Despite the disruption created by COVID-19, this year we successfully completed Hanover Square, W1 and The Hickman, E1. With buildings of this quality being increasingly scarce, occupiers are seeking spaces with strong sustainability credentials, which are technologically advanced, flexible and support the health and wellbeing of their employees. As a result, prime spaces remain in high demand, supporting pre-letting activity and rents. These market dynamics play to our strengths. This is both reflected in our leasing successes to date and, looking forward, the prospects for our deep pipeline of future opportunities which will continue to meet this growing demand in the decade to come.
Seeking spaces with strong sustainability credentials
Occupiers and investors alike are seeking spaces that are highly sustainable, technologically advanced, flexible and provide healthy, productive environments.
Such buildings are increasingly scarce in central London. However, despite the disruption created by COVID-19, we successfully completed The Hickman, E1 and Hanover Square, W1, both of which more than meet these demands.
The Hickman, E1, marked a significant step in the way we approach our developments in terms of sustainability, whilst taking our implementation building technology to the next level.
We pushed the boundaries on our energy efficiency targets for a refurbishment, achieving EPC ‘A’ and BREEAM ‘Excellent’ ratings. Furthermore, by retaining 53% of the existing structure, we were able to save 306kg of CO2/m2. The building is also designed for longevity, allowing for conversion to a number of different potential uses, reducing the need for future redevelopment.
A wealth of outside space across five different floors, totalling 12% of the total building, enabled us to prioritise biodiversity, both to help cool the building and improve user wellbeing. We have also implemented Digital Twin technology, which as well as documenting more than half a million components of the building, puts information in the hands of the occupier via our sesame™ app. It provides the ability to measure air quality, noise levels, utilisation and energy intensity on a real-time basis. It even allows the users of the space to control the heating and lighting from their phone.
The functionality and flexibility of space, along with these market-leading initiatives, was critical in generating occupier interest and contributed to Four Communications Group letting the upper floors and we have good interest in the remainder.
Hanover Square, W1, provides 221,500 sq ft of Grade A space on an attractive garden square in the heart of Mayfair above the Bond Street Crossrail station. This high quality development is also highly sustainable. It achieved a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating, generates its own solar energy, has a green roof to both cool the building and support biodiversity and is WELL enabled.
Given its quality, the office space has been highly sought after and, after a number of recent lettings, the scheme is now 75% let or under offer and delivered a profit on cost of 7.3%.
Looking forward, we expect the demand for prime space to continue and we are preparing our deep pipeline of future opportunities to meet occupiers’ evolving requirements.