Weekly news from the Central London boroughs

A weekly round up of the latest property news from the central London boroughs

City of London 

PW reports that Hong Kong-listed firm SEA Holdings has reached a sale and purchase agreement with Evans Randall to acquire the City of London headquarters of HBOS for £258m.The group has agreed a deal to buy the entire issued share capital in the Jersey-incorporated special purpose vehicle ‘33 Old Broad Street Investment Company Limited’, in which 33-41 Old Broad Street and 1-6 Union Court sit .The nine-storey, 33 Old Broad Street is leased in its entirety to Bank of Scotland and guaranteed by HBOS for a term until 24 March 2039 with fixed uplift every five years. The property currently generates an annual rental income of £10.3m. The 191,000 sq ft building was built in 1997 by Helical Bar and was bought by Evans Randall in 2006 for £197m from a joint venture between Prestbury, West Coast Capital and Bank of Scotland.

Kensington & Chelsea

EG reports that Kensington & Chelsea  reports that Kings Gardens in Kensington NW6 has been bought by real estate entrepreneur Johnny Sandelson for a mixed-use development. The three-acrea site was boght unconditionally and was sold by Jesuits in Britain. It is he second Kensington site Sandelson has secured in the past 12 months. CBRE advised on sale. 

EG reports that Christian Candy’s CPC Group has put a Holland Park mansion block up for sale. The company has instructed Savills and Knight Frank to sell Duke’s Lodge, 80 Holland Park W11 – a luxury residential development opportunity – for £75m. The proposed development is ready to commence immediately with consent for 24 private flats behind a facade of five townhouses, after CPC GROUP won a planning approval last year. 


EG reports that a second deal for the sale of St Modwen and Vinci’s  £395m New Covent Garden Market, SW8 is faltering after prospective purchaser Dalian Wanda did not reach an agreement during a period of exclusivity. The Chinese developer became the preferred party for the 10.2-acre site at Nine Elms Square after a deal with Beijing-based conglomerate Macrolink fell through in March. St Mowden is now understood to be considering selecting another party. Nine Elms Square has outline consent for 1,821 flats across three towers of between 32 and 54 storeys.  


PW reports that wine bar and restaurant chain Balls Brothers has launched an expansion drive, targeting central locations such as the West End and Covent Garden. The brand, which is over 100 years old, currently has nine locations throughout London. It has now appointed agents at Colliers International to seek new sites, with a focus on the West End, Covent Garden, Oxford Circus, Waterloo and Piccadilly. Balls Brothers is seeking units ranging from 4,500 sq ft which are in close proximity to office developments, predominantly set at ground floor level. Outside space is preferred but not essential, as is existing A4 planning consent.

PW reports that domestic property companies could set a new record for sales in the West End this year, according to new data from Savills. Sales by UK private property companies and REITs have been responsible for £1.17bn of the £2.49bn transacted in the first four months of the year in the West End. That takes levels for this year to 96% of the 10-year average annual turnover for domestic sellers. Prime yields in the market remain at 3.25% for the fifth successive month.

PW reports that The Regent Street Partnership has paid £120m to expand its ownership of three central London office and retail properties totalling 54,000 sq ft.  The partnership, a tie-up between Norges Bank Real Estate Management and The Crown Estate, made the acquisitions from a joint venture between Aviva Life & Pensions UK and the Public Sector Pension Investment Board. It acquired the leasehold interests in 263-269 Oxford Street and 3-5 Swallow Place, which comprise 16,000 sq ft of Oxford Street retail space and 19,000 sq ft of offices. It already owns the properties. It also acquired 1 Princes Street and 6 Swallow Place, which comprise 2,000 sq ft of retail space and 4,000 sq ft of office space. Lastly, it bought the vendor’s 33% stake in 2-4 Princes Street, a 13,000 sq ft office and retail development, meaning it now fully owns the property.

PW reports that Hong Kong-based investor Chinese Estates has bought an office building at 11-12 St James’s Square in London for £175m, in a deal reflecting a net initial yield of 4.45%. The 80,000 sq ft building was sold by Savills Investment Management on behalf of the Employees Provident Fund in Malaysia. 11/12 St James’s Square is multi-let to several tenants including Blackstone and Marble Bar Asset Management.

EG reports that electric car manufacturer Tesla is closing its showroom on Oxford Street, W1, just a year after opening, citing difficulty adapting the store to its retailing ambitions. The US firm agreed a deal for 3,000 sq ft at 449 Oxford Street W1, on a 10-year lease in 2015 for a rent of around £1m pa. However at 3,000 sq ft, the space is only large enough to display one car. The Oxford Street shop sits within a Tribeca Holdings-owned block opposite Selfridges and is classified under planning conditions as A1 general retail. 

EG reports that Jewellery retailer Swarovski is closing its 137 Regent Street, W1 shop as its lease ends, 12 years after opening its doors. Landlord the Crown Estate is in talks with fashion brand Sandro to re-let the 1,000 sq ft Regent Street shop.