Capital & Counties sets up joint venture to develop major portion of Earls Court neighbourhood

Posted On Tuesday, 01 April 2014 09:20 Published by eProp Commercial Property News
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Capital & Counties sets up a joint venture to develop a major portion of the Earls Court neighbourhood in London.

Ian Hawksworth

Capital & Counties (Capco‚ CCO)‚ the property group dual-listed on the JSE‚ has set up a joint venture to develop a major portion of the Earls Court neighbourhood in London.

Capco said it would take 63% of the venture‚ with 37% held by Transport for London (TfL). TfL operates London's underground and buses. The joint venture would redevelop the exhibition centres known as Earls Court 1 and 2. TfL owns the freehold to the sites and Capco is the leaseholder.

The joint venture would acquire additional properties in the area from Capco and the total interest had been valued at £459m‚ the company said.

The centre‚ which hosted volleyball in the 2012 Olympics would eventually be decommissioned and exhibitions consolidated in neighbouring Olympia London.

Capco CE Ian Hawksworth said the joint venture was part of a wider master plan that would bring 7‚500 new homes and 10‚000 new jobs. The plan also included a new primary school‚ a new leisure centre‚ new health facilities and a new five-acre park.

The main architect‚ Sir Terry Farrell‚ said the aim was to create "four new urban villages and a 21st century high street". There was also a plan to convert the Empress State Building‚ one of the tallest office buildings in London‚ to residential use. It is currently occupied by the Metropolitan Police.

Capco would also shortly begin to market its Lillie Square residential scheme — a joint venture with the Hong Kong-based Kwok family‚ which has 608 private homes and a further 200 affordable homes.

Capco investment director Gary Yardley said the "re-imagination of Earls Court" was moving forward and would bring benefits not only to the area‚ but to London as a whole.

Tfl director of commercial development Graeme Craig said the development would generate substantial revenue to reinvest in the transport network. TfL was increasing capacity at the three local tube stations — Earls Court‚ West Kensington and West Brompton.

Later phases include the development of estates within the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham as well as the underground's Lillie Bridge Depot.

Capco‚ with a market cap of about R46.3bn‚ is the third-largest property company on the JSE after Intu plc (previously Capital Shopping Centres‚ ITU) and Growthpoint (GRT). It has 3.6-million square feet (about 360‚000m²) of assets valued at £2.3bn‚ of which £934m is in the Earls Court properties and a further £1.2bn in Covent Garden‚ one of the top tourist destinations in London.

In the past four years the value of this estate has increased by 12.3% a year. It signed 12 new retailers in the year‚ including‚ Dior Beauty‚ Burberry Beauty Box and Shake Shack.

Last modified on Thursday, 17 April 2014 15:37

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