Property and Construction
July 12, 2013
A 50:50 joint venture partnership to capitalise on the thriving London office market has been formed by Hermes Real Estate Investment Management Ltd and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board. CPPIB is investing £173.9 million to acquire a 50 per cent interest from Hermes’ BT Pension Scheme’s (BTPS) existing portfolio, which comprises 550,000 sq ft of high quality offices, retail and ancillary accommodation, primarily located in London’s West End. Graeme Eadie, Senior Vice-President and Head of Real Estate Investments for CPPIB, said: “We are pleased to be partnering with BTPS and Hermes on this unique opportunity to invest in a high quality, well-diversified portfolio of office properties in prime Central London locations.”
July 12, 2013
Dubai will be kicking itself at the news that the world’s largest building, or rather world’s largest standalone man-made structure, has opened in China. The New Century Globe Centre in Sichuan province is a mixed use development housing offices, leisure facilities, hotels, shops, restaurants and even a beach resort warmed by an artificial sun. The 18-storey, glass and steel frame structure, is situated above a new metro station in Chengdu, stands 100 metres high, is 500 metres long and 400 metres wide giving it a floor space of 1.7m sq. m. making it the world’s largest standalone building, beating the previous record holder Terminal 3 at Dubai International Airport by around 50,000 sq. m. and, as measured according to internationally recognised lazy media shorthand analogies, able to house 20 Sydney Opera Houses.
July 12, 2013
News emerges from BNP Paribas that the most dynamic occupiers in Western European property markets belong to the technology, media and telecoms (TMT) sector and that the most important market in the region is London. This comes as no surprise given the plans of Google to move to its new home in King’s Cross and the focus on developments in Tech City. But the same hothousing of TMT businesses is also evident in the area Prime Minister David Cameron has referred to as Silicon Alley, a cluster of businesses running alongside the M4 originally clustered between Reading and Swindon but now extending as far as Bristol. Companies that have found a home in the area include the likes of Cisco, Microsoft, Oracle, Ericsson, Vodafone, O2, Citrix, Dell, Huawei, Lexmark, LG, Novell, Nvidia, Panasonic, SAP and Symantec not to mention the countless other smaller businesses, consultants and freelancers that share this hothouse.
July 11, 2013
The UK Green Building Council is accepting nominations for the first-ever European Regional Leadership Awards, part of the World Green Building Council Leadership Awards 2013, which recognise international best practice in city-level government policy for green building initiatives. The regional awards are for best practice in green building initiatives, projects, and policies that are supporting healthier and more sustainable communities within the European Region. “The awards promote leadership and inspire governments to replicate best practices in green building policy,” said the WorldGBC’s Chief Executive Officer, Jane Henley. “Buildings represent an unrivalled opportunity to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, and cities play an increasingly critical role in seizing this opportunity.”
July 10, 2013
Deskheads of a certain vintage may have viewed the news that Zaha Hadid had bought the Design Museum’s London home for £10 million in a somewhat different light to much of the media that reported the sale. While journalists succumbed to the apparently irresistible pull of architectural headline magnet Zaha, to some of us the interesting part of the story was that the sale finally freed the Design Museum to move to the long empty Commonwealth Institute building in Kensington. The building is one of the most architecturally important modern buildings in London and has a long association not only with The Commonwealth Institute educational charity but as a venue for cultural events and exhibitions of design, not least the now defunct Prima and Spectrum exhibitions which did so much to promote commercial interior design in the UK.
July 9, 2013
High-rise buildings tend to evoke a love-hate response, and being green is usually not a strong feature. However a new high-rise is being planned in California which aims to join the handful of tall buildings in North America to achieve the U.S. Green Buildings Council’s LEED Platinum certification. The 37-storey Century City Center will integrate the best new engineering and technological practices and innovations to deliver the first new build LEED Platinum “green-rise” in Los Angeles and Southern California. It promises, say developers JMB Realty Corporation, to effectively create a new benchmark in sustainable performance for the commercial office market in America’s second-largest urban region.
July 8, 2013
The iconic Richard Roger’s-designed Lloyd’s Building at One Lime Street, London EC3, has been sold to Ping An, a Chinese insurance company for £260 million, it’s been confirmed. The Lloyd’s Building will continue to house the world’s leading insurance market as it is let in its entirety to the Society of Lloyd’s on a lease expiring in 2031. Jon Crossfield, director within Savills’ Central London team, says “This is a potentially landmark transaction, given it is the first by a Chinese Insurance company overseas. It is a high profile and confident entry to the market for them and further illustrates the dominance of overseas investors in London at present.” The commercial property deal, which represents the first purchase by a Chinese insurance company in the UK was managed by Commerz Real and advised by Savills and CBRE.
July 4, 2013
Reforms to strip out inefficiencies in public sector construction – including the use of building information modelling (BIM) and the creation of a sustainable supply chain have generated £447 million in savings and will deliver up to 20 per cent savings in project costs by 2015, Cabinet Office Minister Chloe Smith has announced. By making links across departments the Government has also been able to act as a single customer to the construction industry and provide clear benchmarks for budgets by setting out the average price it expects to pay for projects. The Government has now published a new set of benchmarks that are designed to drive down project costs even further and encourage the industry to offer more competitive and innovative solutions. more…
July 3, 2013
One day, news will emerge from Dubai of a new development that doesn’t break some record or other, or at least one that isn’t solely about the size of a building. The latest example of the Emirati obsession with scale is the plan by developers DMCC, the people who brought you the Jumeirah Lake Towers, to create the world’s largest commercial office building as part of a 107,000 sq m development of their business park. Although still in the development stage, the developers have their eyes on usurping the current holder of the tallest office crown, Taipei 101, the 509m-high building which was the world’s tallest tower of any sort until the Burj Khalifa came along in 2010. In their press announcement the developers claim the new tower will act as a magnet for multinationals, although not everybody is quite so enamoured of the idea that tall is best. more…
July 3, 2013
The London office market continues to thrive according to two new reports from property consultancies CBRE and BNP Paribas Real Estate. According to the CBRE survey, take-up of Central London office space in the second quarter of 2013 increased by 32 percent compared with the previous quarter while, according to BNP Paribas, the take up of central London offices in the first half of 2013 rose by nearly a quarter 24 percent to 6.02m sq ft compared with the same period in 2012, while activity rose by around a third (31 percent) to 3.08m sq ft in the second quarter of the year compared with the second quarter of 2012. CBRE report that there were three deals for offices over 100,000 sq ft in the period covered and eight deals over 50,000 sq ft, the highest number since Q4 2010.
July 2, 2013
An industrial strategy for construction – ‘Construction 2025’ is being launched by the Coalition Government today which aims to tap into the considerable growth opportunities predicted for the global construction market. The strategy has been developed in partnership with the new Construction Leadership Council, jointly chaired by Business Secretary Vince Cable and Sir David Higgins, Chief Executive of Network Rail, formed to help oversee the delivery of the action plan and its strategic priorities. The strategy’s vision to 2025 includes ambitions for a 50 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in the built environment, and an equal reduction in the trade gap between total exports and total imports for construction products and materials. more…
July 1, 2013
What were your thoughts on the recent announcement of the British Institute of Facilities Management (BIFM), Asset Skills, the Facilities Management Association and the Cleaning and Support Services Association agreeing to the concept of forming one single and united body to represent facilities management and support services? I suppose the devil is in the detail and clarification of “agreeing to the concept” is required. Is this going to be a quick process, something that drags on for a lengthy period and what consultation will there be? And that is the crux for me – consultation is where this could all break down. But let’s take a step back and ask how many people work in the sector and how many facilities managers do the organisations involved represent?