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Old December 19th, 2010, 05:22 AM   #2061
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Lots of great stuff happening in London for sure.
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Old December 19th, 2010, 08:19 AM   #2062
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im Zephaniah no Nic or wilgles. I deliver this message for him. Don't mess with the some of the most powerful people on the internet. Have fun.
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Old December 19th, 2010, 08:16 PM   #2063
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London super-lab approved for planning

HOK and PLP Architecture’s £500 million medical research centre in central London has been approved for planning by Camden council.



The UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation (UKCMRI) “super-laboratory” is a joint-venture between the Medical Research Council, Cancer Research UK, the Wellcome Trust and University College London.

The high-security facility will develop new treatments for illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, stroke and flu. At last night’s development control committee meeting, eight councillors voted in favour of the plans, four against and one abstained.

David Cooksey, chairman of UKCMRI, said: “This will accelerate our ability to treat disease – bringing benefits to patients through the NHS and to the economy by developing a sector in which the UK already excels.”

The planning application includes a package of community benefits totalling £10 million including improvement of local council housing stock and a district heating scheme. Earlier this year the UKCMRI drafted in KPF breakaway firm PLP Architecture to overhaul HOK’s design following concerns over the proposals from planners.
http://www.bdonline.co.uk/news/londo...010670.article
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Old December 20th, 2010, 01:05 AM   #2064
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BBC Broadcasting House was redeveloped

A view of the revamped BBC Broadcasting House from Langham Place, with the new extension pictured centre.



An aerial view of BBC Broadcasting House.



The curved facade of the extension blends in to the Grade II* listed 1930s building on the left. the new main reception is through the doors on the centre.



A night view of the new curved glass entrance.



The 4,000 sq m newsroom in the basement forms the heart of the extended building.



A view from the newsroom up through the atrium of the extension. The new building offers 80,000 sq m of production areas, studios and staff facilities.



The cafe, from which the public can watch journalists at work in the newsroom.



http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/gall...744980&index=0
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Old December 20th, 2010, 10:07 PM   #2065
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JP Morgan buys new London HQ, continues skyscraper

JP Morgan has bought the former Lehman Brothers building for its investment bank, while keeping its options open on plans to erect a new skyscraper nearby as its European headquarters. The US bank bought the Lehman building at 25 Bank Street in London's Canary Wharf financial district for 495 million pounds (USD 773.4 million), seller Canary Wharf Group (CWG) said on Monday, adding that the two groups would continue to develop the Riverside South site.

JP Morgan is still reviewing its plans for Riverside South, said John Garwood, secretary of Songbird Estates, majority owner of CWG. The site will potentially have a much larger building.

"They're (JPMorgan) going to review what their future requirements are going to be and they'll be looking at carrying on with a full design over the years to come," said Garwood. "But short term, we'll be building it up to street level and then we'll obviously also be reviewing what's best to go on that site." JPMorgan and the CWG, which owns the majority of the Canary Wharf district's property, had stopped building a conspicious new headquarters on the Riverside South site earlier this year, triggering speculation JPMorgan would axe the costly project, under pressure from negative sentiment against banks.

"These properties are long-term investments and represent our continued commitment to London as one of the world's most important financial centres," JPMorgan Chairman and Chief Executive Jamie Dimon said in a statement.

The Canary Wharf Group -- which is majority owned by Songbird Estates -- said construction work would recommence immediately to bring the development to the street level and that it had extended its development agreement with JPM until October 2016. Shares in Songbird, whose top shareholders include Qatar's sovereign wealth fund with 20% and China Investment Corp with 12.6%, were up 3.3% at 140 pence by 1018 GMT, ahead of the UK property stocks index which was flat.

CWG also said it had recently agreed terms with insurer AIG for the termination of the rental cover facility at 25 Bank Street for a payment of 144.5 million pounds related to the termination of Lehman's lease after the U.S. investment bank collapsed in 2008.

JPMorgan said in a separate statement it had also agreed to purchase 60 Victoria Embankment, which it had been leasing since 1991 for its Treasury and Securities Services division. It did not give a price for the deal.
http://www.moneycontrol.com/news/wor...er_506133.html

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JP Morgan Chooses London for European HQ

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson has today (Monday, 20 December) welcomed international banking giant JP Morgan's plans to base its European headquarters at a new building in the capital, providing a major boost to the City and reaffirming confidence in London's financial sector.

JP Morgan, which employs about 11,000 people across London, has confirmed it will purchase 25 Bank Street in Canary Wharf, a purpose built complex which was designed specifically for a global financial firm. The offices will house JP Morgan's entire investment banking division, which is currently spread across four separate buildings in the capital.

The bank has also confirmed it is committed to developing Canary Wharf's Riverside South area, providing future flexibility for its many other employees in the capital. The development comprises 1.9 million square feet of office space - which would make it more than twice the size of the HSBC Tower on completion.

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: "This is a tremendous coup for London and for the UK, which rightly reflects the prevailing confidence in the capital. "Banking is one of the few global industries in which we truly excel. The City contributes about nine per cent of Britain's GDP, and a whole wealth of professions and trades depend upon it either directly or indirectly.

"JP Morgan's commitment to London will help ensure the capital retains its position as a banking powerhouse, which drives the UK economy and attracts the brightest and best stars from the financial world."
http://www.freshbusinessthinking.com...or+European+HQ
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Old December 21st, 2010, 05:01 PM   #2066
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5 Broadgate In Depth

Acres of press has been printed and published about Make Architecture's 5 Broadgate, the newly planned headquarters for UBS, but what about the development itself and the specifics behind it?

In massing the building, a single block has been taken with a series of indentations added to make the floorplates more functional whilst still retaining as much regularity to their layout as possible.

This has allowed the architects to come up with something that has three standard floors, one for trading and support that is almost completely a regular rectangle, one for conferences and meetings with has voices and indentations cut into it for terraces and atrias, and another one for offices without terraces but with spaces to create internal courtyards.

Having been designed for UBS, the developer is aiming at their largest single tenant with one building giving them an "all in one" headquarters. The scheme starts with the ground floor that will contain the entrances, an auditorium and various spaces for employees to mill around, plus the added attraction of them being able to publicly exhibit much of their corporate art collection.

Above that will be an amenity floor offering a gym and company restaurant and then from levels two to five will be the trading floors of approximately 6,000 square metres each. These are large enough to 750 traders on each separate level. Filling level six will be the trading support floor, and then meeting rooms and offices with large outside terraces on eight and nine. From above here to level twelve will be more office floors, with the building topped with the plant level. This will correspond roughly in height to the likes of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill's nearby Exchange House.

The façade of the building is designed to be dominated by gun-metal, chosen because it is neutral in nature like much of the surrounding Broadgate Centre, whilst the strong appearance with its recessed windows is supposed to communicate a feeling of "substance and solidarity".

In coming up with a single monolithic building, the project fills the site of both 4 and 6 Broadgate and cuts off the through path that there is going between them to Sun Street. To compensate for this the scheme promises a new public area dubbed Sun Street Square on the north-west corner of the site although the design means that this will suffer from a greater level of overshadowing than before.

Regardless of how successfully the building interacts at ground level it is likely to sail through the planning system. The City of London will be eager to keep UBS where they are, rather than run the risk of losing them to Canary Wharf, so it is with this in mind that construction of the substructure could start as early as January 2012 with the shell and core finished in mid-2014.
http://www.skyscrapernews.com/news.php?ref=2731
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Old December 21st, 2010, 06:56 PM   #2067
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New King’s Cross offices for Tait Technologies

Media company Tait Technologies last week signed up for new office space in King’s Cross at The Stables, 48 Wicklow Street, London, WC1. The hi-tech firm is taking 1,265 sq ft on the ground floor of the property for their new London offices.

Founded in 2010, Tait Technologies – a joint venture between Tait Towers and Frederic Opsomer – brings together some of the entertainment industry’s most experienced and creative minds.

Headquartered in Belgium, Tait Technologies specialises in video scenic convergence and offers its clients in the entertainment, corporate and architectural markets solutions ranging from the rental of “off-the-shelf” products to the design and development of custom-made, project-specific innovations.

Commenting on the letting on behalf of landlord Grosvenor Securities, Richard Silver of Hatton Real Estate said: “This was the perfect property for Tait Technologies, as they needed an office to be close to the transport of the Eurostar at St Pancras, King’s Cross.”
http://www.freeofficesearch.co.uk/Of...r=December2010
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Old December 22nd, 2010, 01:13 AM   #2068
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Make Plan Massive Wembley Proposal

Working on behalf of Quintain Estates, Make Architecture has drawn up a new outline masterplan for part of the redevelopment of Wembley in the north of London.



The plans are for the north-western part of the 85 acres that Quintain owns and take into account the area immediately adjoining Wembley Arena and also the soon to be under construction Brent Council civic centre. This section of the project will be comprised of approximately 160,000 square metres of floor space in a cluster of of over a dozen buildings over eight blocks. These vary from 3-5 storey townhouses up to a 20-storey apartment tower on Fulton Road.

This 160,000 square metre figure is the overall cap for the development - it is up to the developer to decide how to divvy it up. The application includes anything from 815 to 1,300 new housing units taking up from 65,000 square metres to 100,000 square metres of space and the majority of the project, plus hotels, office space, retail and leisure uses and all the associated infrastructure between the buildings.

There is a great variation in the quantum figures of the application meaning that the council can approve these and the developer will then work between the lines and be able to reconfigure it in detail to fit the precise market conditions at the time.

Improvements to the area at ground level include what would be a conventional public space to the north of the civic centre with several routes running east-west through the scheme to improve permeability. On the western edge of the site Make has designed several pocket spaces with cafes and restaurants to provide additional outdoor space as well as link directly into the main square, whilst the buildings along Olympic Way are masterplanned to help respect the scale of the nearby Wembley Stadium rather than block the views.

With so much to construct however, development is likely to be years away and done in a piecemeal fashion, just as it has been in the area already, not least as sales of existing residential blocks have been slow and the developer has been forced to act as a landlord and rent out the unsold units rather than keep them empty.

Quintain Estates expect to start work on block NW08 first, more student housing for their IQ fund business, however other active developments being worked on in the area that are not featured in the masterplan include the London Designer Outlet that is now 40% pre-let, and a brand new Hilton Hotel which is under construction.
http://www.skyscrapernews.com/news.php?ref=2729
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Old December 22nd, 2010, 04:07 AM   #2069
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Luxury hotel to open by Tower of London

A new luxury hotel near the Tower of London is being planned following the £100 million purchase of 10 Trinity Square by a Far Eastern consortium.

The Grade II listed former Port of London Authority headquarters was bought from US property investor Thomas Enterprises by the Singapore-based investment firm KOP Properties and Beijing developers the Reignwood Group.

With plans to complete the conversion in time for the London 2012 Olympic Games, the hotel will be managed by Franklyn Hotels & Resorts, which already operates luxury London hotels The Cadogan and Durley House.

Built in 1922 by Sir Edwin Cooper, the building played host to the inaugural meeting of the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1946. Ong Chih Ching, CEO of KOP Group, acknowledged this significance, saying: “We recognise that this is a historical place that is important to the British people, and we are committed to upgrade this monument to make it even more impressive.”

Speaking for acquisition partners Reignwood Group, chairman Yan Bin added: “We are pleased to be partnering KOP on this project, who share our vision of restoring the historic and magnificent 10 Trinity Square, to return it to being the premier address in London.”
http://www.thedrinksbusiness.com/ind...2094&Itemid=66
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Old December 23rd, 2010, 04:03 PM   #2070
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Mayor of London Boris Johnson gives backing to Battersea Power Station plan

Mayor of London Boris Johnson today gave his backing to the redevelopment of the iconic Battersea Power Station. His support of the massive redevelopment project, which follows last month's planning permission approval by Wandsworth Council, brings the prospect of a major extension to the Northern Line closer to becoming a reality. The £4bn project will see 3,400 new homes built on the site and the creation of more than 20 acres of public space. It is also expected about 15,000 new jobs will be created within Battersea Power Station alone.

The station proposal, submitted by Real Estate Opportunities Plc (REO), was referred to the Mayor as an application of strategic importance as it is deemed an integral part of the GLA Group’s wider Vauxhall-Nine Elms-Battersea Opportunity Area - one of the largest regeneration proposals being considered in the capital. REO's plan includes a commitment of more than £200m in funding towards a two-station extension of the Northern Line from Kennington.

Mr Johnson said: “Battersea Power Station has long been an iconic feature of the capital’s skyline, and these plans will make sure that status is retained for years to come. The building was once a vital motor helping to power the capital. With its future secured through this regeneration, it will once again play a part in driving London’s economy."

Rob Tincknell, Director of REO, said: "I am delighted that the Mayor of London has supported the redevelopment of Battersea Power Station, bringing us even closer to delivering the regeneration of one of London’s most iconic landmarks. We have worked very closely with local interest groups and residents to develop a scheme which we believe will be of huge benefit to the local community."

The next stage of the process will see the application considered by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.
-- Link to Wandsworth Guardian article --
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Old December 24th, 2010, 04:23 AM   #2071
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London Office Market Leads the World as Rising Rents Draw Global Investors

London’s commercial property market has probably drawn the most investment for the second consecutive year as prospects of rising rental income attract cash from as far afield as Hong Kong, Qatar and Canada.

Sales of existing commercial property in the UK capital totaled $13.9 billion in the first nine months, more than in any other city, according to Real Capital Analytics Inc. Some of the biggest deals of the year were announced in the final quarter. “There’s a massive surplus of investment capital looking for a home, and the one thing in common is a desire for yield,” Dan Fasulo, RCA’s managing director, said in an interview. “A core London office property at a 5 or 6 percent yield looks fantastic against the alternatives.”

Cash-rich pension funds, sovereign wealth funds, insurers and wealthy individuals bought shops, offices and even luxury homes in central London as low interest rates and concern that the global economy will deteriorate made other investments riskier and less appealing. The city also ranked first in 2009 with sales of $16.8 billion, New York-based RCA said.

In the past two months, Norway’s sovereign wealth fund agreed to pay 448 million pounds ($692 million) for a stake in Regent Street. JPMorgan Chase & Co. purchased a new European headquarters building for 495 million pounds. Dutch and Canadian retirement funds signed an 872 million-pound deal giving them part of the Westfield Stratford City mall next to the site of the 2012 Olympics.

In May, the sovereign wealth fund of gas-rich Qatar bought the Harrods Ltd. luxury department store for 1.5 billion pounds. “Negative real interest rates mean you aren’t going to buy government bonds, corporate bonds have already had an incredible rally, gold doesn’t give you a yield and the stock market is volatile,” Fasulo said.

Tokyo, New York

Tokyo ranked second after London based on existing commercial property sales in the first nine months, at $13.1 billion. Hong Kong was third, followed by Paris and New York. RCA’s final rankings for 2010 are due in February.

If land deals for development are included along with existing buildings, Shanghai attracted the most money in the first three quarters, at $21 billion, the data show. About 81 percent of that figure is for development projects.

New York held the top spot in the world for commercial real estate sales in 2007, at the height of the debt-fueled investment boom. It slipped to second place after Tokyo in 2008, and to seventh place last year, RCA data show. In the first nine months of 2010, sales of existing New York commercial property totaled $5.8 billion.

London’s Recovery

London was one of the first real estate markets to see a pickup in deals and prices after the financial meltdown. The recovery began in the second half of 2009, ending two years of declines that wiped 50 percent from central London office values. Property became even more affordable for foreign buyers as the pound dropped. Sterling is now 23 percent below its September 2007 value against a basket of other currencies.

In London’s West End, where office leases cost the most in the world, rental income totals about 4 percent of a Grade-A building’s value on average. The ratio, known as the capitalization rate, was 3.5 percent when prices peaked in 2008 and rose to as high as 5.5 percent a year later as the financial crisis caused values to fall, CB Richard Ellis Group Inc. said.

“You saw a huge weight of money coming in from overseas, attracted by the double-whammy of super-cheap pricing and the pound effect,” said Damian Corbett, head of West End office sales at Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. Investors may start to look away from London in 2011 as property in parts of the US becomes good value again, said RCA’s Fasulo. US deals may double next year and account for almost a quarter of global transactions, he said.

US Undervalued

US offices are the most undervalued real estate in the world and investors have almost $100 billion earmarked for deals there, according to broker DTZ Holdings Plc.

Fasulo predicts “a wave of new investment” over the next six months in Manhattan worth about $10 billion. The average capitalization rate for a prime office building in the borough is 6 percent, and prices have scope to climb by about 4 percent, according to DTZ. London’s reign seems secure for the time being. Corbett estimates that there are 1,000 wealthy individuals looking to buy prime commercial properties in the British capital for as much as 200 million pounds, compared with about four in 2008.

Pramerica Real Estate Investors, acting for a wealthy family that it declined to identify, acquired Perella Weinberg Partners’ London headquarters in Mayfair for 47.8 million pounds in September. The sale was at a capitalization rate of 3.9 percent, brokers NB Real Estate and King Sturge estimate.

Malaysia Fund

Malaysia’s Employees Provident Fund announced plans in August to invest 1 billion pounds in UK real estate, citing the “stable and highly liquid” market and laws that secure titles and protect landlords.

The fund acquired 40 Portman Square, an office and residential building in central London, on Dec. 2 for 181 million pounds, or a capitalization rate of 5.57 percent. It bought Visa Europe’s headquarters in Paddington for 156 million pounds last month. The purchases were confirmed by people with knowledge of the deals, who declined to be identified because the information is confidential.

Investors in London expect capitalization rates on properties they own to go up as rents increase, said Jason Winfield, who heads DTZ’s UK sales department.

DTZ predicts that prime office rents in the West End will climb 38 percent to 110 pounds a square foot in 2014 from last year’s low of 80 pounds. In the City of London financial district, they will rise 55 percent to 67.50 pounds a square foot. City offices are still priced 10 percent below fair value and West End properties are 5.5 percent undervalued, according to the broker.

Outside the Capital

The gains have been mainly limited to the capital, RCA data show. Elsewhere in Britain, concern about the impact of government spending cuts to reduce the national debt has held back property investment. Tenants are competing for the best new office space in London after the financial crisis caused construction to slow. Drivers Jonas Deloitte estimates that office construction in central London is the lowest in at least 20 years, and the prospect of constrained supply has drawn some overseas investors.

Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System acquired a 50 percent stake in the 340 million-pound “Cheesegrater” tower project in the City in October.

Money isn’t just flowing into shops and offices. The euro region’s debt crisis enticed more continental Europeans to seek a “safe haven” in London, where luxury residential prices are 14 percent lower in euro terms than at the peak in early 2008, according to Knight Frank LLP.

“Some of the uncertainties in other cities helped London,” Fasulo said.
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-1...investors.html
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Old December 26th, 2010, 02:58 AM   #2072
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Foreign cash lifts number of £1m homes in London

The number of properties in London worth £1 million or more jumped by 11% to 123,236 this year as foreign investors flocked to the capital and pushed up demand.


Millionaire's town: nine in 10 areas with the most million-pound homes are in London

Figures published today show four out of every five £1 million properties in Britain are in London and the south-east. The research by property website Zoopla shows the number of millionaire properties in London growing at almost twice the rate recorded around the UK.

Nine out of the 10 areas that feature the most million-plus homes are in London, led by Kensington, where more than half of all homes are worth seven figures. Other areas with the highest proportion of property millionaires are Chelsea, Barnes, West Brompton, Westminster, Hampstead and the only area outside London, Virginia Water in Surrey.

Nick Leeming, commercial director at Zoopla, said: “The North versus South wealth divide is now starker than ever. The prime market in the South has been impacted far less by the mortgage squeeze as a result of the inflow of foreign money and the strength in the City keeping demand for £1 million pads at peak levels.”

Overall London property values are expected to remain flat in 2011, but agents expect “millionaire homes” to continue to rise.

Dominic Agace, chief executive of London-based estate agent Winkworth, said: “Next year we're expecting prices in prime central London markets to rise 5%. Much of the money is coming from overseas. This year, 70% of our central London applicants were international buyers. The currency is still discounted and finance is affordable for those with equity.”

Jones Lang LaSalle's latest residential market forecast predicted London property prices will rise above 9% per year between 2012 and 2014. Richard Dalton, director of estate agency chain Savills, said: “We have seen a rise this year in the number of properties going for over £1 million. The big driver is the huge international demand. Two very pricey locations are the housing development at 1 Hyde Park and Eaton Square, which continues to see substantial transactions.

“We have had quite a few transactions over £10 million this year. Certain flats very rarely come to market and when they do people grab the opportunity to buy them.”
http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standa...s-in-london.do
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Old December 26th, 2010, 08:56 PM   #2073
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Old December 27th, 2010, 03:30 AM   #2074
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London readies for its global close-up

If there's an "it" city for 2011, it's London. Not only will London see Kate and William's royal wedding — 30 years after Charles and Diana's vows captivated the world's heart — but that's also the run-up to two major events in 2012: the queen's diamond jubilee and the Summer Olympics and Paralympics.


Buckingham Palace is quiet now, but in 2011 and 2012 it promises to be abuzz with activity feting the royals.

The prince and his bride plan to tie the knot April 29 in Westminster Abbey in a ceremony that is being described as less than lavish, given the economic times. British tourism officials hope the wedding prompts royal watchers to follow in Kate and William's footsteps and see a "younger" London. (Put Boujis, Chinawhite and Pangaea clubs on your itinerary.)

Details about the celebration of Queen Elizabeth II's 60-year reign are still developing, but it will include an extended weekend of festivities June 2-5. (Expect lots of business closures then.) But that's not until 2012.

If you're in London in 2011, you can see some of the changes taking place for the Olympics, which will transform parts of East London from a grubby, industrial area into a wetlands bird habitat and affordable housing (courtesy of the Olympic Village).

Stratford, a fairly undisturbed community in East London, was selected as the site of the Summer Games for being just that: an untouched part of the city in need of investment, refurbishment and revitalization. The London Olympics Committee has faced considerable criticism from locals and the media on whether the displacement of businesses from that area will lead to new, more successful development and commercial activity.

At the moment, though, it's bustling. The Westfield Stratford City shopping center, a digital image just a year ago, is morphing into a massive structure near the Olympic Park that will house 250 stores, countless restaurants, offices, a movie theater, a London Underground station and perhaps even a casino. This one building will outdo the other mega shopping centers in London. And come September, when it opens, authorities hope it will encourage employment in the local community by adding as many as 9,000 jobs.

Small organizations are trying to boost appreciation for East London and its landmarks, giving visitors a peek into it pre-Olympics. Buzz Stop, a free app, has become a popular way to promote East London's businesses, artists, parks, sites, restaurants, cafes, pubs and more. With reviews by locals, Buzzstop hopes to bring some of that traffic to the area during the Games.

As an Eastender, I hope it does. East London is rich in stories; with any luck, the London Olympics will showcase the stories and lives of the community to its global audience.
http://www.latimes.com/travel/la-tr-...,6790234.story
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Old January 1st, 2011, 09:57 PM   #2075
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West End office rents will grow by more than 8% over the next 4 years

Leading chartered surveyors and property consultants Cluttons has released its December 2010 West End Offices Update.

Head of Commercial division, John Wood comments, "Whilst occupier demand continues to improve in the West End, incentives are falling, with rents moving up across most areas as reduced availability becomes increasingly evident. Prime rents are now at £90 per sq ft, with hedge funds continuing to fuel this end of the occupier market. Availability of Grade A space continues to fall, and the decline in new supply projected over the medium term will further restrict availability.

"With many lease expiries due over the next two years and a drop in supply over the same period, the market is likely to continue to favour landlords, with further upward movement of Grade A rents as occupiers fight for quality office space. We forecast rents will average in excess of 8% per annum growth over the next four years.”

Highlights of the research include:

- Availability of offices in the West End was down 9% to 4.24m sq ft as take-up rose by 28% to 1.53m sq ft.

- The vacancy rate fell to 5.9% from 6.5% of stock.

- Completions totalled 716,900 sq ft, up 141%. Space under construction increased by 19.1% to 1.44m sq ft.

- Headline rental figures moved up, with the prime rent now at £90 per sq ft.
The volume of transactions was up 10%, totalling £1.96bn.

Take up of office space in Noho/Fitzrovia was down and availability up which went against the general trend in the West End. Investment activity in the area however was at its highest level since 2007. Meanwhile it appears that investors are cautious about investing in offices in Victoria as a result of public spending cuts.
http://www.freeofficesearch.co.uk/Of...est-End-London
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Old January 2nd, 2011, 12:28 PM   #2076
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TfL highlights how London businesses are benefiting from Boris Bikes

Transport for London has revealed how London’s Barclays Cycle Hire Scheme, launched at the end of July this year, has not only helped individuals get around the city, but is also benefiting businesses in the capital

In the first five months of operation, more than 2 million journeys have been made using the fleet of navy blue bikes, and there are in excess of 110,000 members of the scheme, which was also opened up to casual users last month.

While much of the use of the bikes is in some shape or form work-related, whether that be commuters on the last leg of their journey to work, or someone whizzing around town between appointments – something we’ve done ourselves when road.cc business has taken us to the capital – it’s clear that an increasing number of organisations are harnessing the scheme for their daily operations.

The attractions for businesses whose activities permit them to use the scheme in some way are obvious – assuming the trip length is 30 minutes or less, they only have to pay the access fee of £1 a day, which falls sharply if extended periods are bought, journey times are predictable, with no worries about traffic hold-ups, it benefits the workforce’s health and, of course, reinforces a company’s green credentials.

Some companies maintain that there’s also a certain kudos that comes with their customers being aware that they are using the so-called Boris Bikes to help carry out their duties. According to Kulveer Ranger, the Mayor's transport adviser, "Both commuters and businesses have fully embraced Barclays Cycle Hire which is testimony to the guile and ingenuity that makes London such a smart place to do business.

“It shows a real shift in the culture of the city as it reaps the rewards of cycling; both financial and environmental. This is good news for everyone who wants to live and work in a cleaner, greener city.”

Mr Ranger continues: “I hope this inspires businesses to take on other aspects of the cycle revolution such as the Barclays Cycle Superhighways and spurs them on to improve facilities for those who are regularly using two wheels."

Deanna Oppenheimer, Vice-Chair, Global Retail Banking, CEO Western Europe and CEO UK Retail Banking at Barclays, sponsors of the scheme and London’s Barclays Cycle Superhighways, says that the bank is “delighted that the London business community is embracing and witnessing the benefits of Barclays Cycle Hire.

"The scheme is having a profound social and economic benefit on the city of London,” she adds. “Users of the scheme get healthier and more productive at work, and research shows that increases to transport capacity improves opportunities for investment and jobs in London. Already, the public and employers are making cost savings by using a cheap and sustainable mode of transport."

TfL has highlighted a number of specific examples of businesses using the scheme that help explain just what the attractions and benefits are of incorporating use of the hire bikes in their daily activities. Pest control firm Cleankill, for instance, uses the bikes as a means of avoiding traffic congestion and lower its carbon footprint, while for IT services company Octavia, the key attraction lies in reducing travel costs.

Ian Miller of Cleankill is enthusiastic in his endorsement of the scheme. “It’s brilliant,” he says. “I used to use the tube and occasionally my car, but now I hire a bike. I find it's faster than other forms of transport and I feel much healthier for it. Our customers are very keen that we are a 'green' pest control operation so they love the fact that I use a bike to reach them - plus I'm saving the company money."

Meanwhile, CEO of Southwark-based Octavia, Giles Sirett, explains the reasoning behind his company’s adoption of the scheme: "We carry out around 100 business journeys a week across London and were keen to reduce the amount of time and money we spend travelling to jobs. We have a docking station located outside our offices and as most of our journeys are under 30 minutes, the cycle scheme proves to be very inexpensive and a fast way of getting to our customers."

Two other companies to have embraced the scheme are Dogstar Design, based in Clerkenwell, and the InterContinental Hotel on Park Lane.

For Dogstar, the principal reasons behind using hire bikes to those of Octavia – it saves time and money, as managing director Simon Davies outlines: "The Barclays Cycle Hire scheme has completely changed the way we get around the City to visit our clients. In these times of reduced budgets we are able to save ourselves and our clients money by using the bikes to travel for free to meetings, at the same time we have reduced the amount of time we spend travelling."

As previously reported here on road.cc, The InterContinental Hotel in Park Lane used multiple memberships of the scheme to enable overseas visitors, or UK residents who weren’t members, to benefit from it.

Even though the scheme has now been opened up to casual users, the ability to provide guests with what is in effect temporary membership is an added service that the hotel can offer, with Head Concierge Simon Rose saying: "Barclays Cycle Hire is great way for our guests to see parts of the city that they would be less likely to uncover travelling by Tube.”

Besides those organisations using the scheme specifically for their own purposes, one segment of the London business community has also received a tangible benefit from it – bike retailers, with TfL saying that many have seen greater interest in cycle clothing since the launch.

Caz Nicklin, founder and Director of online business Cyclechic.co.uk, which operates from offices in Shoreditch, said: "We have noticed a rise in sales since the scheme started in July. It seems to have opened up cycling to a wider spectrum of people, who ordinarily would not have thought to cycle in London.

“I also use the bikes day to day for popping to our warehouse and attending meetings around town and find them fantastically convenient," she adds.
http://road.cc/content/news/28798-tf...ng-boris-bikes
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Old January 2nd, 2011, 05:35 PM   #2077
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@PortoNuts

I have to ask you a question about the office development in London since you seem to be well informed.

With the upcoming construction of the Shard, Heron Tower and the Pinnacle do you think that the investors in those projects will see good returns or not? Because even though being a tenant in one of those towers will surely give some prestige to a company, the rent will most probably be much higher than in some smaller office buildings which are getting developed throughout the city and let's face at this moment all companies want to save. Already that the investors in the Pinnacle are struggling with their loan for the purchase of the land, I don't see them seeing a good return from this investment especially with the flood of new office space that will become reality in a couple of years.
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Old January 2nd, 2011, 10:52 PM   #2078
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Well, I'm not a property agent but I think they will be successful because I've been reading for a long time that office space won't be enough in a few years. Demand will be a lot bigger than supply in short term according to developers and property companies. So that 'flood of office space' is probably needed. Investment has been rising for quite a while now.

The office space provided by Heron Tower or the Shard is a drop in the sea to the surprise of many. Investment has been rising steadly and some high profile projects have been announced, like the new headquarters for Bloomberg and UBS, which shows confidence in the City market.

But this is just a point of view, don't take this as an absolute truth.
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Old January 3rd, 2011, 03:56 PM   #2079
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5 Broadgate, London – review

-- Link to The Observer article --



Good architects should be able to walk and chew gum at the same time. That is, meet their clients' needs, design well-made and sustainable buildings, and also add something to their building's setting, such as work with their surroundings to create a place more harmonious/ fascinating/ humane/ pleasurable than it was before. 5 Broadgate, a mighty money factory proposed for the City of London, fails to do this, even though its architect is Ken Shuttleworth of Make, who has been lavishly praised by all three of the chairmen, to date, of the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (Cabe). "He is one of the best hidden talents in the UK," said one. The second said he was one of the top five architects in the world. The third called his work "extraordinary". Could an architect so brilliant not masticate while ambulating?

5 Broadgate meets every wish of its future occupier, the Swiss bank UBS. It offers 700,000 sq feet of office space, including a stack of dealer floors the size of football pitches. It aims to set high standards of sustainability. It will be, Shuttleworth says, "an expression of the stability of the bank".

To achieve all this requires something big, consuming the sites of two existing buildings. A pedestrian route across the site will be closed, forcing people to squeeze round the edges of the new building's bulk. A covered arcade through the block might have been possible, but this is banned for security reasons, as are shops or cafes at the building's base. The ban is a deal-breaker, apparently: if the City's planners insisted on these humanising touches, UBS would up and go – to Canary Wharf or, worse, Frankfurt.

You might think that UBS is being unduly touchy – it could surely hire enough security to keep al-Qaida or student rioters out of an arcade or coffee shop – but it is not surprising that the planners would want to avert a Swiss flounce. Given that the shaky edifice of the British economy is in thrall to financial services, they would not want to bring down such a heavy blow for the sake of a bit of permeability for pedestrians. There is not much Shuttleworth can do with these macroeconomic forces, and it could be argued that the accommodation of brute finance is what the special enclave of the City of London is about. He can't pretend his building is not big. But he could try to reconcile the scale of the new building with its surroundings.

The site is in Broadgate, the 1980s development highly praised for the unity of its design, for the ways it makes a whole greater than the sum of its parts and its open spaces more important than individual buildings. There have been calls for Broadgate to be listed, which would be overly precious, but one might hope that a new building respects its principles. It shouldn't try to mimic its neighbours, but its rhythms, proportions and materials could create resonances or rapport between the new and the old.

Instead, Make's design announces with maximum force that it is an aloof fortress. Bankers, it says, are people apart from the rest of us. Its windows are defensive horizontal strips in a cliff-like wall. There are terraces high up for the use of UBS staff, but this glimmer of life is suppressed by the hard geometry. It is armour-plated in aluminium (an energy-ravenous material, by the way, although Shuttleworth says he will work with manufacturers to make this the greenest possible aluminium). There is no softening: not a curve or a piece of greenery. The existing buildings, which have layers of stone screens in contrast to the new one's sheer metal, are ignored. We are invited to admire it as a vast piece of sculpture, where the bank's wish for an expression of power perfectly aligns with the architect's desire for a singular artistic statement.

One of the best things that ever happened to Shuttleworth was when Make, now seven years old, was newly founded. His former employer, Norman Foster, had him erased from a group photograph like a victim of Stalin's purges, which supported the image of him as the suppressed creative genius behind Foster projects such as the Gherkin. With the help of some fervent press, a legend was created of "Ken the Pen", a dazzling whiz of a draftsman. He also combined his radical reputation with securing positions of influence. He became a Cabe commissioner and a member of its Design Review Committee, which judges the quality of significant projects. He became Cabe's "champion for schools and the East Midlands".

Commissions flooded in, for significant commercial developments, for private homes for property developers, for the Olympic handball arena, for schools. Make's reputation rode high, even when its completed buildings consisted mostly of a judo hall in Dartford, and the Jubilee Campus at Nottingham University, a set of wedges mottled with a psoriasis of red cladding. The campus was nominated for Building Design magazine's Carbuncle Cup, for the worst building of the year, albeit also for the prime minister's Better Public Building award, sponsored by Cabe.

Make presents itself as everything Foster and Partners are not: collegiate, open to ideas from even its most junior staff, and with no house style. Publications about the practice include pictures of staff weddings and holiday snaps. Profits and credit are shared. It calls itself a "studio", stressing its creative side. Shuttleworth says he wants to create "the best buildings in the world" and above all be sustainable. "I want to save the planet," he says.

Make stress how important clients are, how each one is special, and how its buildings respond to each unique set of needs. Clients of Make praise the company as responsive and professional, and these virtues are obviously important ones. What is lacking is a core of principles: a Make building tends to be as good as its brief, with Ken the Pen's flourishes giving a dressing of art. If UBS wants a defensive-aggressive citadel, it gets it. On another site in the City of London, called London Wall Place, where the planners are being more demanding, it has produced a more subtle design. In Birmingham they have built the Cube, a block of shops, offices and flats, which brings a bit of flash and sparkle to a site that probably needed it.

Make is a perfect distillation of 00s architecture, where genuine professionalism, slick stylishness, and a real if well-advertised commitment to the environment are boosted by hype and infinite adaptability to the demands of the market. This combination makes it an above-average commercial practice. It does not make its employees the hidden geniuses, or the world-top-five architects that their mates at Cabe or some excitable journalists claimed them to be. It says much for the poverty of architectural discourse that anyone could have imagined that they were.
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Old January 3rd, 2011, 06:33 PM   #2080
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Originally Posted by PortoNuts View Post
Well, I'm not a property agent but I think they will be successful because I've been reading for a long time that office space won't be enough in a few years. Demand will be a lot bigger than supply in short term according to developers and property companies. So that 'flood of office space' is probably needed. Investment has been rising for quite a while now.

The office space provided by Heron Tower or the Shard is a drop in the sea to the surprise of many. Investment has been rising steadly and some high profile projects have been announced, like the new headquarters for Bloomberg and UBS, which shows confidence in the City market.

But this is just a point of view, don't take this as an absolute truth.
Thanks for the answer Porto
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