West End of London Gets Vote of Confidence from Shaftesbury

Shaftesbury's St. Martin's Courtyard is already at 72% occupancy.

Shaftesbury’s St. Martin’s Courtyard is already at 72% occupancy.

Commercial property purchases are seeing a slight increase, and the popular West End of London is seeing a good deal of property change hands.  Shaftesbury, a property group, is one of those buying up commercial property in the flourishing West End.  Shaftesbury currently owns 11 acres in the area, counting within the property portfolio 500 shops, restaurants, and bars.  They are looking to acquire even more, having recently purchased five restaurants and four shops.

Johnathan Lane, chief executive of Shaftesbury, said: “Although much uncertainty persists regarding the future direction of both the domestic and international economies, West End continues to flourish, thanks to its unrivalled attraction which brings growing numbers of visitors.

“As a result we continue to experience good demand, particularly for our larger shops, well located restaurants and residential accommodation.”

The company has fore casted a completed phase of its St. Martin’s Courtyard Development for fall.  So far, 72 per cent of the area has been let, pre-let, or is under offer.  Shaftesbury said there was active interest in the remaining vacant space.

This week a high end property purchase was completed by an unnamed Russian investor in the West End.  The investor purchased One Trafalgan Square, also known as the Grand Buildings.  It turned out to be a major investment deal of 172 million pounds for the 200,000 square foot building.  Isithmar, owned by Dubai World, had purchased the property in 2005 for an estimated 155 million pounds.

In late July, Derwent London, a property investment company, took on the Central Cross property in the West End for 146 million pounds.

Execution Noble Analyst, Michael Burt, said on reference to Shaftesbury’s Johnathan Lane’s confidence in the commercial market, as well as the success so far of the St. Martin’s scheme, said that Shaftesbury had dismissed “the sector’s trend for caution.”

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