British Land Buys Marble Arch Buildings

Development company British Land has seized control of the buildings on the Marble Arch House site following the purchase of the properties, with the intention of redeveloping the site with a bold new building designed by Bennetts Associates Architects.

The properties, situated on the corner of Edgware Street and Seymour Street (the actual address being 32 to 50 Edgware Road and 62 to 64 Seymour Street) was bought from the previous owners, the Portman Estate, by British Land for a total of eighteen million UK pounds. British Land intends to demolish the current properties and redevelop the site with no less than sixty thousand square feet of executive office space, an additional fifteen thousand square feet of retail space, ten luxury apartments and a restaurant totaling five thousand square feet, behind a new building with a Victorian façade that it is expected to cost a further forty million UK pounds to create.

Demolition on the current buildings – both of which consist of five storeys and were built in the 1930s – is expected to take place in the middle of this year, while British Land claims that the replacement commercial property will see construction on it conclude sometime by the middle of 2013. The latest scheme from British Land comes just as news hit the industry last week that the company had drawn up a short list of contractors for the three hundred and forty million UK pounds “Cheesegrater” tower project, designed by Richard Rogers and to be located at 122 Leadenhall, with just four names on the list – Mace, Laing O’Rourke, Sir Robert McAlpine and Skanska, with Balfour Beatty and original contractor Bovis apparently now no longer in contention. British Land also just recently announced a joint effort – with the Blackstone Group – to refurbish and develop 199 Bishopsgate, another key London site and has other development plans for NEQ offices in the West End.

“Marble Arch will offer high quality accommodation at a time when supply will be limited in a West End location which is being registered,” says the head of offices at British Land, Tim Roberts. “We are pleased to have secured yet another great development opportunity on the Portman Estate.”

“There was a great deal of interest in this development opportunity,” notes the chief executive of the Portman Estate, Gordon Clutton, but he says that “British Land’s proposal eclipsed the others and we are delighted to work with them again on this, their third major transaction with the Portman Estate.”

Marble Arch House is situated just a brief walk away from both Hyde Park and Oxford Street and is regarded as an ideal location for executive office space in the centre of the London, likely to be very attractive to companies looking to lease space. British Land has already acquired detailed planning permission for its plans for the site. Upon completion of the current development, the company will be given a lease of a hundred and twenty five years on the commercial elements, and a different but lengthy lease on the residential units.

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