Skip to main content

We have exchanged contracts to acquire two properties in London’s Knowledge Quarter1, totalling 182,100 sq ft for £214.6m inclusive of costs. The combined rent is £5.3m p.a., or c.£30 per sq ft, reflecting a net initial yield of 2.5%. The two acquisitions offer considerable opportunities for asset management and longer- term development opportunities.

In addition, we have signed a detailed memorandum of understanding with Lazari Investments to establish a new 50:50 joint venture which is expected to acquire three properties already owned by them in Baker Street W1 totalling 122,200 sq ft. Derwent London’s initial consideration for the joint venture will be £64.4m inclusive of costs and our share of passing rent will initially be £2.6m. The joint venture adds an exciting development opportunity opposite our 19-35 Baker Street project due to start later in 2021.

West End Properties

The largest property being acquired is 250 Euston Road NW1 which totals 165,900 sq ft and sits on a 1.6 acre site2. This freehold office building is let in its entirety to University College London Hospital (‘UCLH’) on a lease expiring in 2039. The passing rent is £4.7m or just £28 per sq ft, which is subject to 2.5% fixed annual increases compounded every five years. The next uplift is due in April 2024 when there is also a tenant break with breaks every 5 years thereafter. In the longer term, there is an opportunity to create a larger scheme on this potential Life Science site. The total consideration is £189.9m inclusive of costs, and the initial yield is 2.5% reflecting the low passing rent.

The second property acquisition is 171-174 Tottenham Court Road W1 which lies opposite our Network Building. The purchase is a freehold office and retail building totalling 16,200 sq ft and is multi-let, producing an income of £0.6m. This property, together with adjoining UCLH and UCL interests, forms an important strategic holding in a larger block with longer term development potential. The total consideration is £24.7m inclusive of costs providing a net initial yield of 2.6%.

Baker Street Joint Venture

The new joint venture is expected to acquire three leasehold properties: 38-52, 54-60 and 66 Baker Street W1 totalling 122,200 sq ft with a passing rent of £5.2m. The leasehold interests range from 38 to 46 years. The total consideration equates to a net initial yield of 4.0%.

Together with a fourth property owned by the freeholder, The Portman Estate, these buildings form a 1.0 acre island site capable of significant redevelopment. Our preliminary studies show this could be up to c.240,000 sq ft. Subject to receiving planning on the larger scheme and a regear of the headlease, we will pay the vendor an additional £7.25m of deferred consideration. There is the potential to obtain vacant possession at the end of 2024 which gives the joint venture an opportunity to commence on site just before completion of our 19-35 Baker Street project opposite, another freehold owned by The Portman Estate.

Initial impact on Earnings and NAV

We are disclosing the following additional information as this is a Class 2 transaction.

Based on the initial rental income, we expect the combined transactions to have a c.£4m p.a. positive impact on the Group’s EPRA earnings, assuming a cost of debt of c.1.5%.

The expected current market valuation for the two property acquisitions is c.£198m, 7.8% below the gross purchase consideration, which approximates to the usual market allowance for purchasers’ costs.

The initial consideration for our share of the joint venture includes an element of hope value for future planning uplift and the regearing of headleases. The current market value of our 50% interest is estimated at c.£50m. We anticipate the valuation will rise significantly upon a successful planning and headlease regearing outcome.

The purchase consideration will be met from our existing undrawn facilities and cash.

Paul Williams, Chief Executive of Derwent London, said:

“These are exciting acquisitions in a strong market. We are further investing in central London’s Knowledge Quarter with potential Life Science opportunities and extending our development pipeline. We are confident that combining our skills with our strong long-term relationships with Lazari Investments, UCLH and The Portman Estate will ensure these growing West End areas continue to benefit from the provision of best in class, high quality and sustainable business accommodation.”

1 London’s Knowledge Quarter is defined as the small area around Euston Road, Kings Cross and Bloomsbury which has a very high concentration of academic, cultural, research, scientific and medical organisations.

2 The acquisition has been made through the purchase of units in a Jersey Property Unit Trust (JPUT), the sole asset of which is the 250 Euston Road NW1 freehold. According to the unaudited annual accounts of the JPUT for the year ended 31 March 2021, the JPUT’s net income for the year was £4.7m.