SWIP/ Endurance Land put new scheme at heart of major Chancery Lane renaissance

Scottish Widows Investment Partnership Property Trust and Endurance Land have lodged plans for a circa 100,000 sq ft office refurbishment at the heart of a circa 340,000 sq ft business cluster that is set to reshape Midtown’s Chancery Lane, CoStar News can reveal.

SWIP and its strategic development partner Endurance Land lodged the plans at the end of last year with the City of London following pre-application meetings with the council in August and October.

The TateHindle-designed proposals for Halsbury House, 35 Chancery Lane, WC2A 1EL, would increase the existing building from 93,205 sq ft (8,659 sq m) to 103,828 sq ft (9,646 sq m).

Within this the proposals would increase the office element from 85,583 sq ft (7,951 sq m) to 93,398 sq ft (8,677 sq m) and the ground floor retail from 1,000 sqf t to 3,289 sq ft. There is also a 2,500 sq ft pub that has been sublet by Luke Johnson’s Grand Union from Scottish & Newcastle in an indication of expectations for the area.

The plans comprise the refurbishment and extension of the building to include the recladding and relocation of the main entrance and extension of the fourth, fifth and sixth floors to provide 7,814 sq ft of net additional offices.

Jonathan Fletcher, managing director at Endurance Land, said the plans involved a comprehensive refurbishment that includes providing new floors of offices, a new entrance, recladding and two roof terraces.

“This exciting project will be a very positive addition to Chancery Lane. We have ensured early engagement with the planners and (CLA) Chancery Lane Association as well as communicating with local landowners and occupiers. Careful consideration has been given to Bream as well as anticipation of the future occupier requirements in this evolving and changing location.”

The plans also propose a change of use of B1 offices on the ground and lower ground floors to provide 2,238 sq ft of net additional retail.

SWIP and Endurance Land are bringing forward the scheme as a major rejuvenation of the famous London street is beginning to take shape with more than 340,000 sq ft of offices and shops either under construction or set to be built imminently.

Next door Derwent London is redeveloping 40 Chancery Lane after preletting the building to media giant the Publicis Groupe for a 97,400 sq ft headquarters.

That is driving expectations that advertising and media companies will be attracted to the emerging cluster as well as the traditional legal occupiers.

The letting was secured as part of a double letting with Publicis Groupe, with other parts of the business – notably the Saatchi & Saatchi agency – going to Turnmill, EC1. The building will be delivered in the final quarter of this year.

It is the letting to Publicis that is in particular driving landlords to come forward with other major schemes, and talks have begun between four landlords on Chancery Lane to create a unified business environment offices and shops, CoStar News understands.

Also included in this redevelopment programme is Deerbrook which began work in the third quarter of last year on 81 Chancery Lane, a comprehensive refurbishment providing a total of 50,000 sq ft of space. Around 41,900 sq ft of offices and 9,000 of shops will be delivered in the first quarter of 2015. Farebrother and Deloitte are advising.

CoStar News understands that Viridis Real Estate is also set to come forward with a revised scheme for 105,000 sq ft of new offices and 8,800 sq ft of shops behind the facade at 25 Chancery Lane. Agents expect the scheme will be completed by the final quarter of 2015. CBRE and Cushman & Wakefield are the agents. Viridis bought the building from Devonshire Property and has reworked its long-running plans for a major scheme.

In total the developments offer around 20,000 sq ft of new retail creating between 10 and 15 units across the prime Chancery Lane retail pitch and offering an opportunity to answer long-standing retail requirements in the Midtown area that are not currently being realised because of a lack of modern space.

Scottish Widows Investment Partnership, on behalf of SWIP Property Trust, bought 35 Chancery Lane from Delancey in 2006 for £35m.

The property was vacated in December by Reed Elsevier when it decided to move its LexisNexis operation to 30 Farringdon Street in Midtown. It produces an annual rental income of £32 per sq ft.

Farebrother and DTZ are advising Endurance Land and SWIP on 35 Chancery Lane.

Julian Hind, head of office and residential leasing at Farebrother, said: “The letting of the entire scheme at 40 Chancery Lane to Publicis Groupe is a ‘game changer’ in terms of the scale of development and the nature of occupier. It is though only the first stage of the renaissance of the central portion of Chancery Lane. The delivery of four new office schemes with ambitious, new retail/leisure space is much needed in this prime Midtown location.”

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