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Old November 23rd, 2011, 03:40 AM   #2881
Ulpia-Serdica
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Non-U.K. Owners Hold Most of London's City



Non-British investors own more than half the real estate in London's financial district, the City, overtaking U.K. buyers for the first time, according to a new report.

While the trend of increasing non-U.K. ownership is likely to continue, the make-up of buyers is changing, and prices in the City will have to come down, market participants say.

Foreign investors own 52% of the property in the City in 2011, compared with just 8% in 1980 and 25% in the mid-1990s, according to the report commissioned by property developer and investor Development Securities PLC.

London office property as a whole attracts more investment from abroad than any other city in the world, including New York, with €72 billion ($97 billion) of sales between 2007 and 2011, the report says. Both Paris and Frankfurt lag behind, with €43 billion and €11 billion, respectively.

In addition to its role as a financial center, the City also offers a stable legal environment, represents a hedge outside the euro and has no capital-gains tax on property transactions for foreign investors, said Andrew Hawkins, City investment director at real-estate brokerage Jones Lang LaSalle Inc.

While the U.K. commercial real-estate market has been grappling with the financial crisis, foreign interest in City offices hasn't dried up, as it did in the U.S. market in 2008. And while values of City offices experienced steeper drops and greater volatility than other U.K. commercial property during the credit crunch, buying by foreign investors helped to maintain liquidity, the report said.

"London's attractiveness to foreign investors has clearly been undeterred by the widespread economic turmoil," said Michael Marx, chief executive of Development Securities. "City offices are perceived to offer quality and transparency—a 'safe haven' for foreign buyers."

Some foreign buyers are exiting the City due to problems in their home markets. German investors, for instance, are the biggest foreign owners of City property, accounting for 16% of real estate, compared with 1% in 1980 and 3% in the mid-1990s. But the current level is down from 18% in 2005, the report said.

Cash-strapped German open-ended funds, which have traditionally been active buyers in the U.K., are selling U.K. buildings amid large redemptions by investors, say market participants.

As the traditional buyers, such as German funds, private-equity funds or Irish investors exit the market, Asian funds, pension and sovereign-wealth funds will dominate in the future, market participants say.

Some of the new big buyers from 2010 to 2011 included the Korean National Pension Service, which spent £1.06 billion ($1.66 billion), and the Norwegian Government Pension Fund, spending £452 million, said Simon Barrowcliff, executive director of capital markets at property-services company CB Richard Ellis. The Malaysian Employees Pension Fund, which spent £796 million in 2010-2011, bought the Tower Bridge House office building for £163 million in September.

"These are growing funds, which invest for long-term gains and have no reason to repatriate their equity," Mr. Barrowcliff said.

Other major investors in the City include U.S. entities, which account for 10% of the market, compared with 1% in the mid-1990s. Middle Eastern investors have increased their share to 6% from 3% over the same period, according to the Development Securities report.

Still, Mr. Barrowcliff said that with so much property on the market, City prices will have to adjust to tempt foreign buyers. Industry participants estimate that £4 billion of assets are for sale in the City, but most of the stock doesn't match many buyers' stringent criteria.

The report also found that high-net-worth individuals are snapping up assets, such as the Aviva Tower, which was bought by a private investor from the Far East for £288 million in April, as they view London as a safe haven. Such investors currently own 6% of total floor-space within the Square Mile, the report said.
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000...122955682.html

Last edited by Ulpia-Serdica; November 23rd, 2011 at 03:53 AM.
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Old November 23rd, 2011, 03:57 AM   #2882
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Watch out, Silicon Valley – Silicon Roundabout is the new kid in town

Hi-tech companies are springing up every week in London but more must be done to make the UK a powerhouse of innovation



How technology firms have sprung up around 'Silicon Roundabout', otherwise known as Old Street Roundabout, in Shoreditch, London. Photograph: Tech City

In 1996, I left the UK to work for Apple in California. At the time, there were few opportunities for an ambitious software developer in Britain. California was a different story. Not only were the world's best software companies based there, but the attitude towards new ventures was completely different and very exciting. Instead of the British attitude of "avoid failure at all costs", on the west coast you are encouraged to take risks and try new ideas. If you fail, you get up and try again. Failure is recognised as the greatest tool for learning; until you've got a couple of spectacular failures under your belt, people tend not to take you seriously.

Winston Churchill said: "Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm." That attitude is at the heart of the Silicon Valley culture.

I spent the next 10 years in the Valley, founding or helping to run four tech startups. Then, after three years at Google in New York, I returned to London. I realised the UK has changed significantly while I was away. There are clusters of tech startups across Britain with the biggest being "Silicon Roundabout" in Shoreditch.

Working at a startup company is exciting and nerve-wracking. You don't know whether the company will find success – indeed most startups fail. You work long hours to convert an idea into a real product that customers love. You take a small team of people and forge a functioning, successful business. When it goes well, it's one of the most invigorating, challenging and exciting things you can do. When it goes badly, it's a lot less pleasant. Closing down a failed company and laying off the people you've worked with is a hard lesson and you come away determined never to let that happen again.

A year ago, I left Google and joined Songkick, one of the original Silicon Roundabout startups. Songkick is a young, ambitious company with worldwide reach: we're currently the second largest live music website in the world, with more than three quarters of our users coming from outside the UK. Our product is used by millions and helps music fans discover great new bands – on average Songkick users go to 70% more concerts in the year after they start using us than they did in the year before.

In a time when we seem to be drowning in bad economic news, Silicon Roundabout stands out as a real British success. New companies spring up every week and existing companies are growing fast. In October, Songkick organised the second "Silicon Milkroundabout" a job fair for startups. More than 100 companies attended, offering more than 500 jobs, and 1,500 developers came along on the day. That's up from 40 startups and 400 developers at the first event in May. Clearly there is a lot of interest in working at a startup and there are a lot of opportunities to do so.

Last week I met David Cameron at the launch of the Tech City Map. I was impressed by the prime minister's interest in startups. He was informed, willing to listen and to offer concrete help. One of our biggest challenges is letting people know about what is happening in east London and the government's involvement helps us highlight the exciting growth we are seeing. We'd like to see more graduates and experienced developers considering working at the new tech startups and the focus the government puts on the area helps this.

In order to keep this momentum going, we need young, ambitious entrepreneurs to build the next generation of products and companies. The education system is slowly changing to meet this opportunity, but the government can do more to help. David Willetts' Behind the Screen initiative, which for the first time teaches programming at GCSE level, is a step in the right direction. But we need to do more and to do it faster. We should be finding the best future computer scientists and engaging them early. Programming is an incredibly creative activity – you create machines that can do anything you can imagine, unlimited by anything as mundane as the laws of physics. We need to help young people discover the joy and excitement of building software, and companies.

Students should be encouraged to think like entrepreneurs. The University of Stanford in California runs startup competitions, gives students time away to start their own businesses and invests in promising new enterprises; that's how Google got its start. We're starting to see universities here do similar things. Graduates with a mix of technical and business skills are particularly helpful for building on the success of Silicon Roundabout.

Much of Silicon Valley's growth is fuelled by its ability to attract the best and brightest from across the world. For decades, Britain has seen many of its most ambitious technologists emigrate to the California. But recently, we have started to see Americans coming to the UK to join our startups. At Songkick six of our 30-person team are from the US. We recently surveyed several startups in the Shoreditch area and found more than 50 entrepreneurs who have come to London from Silicon Valley. As the startup scene here continues to flourish, we should be able to bring in talent from within the UK and from overseas. The government's entrepreneur visas are a good start, but we need to make it easy to bring in hi-tech workers from across the globe to help make Britain a powerhouse of innovation.

Great things are happening in Silicon Roundabout. Hundreds of new companies have been born in the past two years, employing thousands of people and generating a sense of community and excitement that we haven't seen in the UK computer scene since the days of Sinclair and the BBC Micro. It's time for Britain to embrace the new spirit of risk taking and entrepreneurship that these companies tap into and build a new digital economy. We invented the computer, we invented the world wide web. Let's hope we see the next generation of great internet companies born in Shoreditch.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology...con-roundabout
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Old November 23rd, 2011, 03:57 AM   #2883
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Old November 23rd, 2011, 07:56 AM   #2884
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Amazing project! Hope someday I could visit

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Old November 23rd, 2011, 10:45 AM   #2885
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Old November 23rd, 2011, 02:34 PM   #2886
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I love London because it strives to be the best. However I think other UK cities need investment too, as Manchester, Birmingham and Glasgow all want to be top cities as well. Just a little more varied distribution of wealth would be nice but hey that's just my opinion.

We even get a lot of Chinese tourists here in Manchester now and its not just because of the football.
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Old November 23rd, 2011, 02:36 PM   #2887
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Go London

I love London because it strives to be the best. However I think other UK cities need investment too, as Manchester, Birmingham and Glasgow all want to be top cities as well. Just a little more varied distribution of wealth would be nice but hey that's just my opinion.

We even get a lot of Chinese tourists here in Manchester now and its not just because of the football.
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Old November 23rd, 2011, 10:33 PM   #2888
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Chinese go in manchester for old trafford tour and now etihad stadium. Manchester isn't so sexy than london and the gap is huge.
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Old November 24th, 2011, 03:48 PM   #2889
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Originally Posted by Ulpia-Serdica View Post
Hope this turns into some really nice glass buildings.
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Old November 24th, 2011, 04:18 PM   #2890
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Regents Place West Quarter

by i_like_concrete.



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Old November 24th, 2011, 06:09 PM   #2891
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Amazing amount of skyscrapers to be constructed!
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Old November 24th, 2011, 07:20 PM   #2892
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Go London!
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Old November 24th, 2011, 11:00 PM   #2893
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British firms win £300m in Crossrail mega-deals



Crossrail is providing a welcome boost to Britain's struggling construction industry as two international teams claimed mega-deals worth more £300 million on the capital's East-West rail link today.

The prize £200 million-plus deal is the contract to build Farringdon's Crossrail station, transforming it into one of Britain's busiest train stations when completed in 2018. Farringdon will become a major hub linking the Tube, Thameslink and Crossrail services with 140 trains an hour and an estimated 140,000 passengers flowing through the station every day.

A tie-up between building firm Kier, Spain's Ferrovial and Dutch outfit BAM Nuttall has been chosen for the works, which will link Farringdon to Heathrow in 31 minutes.

A rival team of Balfour Beatty, Morgan Sindall and French giant Vinci has meanwhile claimed the £110 million job to build Whitechapel's Crossrail station and rail platforms to the north of the Tube and overground stations, also due for completion in 2018. Work on both stations will begin early next year.

The contracts being awarded are the last major construction deals on the Crossrail project to come up for grabs after more than £1 billion in contracts for tunnelling under the capital were awarded last year.

Building firms will also chase further big station construction deals at Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road and Liverpool Street next year. A venture between Costain and Skanska has already claimed the contract to build Paddington's Crossrail station.

http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standa...l-contracts.do
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Old November 24th, 2011, 11:05 PM   #2894
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Highbury stadium flats all sold



The capital's booming letting market has seen all the flats built at the former Highbury home of Premiership football club Arsenal snapped up, property firm London & Stamford said today.

Demand is such that L&S has also managed to push through 14% rent rises for new lettings among the 134 flats in the club's once legendary North Stand during the six months to September 30. In Battersea, the firm has enjoyed 13% rent rises.

"This is very encouraging rental growth in one of the few areas of the property market where rental growth is visible, and where demand remains strong," the company said.

The firm boosted its residential portfolio in August, buying 74 flats near the Oval for £24.4 million, and has already let 57 at rents more than 3% ahead of expectations. The firm is cautious about the economic backdrop but has a £700 million warchest to boost its portfolio, L&S added. Underlying profits rose 51% to £13 million.

http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standa...ts-all-sold.do
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Old November 24th, 2011, 11:59 PM   #2895
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Kings Cross Lands

by potto.


















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Old November 25th, 2011, 01:06 AM   #2896
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The whole Kings Cross regeneration project is probably one of the biggest successes in regeneration history anywhere..

Its simply breath taking... from the hotel to the stations to the new buildings and surrounding landscapes ... just wonderful.
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Old November 25th, 2011, 03:48 AM   #2897
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Amen
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Old November 25th, 2011, 10:01 AM   #2898
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The whole Kings Cross regeneration project is probably one of the biggest successes in regeneration history anywhere..
are you sure?

Have you travelled in tour life? Because yes it's true some whole new things appears in london but even in this city the docklands was the biggest transformation for a town
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Old November 25th, 2011, 11:45 AM   #2899
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are you sure?

Have you travelled in tour life? Because yes it's true some whole new things appears in london but even in this city the docklands was the biggest transformation for a town


Yes I am sure. If you had gone to St Pancras in the 80's, the citadel was derelict and empty.. they were going to knock it down. The glass covered train platform part was run down, dirty and in ruin.... there was nothing there..

But now look at it!! The citadel has been turned back into a 5 star hotel like it once was, the train sheds look beautiful and the Eurostar comes into it now instead of Waterloo, the surrounding area has been overhauled and made more accessible... the whole thing is a complete success.

I realise that Canary Wharf was a bigger project, but if you read my original post I said that Pancras was 'one of' the most successful regeneration projects anywhere.
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Old November 25th, 2011, 04:04 PM   #2900
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Office development rises despite economy fears

The amount of office space under construction in London has increased despite concerns the choppy economic recovery could cause demand to weaken, a survey has revealed.

Development activity in the capital has increased by 12 per cent in the last six months compared to the previous half-year, with the amount of office space under construction rising to 7.2 million sq ft from 6.4 million sq ft. Development of office space in London has more than doubled year-on-year, when just 2.7 million sq ft was under construction, according to the Drivers Jonas Deloitte Crane Survey.

The survey shows developers are increasingly opting to refurbish buildings rather than constructing new ones because this is quicker and often cheaper. Developments also tend to be smaller, with the average new scheme size falling from 195,000 sq ft to 72,000 sq ft.

Drivers Jonas Deloitte partner and head of research Anthony Duggan said: “The next 24 months no longer looks as devoid of delivery as it has over the last few surveys, however, delivery of new space remains low compared to historic levels. The question now is whether the market needs this new space given the weakening economic environment.”

Seven office developments have got underway in the City of London in the last six months, the survey shows, with a total of 3.1 million sq ft under construction, an increase of 11 per cent on six months ago. Some 362,000 sq ft of the works are refurbishments, most notably the building at 199 Bishopsgate being revamped by Blackstone and British Land.

Partner and head of the City team Matthew Elliott said: “Two towers, The Leadenhall Building and 20 Fenchurch Street, arrive in mid-2014 but until then we will have the lowest supply of new space the City has ever seen. This leads normally to rising rents, but only if there is are tenants to take it and businesses are very cautious at the moment.”

Duggan said the global economic situation was causing concern for developers, despite the survey showing an increase in construction activity.

He said: “The level of new construction activity hints at confidence but in reality we have seen a significant weakening in sentiment over the last few months. The global economic and financial situation weighs heavily on occupiers and, as the recent Deloitte CFO Survey highlights, corporates are becoming more defensive, with cost control, rather than expansion, at the top of their priority list. This will impact not only hiring but also, increasingly, the release of excess office space onto the market.”
http://www.londonlovesbusiness.com/n...s/1114.article
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