London commercial schemes set to go ahead
Major development schemes in The City London were given the go-ahead this week, indicating a thaw in commercial sector activity, according to reports in Building and Construction News. Meanwhile, there is optimism that Tax Increment Financing could provide a new funding mechanism for major regeneration projects.
Land Securities has confirmed plans to start three new developments in central London in 2011. The developer has submitted a planning application to redevelop the Ashdown House office building, which covers 21,370 sqm in Victoria near Westminster Cathedral, for completion in late 2012.
It will refurbish the 7,010 sq m 110 Canon Street building, targeting a mid-2012 completion.
And a planning application has been submitted for a single 28,000 sq m building on the site of 30 Ludgate Hill and 60 Old Bailey, near St Paul’s Cathedral, with construction scheduled to start after August 2011 for completion by early 2014.
Announcing positive half-year results, Land Securities’ chief executive Francis Salway was optimistic for future activity in the retail sector, saying: “We have commenced developments selectively when supported by retailers through pre-lettings. And we see further opportunities in this area, particularly in edge-of-town locations targeted by supermarkets and other retailers.”
South of the river, plans to redevelop the Battersea Power Station under the £1 billion Nine Elms scheme in south London have been approved by Wandsworth Council, reports Construction News.
Architect Rafael Viñoly’s masterplan will create over 3,400 new homes, 1.7m sq ft of office space and 1.5m sq ft of commercial space.
According to the paper, Battersea could be one of the first projects to benefit from tax increment financing, a new funding method proposed in the government’s regional growth white paper last month. This would allow councils to borrow against increases in business rates that will result from new developments.
The scheme’s developer, Real Estate Opportunities, has also pledged over £200 million towards a two-station extension of the Northern line from Kennington to Battersea.
It’s thought the extension of the Northern Line required at Battersea should be viable for TIF, and the councils involved have confirmed they were looking at TIF as a means of funding parts of the project.