Successfully reading market conditions
In 2010, our knowledge of the London property market enabled us to foresee a shortage of good quality space in the West End.
With this knowledge, we began discussions with Telewest and were able to take a surrender of their remaining 7.5-year lease for £30 million representing 6.3 years rent. This provided us with the opportunity to use part of the surrender premium to refurbish 160 Great Portland Street and seek a pre-let to reduce our void risk.
Providing innovative solutions
In 2011 we knew that Double Negative, our occupier at Wells & More, was seeking to consolidate their operations into a single building that would provide resilience in respect of their power needs and also give them room to grow their business.
With a shortage of good quality space in the West End, we created the opportunity for Double Negative to have 160 Great Portland Street configured to meet their specific needs. In May 2011, Double Negative pre-let all the 87,000 sq ft of office space at 160 Great Portland Street on a 20-year lease.
Taking a surrender of their 20,000 sq ft at Wells & More also enabled Double Negative to avoid incurring double overheads giving us the opportunity to re-let that space at a significantly higher rent.
Overcoming significant technical challenges
As a film production company, Double Negative required significantly more power than an ordinary occupier with an immediate back up source. Using our positive relationship with UK Power Network, we were able to secure two independent power supplies giving Double Negative the resilience they needed.
As these works involved relaying cables to the building, it was vital that we completed the project to a tight deadline to avoid the GLA’s embargo on all street works in advance of London’s 2012 Olympics.
Creating a bespoke building for a special occupier
We created a tailored space for Double Negative, adapting the atrium to provide two additional screening rooms and the building services to allow one person per six square metres occupation, double the original density.
We also assisted Double Negative with their own fit out and were delighted when the completed development went on to win BCO Corporate Workplace of the Year in 2013 for London and the South East.
Two years after occupation, we commissioned a Post Occupancy Evaluation Report to obtain feedback on how the building was operating.
Feedback was extremely positive with higher than average scores being achieved on staff satisfaction measures for ventilation, temperature, safety, and lighting. 97% of respondents believed that the building met, or exceeded, their needs – a strong vote of confidence in our partnership.
Toby Courtauld Chief Executive, Great Portland Estates
The deal with Telewest unlocked a first class refurbishment opportunity from within our existing portfolio. We worked closely with Telewest to find a mutually beneficial solution. This allowed us to deliver a completely repositioned building, with an excellent floorplate, into a West End leasing market that we believed would be in short supply by mid-2012.