TfL reviews Earls Court position

By Paul Norman - Friday, September 14, 2012 15:35

Transport for London is considering pushing on with its owns plans for 17 acres of the proposed 77-acre Earls Court regeneration scheme in west London should negotiations to sell the site to proposed development partner Capital & Counties not conclude, CoStar News can reveal.

Capco gained consent from Hammersmith & Fulham council on Wednesday night for its £8bn redevelopment of the Earls Court and Olympia site.

Capco’s EC Properties unit is proposing a development spanning the 77 acre Earls Court and West Kensington Opportunity Area and including the Earls Court Exhibition Centre.

The Sir Terry Farrell masterplan is based on the concept of ‘four urban villages and a 21st century high street’ and comprises 10.1m sq ft of development including 7,500 homes, around 1,500 of which will be affordable, offices, hotels, work space, education, cultural and community facilities, as well as a new five acre park for London.

The 77 acres is owned by three landowners – Capital & Counties with around 30 acres, Hammersmith and Fulham around 22 acres across two housing estates, and TfL, the 17 acre Lillie Bridge Depot.

Capco has already reached agreement with Hammersmith & Fulham council to include its West Kensington and Gibbs Green housing estates within the regeneration.

To bring forward the proposals Capco has also been in talks with Transport for London to buy the 17-acre freehold of TfL’s Lillie Bridge Depot for a reported £200m. The parties have worked together on the proposals for the past five years.

TfL had initially been expected to retain the land holding and include it within a Special Purpose Vehicle formed by the three landowners to bring forward the project.

However, Capco wants to buy the site outright. The deal would unlock Capco plans to build over the Tube depot while “re-providing” a new facility elsewhere in west London.

While it is expected that a sale will conclude TfL has issued a statement saying it is now also “assessing” how it may take forward the site separately.

CapCo has also been renegotiating its lease from Transport London at the Earls Court One and Two exhibition centres, which are expected to be demolished as part of the scheme.

CapCo has been seeking a 999-year lease from freehold owner TfL.

Graeme Craig, director of commercial development at Transport for London, said: “TfL welcomes the council’s decision to grant outline planning consent for the Earls Court Masterplan.

“TfL remains committed to the regeneration and early delivery of the Earls Court Opportunity Area. TfL continues to seek to reach an agreement with its leaseholder, CapCo, in relation to its freehold interest in the land around the existing Earls Court 1 and 2, and hopes that these discussions can be concluded shortly.

“TfL is also assessing how it might take forward the development of the land it owns, at Lillie Bridge Depot.”

Capital & Counties said in a statement: “Capital & Counties and TfL have been working together to develop the masterplan for Earls Court for the last five years. We look forward to concluding commercial discussions and realising this remarkable opportunity for London in the near future.”

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