancy is 94.4%, rising to 98.3% once 62 Stradbroke St in Brisbane is fully leased, average building age is 6.4 years, weighted average lease expiry 6.1 years (extending A-Reit’s average from 3.7 to 4 years), net property income $A64.5 million from 30 leases, 24 customers.

Leases include rental escalation of 3.3%/year on a portfolio basis, which is generally higher than similar leases in Singapore.

A-Reit’s manager announced its intention on 6 August to expand its investment mandate to explore opportunities in mature developed markets. This acquisition will increase the value of assets outside Singapore from 4% to 14%, on the way to a target of 20-30% outside Singapore. A-Reit has total assets of $S8.2 billion – 102 properties in Singapore, 2 business parks in China and now the Australian portfolio.

$20 billion Greenwich regeneration approved

Hong Kong developer Knight Dragon Developments Ltd was granted consent on 8 September for the addition of 13,000 homes to the 3000 it already has under construction on the Greenwich Peninsula, across the Thames from Canary Wharf in London.

Knight Dragon owns 67ha at Greenwich, most of it acquired in 2 transactions to take control of Greenwich Peninsula Regeneration Ltd from London developer Quintain Estates & Development plc and Lease Lease Corp Ltd of Australia for a project now estimated at costing £8.4 billion ($NZ20.4 billion). Knight Dragon separately owned 7.5ha of mixed-use land at Peninsula Quays.

The regeneration project Quintain & Lend Lease picked up in 2004 was to have had 10,000 homes, 38% in the affordable bracket and for key worker & special needs buyers. The affordable percentage has dropped to 25% but will remain about the same number, just under 4000. Other original components were 340,000m² of commercial & 33,000m² of retail space, plus developments in & around the Millennium Dome (renamed O2).

Other features now are the demolition & complete rebuild of the North Greenwich tube & bus station allowing for more bus capacity, a 40,000m² film studio, 60,000m² of business space, 24,000m² of retail & hospitality space, 1-2 hotels, 2 schools, a 20,000m² visitor attraction, a new ferry jetty terminal, a 5km running track around the whole site, a healthcare facility and expansion of Ravensbourne, a mostly privately funded college offering digital media & design courses and also host to over 100 creative technology businesses.

The UK Government’s national regeneration agency, English Partnerships, started the regeneration project in 1997, when it bought the 121ha site of a decommissioned gasworks and spent £225 million remediating & servicing, landscaping, enhancing the transport network and masterplanning the development.

Knight Dragon’s owner, Dr Henry Cheng Kar-Shun, & family have large property & infrastructure interests in Hong Kong & China, including the majority interest in New World Development Co Ltd.

Image at top: An artist’s impression of the Greenwich Peninsula development.

Links: Knight Dragon
Knight Dragon, Greenwich Peninsula
Royal Borough of Greenwich

Earlier stories:
13 November 2013: World property Wed13Nov13 – Sydney apartment upturn, Dexus wins, Canadians in London, New World chief takes Greenwich
21 June 2004: All contracts signed for £5 billion Greenwich regeneration


Regular leads: Europe Real Estate, Mingtiandi, Planetizen

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World property W16Sep15 – Inland rail, Facebook London lease

Australian inland rail delivery plan released
Facebook leases all of new London building

Australian inland rail delivery plan released

One of the last acts of the Abbott government in Australia was to release the delivery plan for an inland rail project connecting Melbourne & Brisbane with a high performance freight line.

Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Infrastructure Regional Development and National Party leader Warren Truss received the final report of the Inland Rail Implementation Group from chair John Anderson in Canberra on Friday.

The plan outlines an $A10 billion 10-year construction timeframe to complete the 1700km project, including 600km of new track. The Australian Rail Track Corp produced a detailed business case for it.

Mr Truss said freight along the eastern seaboard was expected to treble in the next 15 years: “Inland Rail will complement existing road & rail networks and will dramatically boost productivity. Initially, it will provide for 1800m long trains carrying containers stacked 2 high and, in the longer term, much heavier 3600m long trains.

“The new freight line will reduce transit time between Melbourne & Brisbane by more than 10 hours – reducing the journey to less than a day. It will remove 200,000 trucks, or 5.4 billion net tonne km of freight, from roads each year.

“For the first time, south-east Queensland will connect by rail to Melbourne, Adelaide & Perth, avoiding the need for freight to transit through the congested Sydney network. Inland Rail will reduce the distance between Melbourne & Brisbane by 200km and carve 500km from the Brisbane-Perth trip.”

Mr Truss said the Australian Government had already committed $A300 million to get preconstruction activities underway, including detailed corridor planning, environmental assessments & priority land acquisitions.

Link: Inland Rail report

Facebook leases all of new London building

Great Portland Estates plc has pre-let all the office space in its Rathbone Square development at the east end of Oxford St in London to Facebook UK Ltd.

Facebook has signed an unconditional agreement to lease all 21,118m² of consented office space and will occupy the building on a 15-year term from scheduled completion in February 2017, paying an initial rent of £16.9 million after receiving 30 months rent free from completion of the offices and a capital contribution to fit out the building to a category A condition.

In addition, Facebook has signed a conditional agreement to lease a further 1436m² if Great Portland can convince Westminster City Council to change its use from retail to office.

The One Rathbone Square office building is a 38,897m² mixed-use development. Other components are 142 apartments & 2250m² of retail around a new public garden square.

Great Portland bought the 9300m² site from the Royal Mail Group for £120 million in 2011 and sold 125 of the apartments for an aggregate £207 million, reflecting an average capital value of £1856/ft² ($NZ48,147/m²) and with a price range from £1548-2,624/ft² ($NZ40,160-68,070/m²).

Link: Great Portland Estates

Attribution: Australian Government, Great Portland Estates

Regular leads: Europe Real Estate, Mingtiandi, Planetizen

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