Derwent planning approvals take total pipeline to 1.8m sq ft

By James Wallace - Wednesday, May 09, 2012 8:46

Derwent London, the central London property developer, has been granted planning permission on four schemes over 571,400 sq ft this year taking its development pipeline to 14 schemes over 1.8m sq ft.

The build out schedule for the schemes is from post-summer to the end of 2014.

The new planning consents comprise: 1 Oxford Street, the 275,000 sq ft mixed-used scheme at Tottenham Court Road station; the 127,000 sq ft 1 Page Street office refurbishment, prelet to Burberry at £5.3m pa earlier this year; Millbank’s Riverwalk House, the 121 unit residential conversion; and 96-98 Bishop's Bridge Road, the conversion of a cinema into 16 homes and ground floor retail space over 21,400 sq ft.

Derwent has spades in the ground across 455,300 sq ft, including Turnmill at 63 Clerkenwell Road EC1 which commenced in April.

In its first quarter interim management statement, Derwent confirmed it has signed 23 lettings in the year to date, worth £8m, over 210,300 sq ft of floorspace

John Burns, chief executive officer of Derwent London, said: “Robust lettings progress continued into the first quarter of 2012 with £6.8m of transactions, including the pre-letting of 1 Page Street to Burberry.

"The rental levels achieved endorse our positive rental growth expectations for 2012.  A sizeable proportion of our tenant enquiries and completed lettings continues to come from the growing TMT and other creative sectors. 

“We have moved forward with our pipeline of current and future schemes and won further major planning consents.  We are now on-site at Turnmill and on schedule to commence 40 Chancery Lane in the second half of the year.”

Back at the start of March, Derwent London and Grosvenor confirmed they had established a joint venture to work towards the major redevelopment of 1-5 Grosvenor Place into a combination of high-end residential, commercial space as well as a luxury hotel over 260,000 sq ft.

Under the agreement Derwent London's leases were restructured into a new 150-year term at a ground rent of 5% of rental income, and sold a 50% stake in the properties for £60m to Grosvenor, which also holds the freehold.

As a result of the £60m sales receipt from Grosvenor, Derwent’s net debt fell to £810.6m, reducing the group loan to value ratio from 32.0% to 30.6% and increased total secured but undrawn bank facilities to £474.1m at 31 March 2012 with £625.0m of uncharged properties at the same date. 

Derwent also reduced the level of swaps by £60m but, due to the reduction in net debt, the proportion of debt that was at fixed rates or hedged fell only slightly from 98% at the year-end to 97%.  Using the cash coupon of 2.75% from last summer’s £175m convertible bond, Derwent’s weighted average cost of debt fell from 4.65% to 4.44% at the end of March. 

In April, the Derwent agreed to sell the Triangle Centre in Scotland for £16.8m before costs, a price 6.8% above the December 2011 book value. This 75,500 sq ft shopping centre, located at Bishopbriggs just north of Glasgow, is fully let at £1.3m pa.

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