Two major deals on the North and South bank of the Thames

In two major deals in London, on either side of the Thames, while Singapore City Developments has just completed the £395 million acquisition of St Katharine Docks by Tower Bridge, Landsec has been granted planning permission for a £200 million-plus office development in Bankside, on the south side of the river.

StKatharine Docks in London

Blackstone had bought St Katharine Docks, which was built in 1827 and is now central London’s only marina, in 2014 for around £300 million. The US private equity giant had first put the 23-acre estate for sale for £435 million in 2017, then had decided to refinance the asset. Negotiations with the Singaporean company had started several months ago.

“The current uncertainty in the UK has provided us with strategic opportunities to acquire prime assets and expand our portfolio,” said Sherman Kwek, Group CEO, Singapore City Developments. “CDL remains a long-term investor in the UK and has confidence in the fundamentals and resilience of the UK economy.”

The group, which is listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange, owns around £1 billion of commercial assets in central London and has a presence in 29 countries around the world.

St Katharine Docks has been redeveloped as a mixed-use area with over 50,000 sq m of commercial space where 80 companies have their offices. It is also a tourist and leisure destination with more than 20 bars and restaurants, 185 berths and 6,500 employees.

What Landsec’s new building on the south bank of the Thames will look like.

Red Lion Court, a new and sustainable mixed-use development on the south bank of the river near Southwark Bridge, will be built by Landsec and has just received the green light from local authorities. It will create 23,000 sq m of offices, flexible retail space and a small public park and community garden beside the Thames.

The plan is to demolish the existing 1985-built office block near Southwark Bridge which the Council agreed has “no architectural value”. Landsec plans to re-use the basement and part of the structure of the existing building and use low carbon and recycled materials to create a building that is net zero in both construction and operation.

The group said it is targeting Well Core Platinum and Breeam Outstanding certifications and expects to exceed London sustainability, biodiversity and energy efficiency targets.

“Red Lion Court delivers a landmark office with restaurants, bars and cultural institutions like Tate  Modern on its doorstep,” said Oliver Knight, head of workplace, Landsec. “The space embraces its prominent waterfront position to provide a new workspace focused on wellness, flexibility and environmental responsibility.”

Landsec has a pipeline of sustainable offices in Southwark that includes Liberty, Timber Square and The Forge, the UK’s first net-zero commercial building.