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Old April 23rd, 2011, 07:42 PM   #2301
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Commercial property delivers £2bn London boost

According to property agent Cushman & Wakefield, the volume of property deals rose by 34pc year-on-year to £2.19bn. The upturn in the market was driven by overseas investors, who accounted for 53pc of deals in the City and 55pc in the West End, highlighting London's continued status as a magnet for global capital.

Clive Bull, head of central London investment at Cushman, said: "Demand remains strong from domestic and overseas investors as London continues to be perceived as a relatively safe haven for investment, especially with recent events around the world. With sterling still weak and an increase in stock likely with banks offloading assets, we are confident that 2011 will see volumes rise."

There were 24 deals in the City during the opening quarter of 2011, worth £1.6bn in total, including the acquisition of Goldman Sachs' headquarters by Joseph Lau for £280m.

In the West End, investment turnover fell from £1.06bn a year ago to £600m, although there are a further £850m of properties close to a deal. This decline was caused by constrained supply and helped to ensure Central London deals in January, February and March were 24pc down on the previous quarter.

In its first quarter report, rival agent Knight Frank said: "The [West End] market remains constrained by a lack of stock, with the few new opportunities being brought to the market attracting strong competition. The £998m of currently available stock consists of £388m of assets which have been marketed and not sold for three months or more due to strong pricing expectations by vendors."

Knight Frank added that the lack of supply is helping to shift investor demand towards new developments and secondary assets.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/n...don-boost.html
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Old April 24th, 2011, 04:37 PM   #2302
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New Roman House

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Old April 25th, 2011, 05:29 AM   #2303
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Bulgari Residences to Debut in London's Knightsbridge

Christie's International Real Estate has just announced the debut of the Bulgari Residences in London's Knightsbridge, a world-class development designed by the famed Italian fashion house as part of its upcoming luxury hotel. Six residences will be available in a phased release including one penthouse; we expect prices to be in the tens of millions of dollars.

Both the hotel and residences, slated to be ready in time for the 2012 London Olympics, will be distinguished by "exquisite concierge service, unparalleled architectural and design achievements," and Bulgari's heritage of "understated elegance and excellence." The architecture adheres to strict environmental building aesthetics without compromising luxury, and will include a "rooftop habitat which preserves London's treasured urban wildlife."

The Bulgari Hotel and Residences, London, are located near renowned shopping and cultural attractions such as Harrods, Harvey Nichols, the Royal Albert Hall, the Natural History Museum, as well as Hyde Park, on some of London's most expensive real estate.

"The Bulgari name stamps this opportunity to own in Knightsbridge with international provenance and a promise of excellence," says Giles Hannah, Director of European Sales for Christie's International Real Estate. "The Christie's and Bulgari brands, two respected luxury imprimaturs, are certain to resonate worldwide and further elevate the stature of this offering in London."
http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/1373...xury-hotel.htm
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Old April 25th, 2011, 09:52 PM   #2304
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Thailand property developer Sansiri target properties in London and New York

Leading Thai property developer Sansiri Group PLC has announced that over the next few years the company will focus on overseas property development. The group said they would be concentrating on London and New York where supply is low and demand for property is high.

The company’s first London project is due to be officially launched in May. Just six units will be available at the US$19.8 million property in South Kensington, which features Thai style interiors. “We are focusing on Thais who need an investment or want to buy a residence in London or New York, generating an average yield of four or five percent a year,” commented Srettha Thavisin, Sansiri Group president.

“The property markets in London and New York have shown good signs of recovery since the second half of last year, with banks in both markets starting to provide mortgages to home-buyers, and where the rental sector is also recovering. New York has a vacancy rate of only 2 per cent, which demonstrates strong demand for residences in the city. This is the first overseas project for the company,” he added.

The project is expected to achieve a net profit of at least fifteen percent and account for three percent of the company’s overall revenue target of 22 billion baht (US$735 million) for this financial year. The company also announced it is considering expanding into other locations such as Phuket, Koh Samui and Pattaya in Thailand.

“We are optimistic about the demand for residential projects this year, in the current absence of business risks that will impact the market. We are concerned only about the domino effect from the crisis in the Middle East and North Africa, which will affect oil prices. However, it is not possible to estimate the business effect from this risk.” Thavisin concluded.

Sansiri are due to start construction of a luxury condominium called Centre Point on Bangkok’s Wireless Road later this year. The property is due for completion in three years and when units go on sale prices are expected to be around US$13,400 per square metre; making it the most expensive condominium in Thailand.

Founded in 1984 Sansiri Group is one of the largest property developers in Thailand and the third Thai developer to invest in overseas projects recently. The other two are; Land & Houses with projects in the Philippines and Indonesia; and Pruksa Real Estate which has invested in the Maldives, India and Vietnam. The group are also the only property developer in South East Asia to win a Commendation for Excellence at the Asia Pacific Real Estate Awards.
http://pr-usa.net/index.php?option=c...3043&Itemid=34

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SilkRoad Technology Announces London Location

SilkRoad Technology, Inc., a provider of talent management solutions, announced Thursday its expansion of global operations with a new corporate office in London.

Giles Hodson, Managing Director, Northern Europe, will lead the office, which will service corporations in the United Kingdom, Nordics and Netherlands. SilkRoad has also opened corporate offices in France and Japan. “Our continued expansion and world-class leadership allow us to capitalize on the large market opportunity the Talent Management segment of SaaS provides,” said Andrew J. “Flip” Filipowski, Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of SilkRoad technology.

Prior to joining SilkRoad, Hodson was Sales Director for the UK at MrTed. Hodson also previously held senior roles at US vendor Vurv Technology and the European vendor StepStone Solutions. As Managing Director, Northern Europe, Hodson will spearhead the company’s expansion in the region.

The new office currently has four employees and is targeting growth to 10 employees by year-end and is responsible for handling client growth and brand awareness in the Northern Europe. Clients in the UK, Nordics and Netherlands include McAffee, Business Monitor and Euromonitor.
http://www.talentmgt.com/industry_ne...5363/index.php
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Old April 26th, 2011, 08:43 PM   #2305
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Brics herald a golden age for London

Frequently, many people in the UK and elsewhere in the West worry about the rise of Brazil, Russia, India and China, the so-called Bric nations that are becoming the key drivers of the world economy and possibly society.

When I tell people not to worry, that their success and prosperity will be beneficial to us, many give me (as the person who coined the acronym in 2001) that look, implying that the Bric phenomenon has taken me into some kind of world of mythology.

One country where I don't get this response much these days is Germany, where because of its remarkable success as a quality manufacturing exporter, the climb of the Bric nations, China especially, is helping the country enjoy one of its strongest economic phases since unification over 20 years ago.

Fine for them, say many Brits, but when people think about what we have to offer, they again roll their eyes, and say forget it. Not true. London, at least, looks to me increasingly like the Bric capital of the world. Not only the world's greatest international city, but also one that is set to harness the benefits of our rapidly changing world.

Let me give some evidence. Take Premier League soccer. Not without faults in terms of governance and standards, it has become the leading football league of the world. It is probably no coincidence that this is resulting in a re-emergence of London's football clubs and the clamour for ownership from wealthy foreigners.

One of course, Chelsea, is a direct consequence of one of the Brics, Russia. Arguably, another probable newcomer next year, Queens Park Rangers, is a product of another, with Lakshmi Mittal, the richest UK resident, of Indian descent. Could it be that more London clubs, buoyed by the attractions of our global reach, join the elite?

Already 25% of the teams in our league hail from London, unparalleled in any other world city I can think of. And football, to some extent, gives a rebuke to many of those who argue the spoils of globalisation are shared by the privileged few. For those clubs bought out with cash and not the dubious leverage of others, their fans rejoice in their chance to bask in the glory.

London's Bric benefits go beyond football. Our central London property market is generally driven by purchases from these countries, or other rapidly growing economic nations. Some complain this is driving housing out of the hands of normal citizens, but for Mayfair, Knightsbridge and similar areas, this is not new. Moreover, think of the spin-offs for others. Better restaurants for us all to enjoy, more jobs in services.

If it were just football and London house prices, I could see the benefits as more questionable, but it extends much further. I have often thought that if New York were to have the same time zone as us, modern life for London could be so different. The five hours' difference means New York is an awkward time for Beijing, Shanghai, Delhi, Mumbai and Moscow.

Of the four Bric countries, only Brazil works on a vaguely similar time zone. For international business of all shapes and varieties, London is perfectly placed. Centre of the world's time zones, well connected through technology and of course, our language the modern choice for communicating. For my business, international financial services, it is perfect. Despite the concerns about UK government policies towards banks, as well as a rolling back of tax benefits to non-domicile residents, London is highly attractive for international finance.

As some hedge-fund and private-equity operators disappear to Geneva, my guess is many will return, bored by the quietness and lack of choice. If they wait too long, they might not find the locations they want as they could be swamped by the London headquarters of expanding financial firms or other companies from the Bric world.

In January, I was invited to have lunch in a Schezuan restaurant, very close to Shepherd's Bush, the best in town according to my host. Soon after I arrived we were joined by the managing director of the UK operations of a major Chinese commodities firm. Its new office, it turns out, is the biggest building on Shepherds Bush Green.

Despite all the gloom about the retail world, the UK's luxury goods companies are thriving, as last week's results from Burberry demonstrated. Most of them are London based. It would be nice to have more.

I often get asked to speak to student events at LSE, LBS, City University and others. The halls are packed with students from the Bric countries, all paying probably highly attractive fees for their privilege. I can see the numbers multiplying dramatically if our policymakers allow it.

No doubt the challenges that go hand in hand with such a global city will remain immense, especially infrastructure, but the future for London as the Bric world marches forward looks bright. Let's celebrate that beyond just the Royal Wedding excitement.

http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/market...-for-london.do
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Old April 28th, 2011, 02:08 AM   #2306
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Sales of £2m London homes up 57% in two years

The number of residential properties worth £2m or more sold in London increased by 57% between 2008 and 2010, analysis of industry data by Investec Private Bank shows.

During the two-year period, the borough of Kensington and Chelsea saw a 57.5% rise in sales of properties worth £2m or more, from 240 to 378, making it the top borough for sales in this price range.

In 2010 Kensington and Chelsea accounted for 34% of all property sales of £2m or more in the capital and the average price of a detached property sold in the borough was just over £8m, an increase of 53.6% on 2008. The City of Westminster and Camden were the next two London boroughs to see the biggest number of properties sold for over £2m in 2010.

Jack Jones of Investec Specialist Private Bank says the London prime property market continues to hold up well despite economic uncertainties in the UK. He says: “There has been a huge increase in the number of multi-million pound properties sold, and the high level of demand for these homes is reflected in prices.

“London is still one of the most popular places in the world for ultra-high net worth individuals from around the world, and this is keeping the prime property market buoyant.”
http://www.mortgagestrategy.co.uk/ho...030125.article
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Old April 28th, 2011, 04:43 AM   #2307
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Qatari royals poised to help save £5.5bn Battersea scheme

The Qatari royal family is set to add Battersea Power Station to its London property collection alongside Harrods, Chelsea Barracks and the One Hyde Park apartments in Knightsbridge. The property arm of the Gulf emirate is in "advanced" talks with the struggling Irish owners of the Grade II* listed industrial icon about a rescue deal that would see it take a 50 per cent stake.

Dublin-based Real Estate Opportunities has been searching for a partner in the project but faces a race against time as £450million of loans have to be repaid by the end of August. The negotiations between Qatari Diar, which is controlled by the gas-rich state's ruling family, and REO are said to have progressed well although there is still no confirmed deal. Significantly, the publicity-shy Qatari company refused to deny it was about to make an offer for the power station, valued at £498million. Qatari Diar is chaired by Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabor al-Thani, the prime minister of Qatar, and is the developer of the Chelsea Barracks site in Belgravia.

Sheikh Hamad, cousin of the ruling Emir of Qatar, is the owner of the One Hyde Park development in Knightsbridge. He owns the best and highest triplex penthouse for which he paid a bargain £40.5million. Qatari companies have also acquired Harrods, the Shard of Glass at London Bridge Station, the US Embassy in Grosvenor Square and Park House opposite Selfridges in Oxford Street. The Emir, who is a close friend of Prince Charles, is attending the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton on Friday.

The £5.5billion REO project is seen as the last chance to save Europe's largest brick building, but it has been dragged into difficulties after its parent company Treasury Holdings, owned by Irish entrepreneur Johnny Ronan, got caught up in the Irish debt crisis. Plans for a massive business, leisure and housing scheme at the power station site were approved by Wandsworth council last year.
http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standa...rsea-scheme.do
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Old April 28th, 2011, 11:04 PM   #2308
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Guys & St Thomas Cancer Treatment Centre









http://www.richardrogers.co.uk/rende...=true&pageID=1
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Old April 29th, 2011, 09:15 AM   #2309
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Does that mean Guys is going to get new cladding?
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Old April 29th, 2011, 01:07 PM   #2310
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Originally Posted by SO143 View Post
Does that mean Guys is going to get new cladding?
This is a separate project but hopefully so.
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Old April 29th, 2011, 08:07 PM   #2311
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is it just me or is anyone else disappointed the banner for today's page isn't of the london skyline? London has pretty much been in the news this past week so it would've been fitting to see the skyline with the Shard as the banner...oh well...at least kate middleton looked FIT!
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Old May 1st, 2011, 09:48 PM   #2312
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New regional European HQ offices for Chartis (AIG) Insurance

Scott Brownrigg has completed the 50,000 sq ft fit out for the new regional European Headquarters for Chartis (AIG) Insurance at their new offices in the City of London at 150 Cheapside.

Situated opposite St Pauls Cathedral, the design locates the reception, client meeting rooms, conference suite and staff lounge to take full advantage of the spectacular views.

The office design comprises of both open plan and cellular workspaces, with offices fully glazed and internal to the floors, creating a light environment, punctuated by the bright and colourful breakout zones that are adjacent to the atria. The offices and meeting rooms are staggered against the natural curve of the building, creating an impressive dynamic through the corridors.

Colour was a key factor to engender a European feel. Warm hues have been used against the atrium to replicate the heart of the building on the two floors where the informal meeting rooms and breakout spaces are located. Cool tones exist around the façade to complement the photovoltaic fins on the building.
http://www.freeofficesearch.co.uk/Of...year=April2011
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Old May 2nd, 2011, 11:59 AM   #2313
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How many of the towers from the opening psot will actually be built? Most large projects except for the Shard seem cancelled or delayed IMO, please correct me if I'm wrong...
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Old May 2nd, 2011, 08:39 PM   #2314
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Old May 2nd, 2011, 09:12 PM   #2315
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LOL Just love the title
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Old May 3rd, 2011, 10:36 PM   #2316
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New London offices for mobile application pioneers

Netherlands-based mobile marketing agency, XS2TheWorld, has opened new offices in the City of London to take advantage of the UK’s expanding mobile market. The new London office is the fourth international base for the firm which is headquartered in Amsterdam and has offices in Singapore and Jakarta.

The mobile application building specialist will now have easier access to one of the world’s most significant mobile markets as well as some of the leading operators and content providers. Its international presence will allow it to access a potential 4 billion customers.

XS2TheWorld acts as a mobile marketing and branding specialist who consults and develops tailor made solution for mobile marketing and new media. XS2 uses its own unique mobile technology (IP), creative skills and people to help companies and brands generate exposure, differentiation towards competition and return on investment.

The fast growing company has development successful, award winning and groundbreaking mobile solutions for the likes of Pfizer, Cathay Pacific, Orange, BBC, BP and Kodak.

Commenting on the new office space at 27 Paul Street, EC2, Sander Munsterman, CEO of XS2TheWorld: "The UK has one of the highest mobile penetrations in the world, with a highly sophisticated and experimental user base. A lot of the best ideas in mobile are coming from the UK and we want businesses to help make them a reality. We're the best at what we do and are looking to set up some exciting partnerships."
http://www.freeofficesearch.co.uk/Of...meyear=May2011

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Online executive job search firm moves to new Southwark offices

TheLadders.co.uk sign up for 5,448 sq ft of office space at Bridgegate House.

Leading online executive job search company, TheLadders.co.uk, has moved into new office space in Southwark at Bridgegate House, 124-126 Borough High Street, SE1.

The world’s largest online community catering exclusively to the high-end executive search market, The Ladders specialises in £50k+ jobs in sales, marketing, finance, HR, law, technology and all other £50k+ fields.

The Ladders has taken the entire first floor at Bridgegate House, comprising 5,448 sq ft of office space within minutes of Borough underground station and London Bridge mainline station. Equipe Real Estate Advisors brokered the deal on behalf of landlord Galbraith’s, negotiating a three-year lease at £23 per sq ft.

Bridgegate House comprises a total of three floors of modern category A office accommodation benefitting from excellent natural light and self-contained entrance and reception.
http://www.freeofficesearch.co.uk/Of...meyear=May2011
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Old May 4th, 2011, 10:09 AM   #2317
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I'm the same LBT was my favourite a few months ago, but Bishopsgate is definitely my favourite now, as I think it has that regal look about which I associate with London, looks like a monarch with a crown and a large coat to me anyway, don't know if that was the architects intention but that's what I see, particularly in this shot.
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Old May 4th, 2011, 08:36 PM   #2318
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SIEMENS BRINGS ITS GLOBAL CENTRE FOR URBAN SUSTAINABILITY TO LONDON

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Siemens Brings its Global Centre for Urban Sustainability to London

The Mayor of London and Siemens are to create a unique centre in Newham, East London, where city experts and high-tech engineers will work side by side. Siemens AG intends to bring its global Centre of Competence for cities to London and create a joint 'think tank' with the city of London where international, high-tech engineers and London's city experts will work together side by side. "Our London-based centre for urban sustainability will be the flagship of our new Sector Infrastructure & Cities. We will bring Siemens engineers and a wealth of global city expertise to our landmark building, creating a win-win situation for London," said Siemens President and CEO Peter Löscher.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: "Siemens' commitment to London is a thumbs up for the skills our city has in green and other sustainable technologies. With this global electronics and engineering giant's plans for their new centre far advanced we will do all we can to bring together the capital's invaluable expertise with Siemens' amazing pool of international technology pioneers." Siemens AG intends to be a leading participant in the dynamic growth of cities and infrastructure investments. Therefore the company has formed a new sector spearheaded by a global Centre of Competence located in London. In addition to offices for city planners and engineers, Siemens plans to host a major, state-of-the-art, exhibition on sustainable urban development at the centre, which will be open to the public, as well as hosting conferences in its 300-seat auditorium and providing facilities for visitors including a shop, restaurant and café. Siemens has raised the building's credentials to the highest standards available. Groundwork has already started at the site with plans to construct an All Electric Building - meaning no fossil energy for the building will be required.

The Siemens centre will be a substantial landmark - it will cover an area of 3,687m2, in two dramatic, crystal-shaped sections. Siemens has invested more than GBP30 million into the centre to make sure it will meet the highest building standards - such as the LEED "Platinum" and the BREEAM "Outstanding" for sustainable design and construction. The building will be embedded in a smart grid and will include charging stations for e-vehicles. It will make use of solar power, ground source heat pumps, energy-efficient lighting and a closed water cycle. It is due to become operational and open to the public by mid-2012. Siemens AG (Berlin and Munich) is a global powerhouse in electronics and electrical engineering, operating in the industry, energy and healthcare sectors. For over 160 years, Siemens has stood for technological excellence, innovation, quality, reliability and internationality. The company is the world's largest provider of environmental technologies. More than one-third of its total revenue stems from green products and solutions. In fiscal 2010, which ended on September 30, 2010, revenue totalled EUR76 billion and net income EUR4.1 billion. At the end of September 2010, Siemens had around 405,000 employees worldwide.
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Old May 4th, 2011, 08:39 PM   #2319
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Central London commercial property investment up 34% year on year

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Investment in central London commercial property in the first three months of 2011 increased by around 34% year on year, in an encouraging sign for the capital, according to figures from global property consultant Cushman & Wakefield.

Total transactions across the capital for the first quarter were around £2.19 billion compared to £1.63 billion in the first quarter of 2010. However, this represented a decrease of 24% from the previous quarter, as a shortage of stock hampered performance, it points out. This was the first quarter showing a fall, following six consecutive quarters of increasing investment.

Total transactions for 2010 in central London totaled around £9.9 billion, an increase of a third on that for 2009 which stood at £6.6 billion. The amount of investment still falls a long way short, though, of that achieved during the property boom of a few years ago when it was £19.42 billion in 2007, £14.49 billion in 2006 and £15.25 billion in 2005.

From the figures, the City investment market appears to have been extremely active, with a turnover of £1.6 billion and 24 transactions. However, these are heavily skewed by the final exchange and completion of approximately five major 2010 transactions, amounting to in excess of £1 billion, the report points out. These include several acquisitions: the Goldman Sachs building, River Court House, Fleet Street by Joseph Lau for £280 million; Freshfield’s HQ building, 65 Fleet Street by the Malaysian Pension Fund for £148 million and the Rolls Building, Fetter Lane by Legal & General for £300 million.

West End completed transactions totaled approximately £600 million in the first quarter, significantly down on the same period in 2010 when it was £1.06 billion and also on the fourth quarter of last year when it was £1.5 billion.

However, these figures do not take into account the circa £850 million of transactions where contracts have exchanged in the first quarter and are likely to complete in the second quarter. Notable acquisitions include: Belgrave House by Teachers for £108 million, Savoy Court by USS for £45.40 million and 10 Old Bond Street by a private investor for £43.75 million.

Overseas investors continue to lead the market, accounting for over 53% of deals in the City, and over 55% of deals in the West End. Inclusive of exchanged transactions, the West End figure increases to over 65%. In the City, the majority of sales came from UK funds at 51.9%. Domestically, the UK funds and PropCos continue to be active, albeit on a selective basis, and account for approximately 33% of the West End market over the first quarter.

In the City, the market remains polarized between very large investment opportunities of which there are a number, approximately £2 billion worth in four buildings, and much smaller opportunities. The total current availability in the City is around £2.8 billion among 34 opportunities.

In the West End, demand for good quality investments remains strong. The retail sector is in particular demand with overseas buyers generally at the head of the queue, but with some institutional interest for lot sizes under £50 million. Offices are also in demand, especially those with active management opportunities, the report points out.

‘There remains a heavy weighting of international money seeking opportunities in the market and a sweet spot remains for standing investments of between £50 and £150 million,’ said Bill Tyser, head of City investment at Cushman & Wakefield.

‘Whilst the demand for very large investments is less, it is still active and is a reflection of the international view of London as a relatively stable market against the geo-political unrest and natural disasters experienced in recent months. The outlook for quarter two remains strong, albeit for the City the number of acquisition opportunities remains relatively narrow and dominated by large lot sized investments,’ he explained.

Clive Bull, head of central London investment at Cushman & Wakefield said that central London commercial property remains a mature, transparent and liquid market. ‘Demand remains strong from both domestic and overseas investors as London continues to be perceived as a relatively safe haven for investment, especially in recent events around the world. With sterling still weak and an increase in stock likely with banks off-loading assets, we are confident that 2011 will see volumes rise,’ he added.
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Old May 4th, 2011, 08:41 PM   #2320
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Why do we love London?

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Originality, energy, commerce, tradition, entertainment, culture, iconic buildings: London has it all, and it will always be one of the world's greatest cities to visit, work and live in.

Today, London is the centre of world attention, as the Royal couple take their wedding vows in Westminster Abbey. It's history in the making. But this city is always at the centre of global events. The place you're in right now is at the heart of our collective imagination. Two thousand years of history have produced buildings and traditions known to billions. Think about it. As we rush from work to home, we glimpse The Tower, St Paul's, The Gherkin and The Eye. People travel for thousands of miles to see them. For Londoners, they're just part of the furniture. How lucky are we? London has tradition, energy, street life and high culture. It leads the world in arts, finance and business, not to mention some of the world's finest restaurants and even some pretty good football teams. The 2012 Olympics has raised our city's profile even further.

Of all these qualities, entertainment seems to be what we prize the most. A recent survey carried out for Berkeley and the London Chamber of Commerce asked people in the capital what they value about the city. First came theatre, sport and music, followed by its cultural heritage, including the Monarchy; the beauty of the buildings; then the diversity of the people; followed by its international connections and prominence as a business hub.

And that's why people keep coming to London. 25 million visit every year. The recession has made only the tiniest dent in tourist numbers. Meantime, the population has been growing since 1988 and there's no change forecast.

We should take this as a compliment, despite the pressures it brings. Who wants to live in a city that is shrinking, where's there's diminishing demand for the services we provide, and less and less interest in what's going on?

The big issue we need to sort is where people can live. London needs a lot more homes; some 250,000 over the next five years in fact. We need to build a host of new places that are convenient and affordable, beautiful and green, close to good transport and somewhere to relax.

For developers like Berkeley, that is our goal. We are working to build the homes that Londoners need. We're made up of well known brands - Berkeley, St James, St Edward, and St George. Our intention is not just to create more housing. We want to build interesting, characterful places. We want to help make this city the world's most desirable place to live.

Take the Thames, for example. Twenty years ago, a lot of the riverside was closed-off, industrial wasteland. Now it's become prime real estate, with a string of developments where most of us would love to have a home. Berkeley has led much of this amazing transformation. From Woolwich to Kew, we have brought life back to many neglected parts of London.

At Tideway Wharf, near Nine Elms and Vauxhall, St James are creating a new kind of residential development on the site of a disused wharf. This site will be one of the last of its kind to be redeveloped. Meanwhile, on the river in Deptford, there's a new Berkeley development on the cards for the Surrey Wharf, a key piece in the regeneration jigsaw for the whole of Deptford.

Elsewhere, decayed council estates, the sad epitaph of bad planning in the 60s and 70s, are finally being replaced by a new kind of sustainable suburb. Places you might not have thought about buying a home are quickly becoming the kind of places where you wish you had bought one fifteen years ago. Remember that feeling? Kidbrooke Village is one of these neighbourhoods. So is Woodberry Down, near Finsbury Park.

Throughout the capital, both inner-city and suburbs, there is Berkeley building activity taking place. In fact, in a recent survey of cranes in London, Berkeley is responsible for almost 20% of all development in London. The company operates on the basis that everyone deserves a decent home, and good design is one of the trademarks of a Berkeley home. This is regardless of whether it's an affordably priced flat for a first time buyer, a family house near the park, or a luxury penthouse with concierge, gym and all the trimmings. A high quality home in a well designed place is not a luxury, or something exclusively offered at the top end of the market. It's a basic requirement. And Berkeley is the only house-builder in Britain to guarantee that every single development will meet the Government's benchmark for good design.

It wouldn't be London if we didn't all moan about public transport. But the city's transport system, much maligned and always overstretched, is finally seeing some major investment. Crossrail has been approved and the East London Line extension will soon join up the dots south of the river. The development at Tideway Wharf will, for example, partially fund the Northern Line extension and this is just the beginning of a major regeneration of the area.

Almost every Berkeley development is carefully located near to stations and bus routes. In some cases, our investment has released fresh government funding for new transport links. In Fulham, for instance, local residents had been calling for years for a new station. This only became possible when our development by St George at Imperial Wharf got going.

In the same way, Crossrail trains will soon stop at Berkeley's Royal Arsenal development on the site of the historic Ordnance Factory in Woolwich, while St George's Parkwest, near Heathrow, is in high demand because of the location close to a Crossrail station. Most people tend to be cautious about new development coming to their neighbourhood. But done well, there are huge benefits to the community.

These benefits aren't confined to more homes and better transport. People who live in a Berkeley development will have facilities on the doorstep; perhaps a convenience store, cafés and restaurants, a park to walk the dog or a riverside walkway to stroll down. In the larger developments there might be a new school, a community centre, or healthcare facilities. These 'extras' are created by developers and benefit the surrounding community as well as the immediate residents. They can increase the value of your home and the quality of the whole neighbourhood.

Much of this thinking has been brought together by Berkeley in a plan called Vision2020. The idea is to be clear and honest about what we want to achieve. We are already the biggest homebuilder in London. If we get your custom and support in future, what do you get in return?

First, greener homes which save water and carbon, while making London a more healthy and beautiful place. And second, a commitment to help build communities, not simply more housing - using good design, and involving local people, in the business of creating safe and convenient places to live. These two ideas will be hallmarks of Berkeley between now and 2020.

You'll notice other things which are different about Berkeley. We recently became the first major homebuilder to launch a Foundation, using part of the profits from our business to work alongside vulnerable people. Berkeley build homes in eight out of ten of the most deprived boroughs in London, and the Berkeley Foundation will support young people across the capi tal and the South-East. We are going to help them at a time when jobs are scarce and funding has disappeared catastrophically from so many youth services.

Meanwhile, the Olympics beckon. In keeping with the spirit of 2012, Berkeley is sponsoring Olympians Jo Pavey and Simeon Williamson and Paralympians David Weir and Sophie Christiansen in their bid to win medals for Britain at the games. It's all part of our love of London and what this city stands for.

So take a moment to remember that you live or work in one of the world's greatest cities. This weekend a billion people will tune in to watch the Royal Wedding. They want to feel part of something taking place on our doorstep.

We know London will grow and thrive in the years ahead. You can own a piece of this amazing city. And if you chose to buy a home, we hope it will be built by Berkeley.
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