- Size: 289,000 ft² (at acquisition), 407,000 ft² (post re-development)
- Sector: Office / Retail / Leisure
- Status: Under Development
- Key Tenants: Farfetch, CBS Interactive, Z Hotels
- Partner: Helical Bar
The Old Street complex, which we purchased at the end of 2012, is a perfect example of the opportunities that have arisen from the deleveraging cycle. The three acre site, located adjacent to the Old Street roundabout, was sold as a distressed asset by the Irish government. We bought the site in a joint venture with Helical Bar plc, who are minority partners.
The estate consists of four buildings: two large office buildings, a retail parade and a fourth building – Empire House – that was vacant. All told, there is some 287,000 ft² of freehold interest. Having considered several options for the site, a planning application was submitted in 2013 for a 396,000 ft² scheme and consent was granted in the autumn of the same year. Ground was broken on the first phase of the development in February 2014 and is due to complete in the summer of 2015.
The area around Old Street has generated a lot of media coverage over the past few years. Billed as Silicon Roundabout, or Tech City, it has undeniably gone through a transformation because of the fact that much of the TMT sector has located there. However, the area – and our asset – is attractive for more than that. Of course, tech has been a big driver, but there is a bigger story to the area’s uplift. London has begun to move east and Old Street, with its excellent transport link, is a focal point for the whole area’s uplift. Tech will, of course, continue to be an important factor, but as we see the scheme attracting a more diverse tenant base as the area matures.