A new City approach
15 June 2015
Following the completion of 1 & 2 New Ludgate, Development Director Robert Hume discusses the changing face of the City of London.
We recently celebrated the completion of 1 & 2 New Ludgate, EC4, a 381,000 sq ft office and retail development located between St Paul’s and the Old Bailey, which is now 92% let or under offer. The success of the scheme highlights both the extent to which demand for quality office space is outstripping supply in the City and the area’s increasing popularity as a place to shop and spend leisure time. With their colourful facades and generous public realm, 1 & 2 New Ludgate also underline our responsibility as developers to have a lasting positive impact on the built environment.
We timed delivery of the scheme to ensure it came to the market when occupier demand was peaking and supply of the right space was low. This commitment to starting development early in the property cycle is evident across our London portfolio, and has led to record leasing levels over the last year.
With City leasing activity in the first quarter of 2015 up 34% on the same period in 2014, a year which saw the highest letting activity in the square mile since 1998, we are bringing 1 & 2 New Ludgate to the market at the right time. Deloitte’s recent Crane Survey found that construction activity in London rose 24% in the six months to March of this year, with nearly half of all activity located in the City. Developers are clearly optimistic, however those that are now rushing to meet current occupier demand may be disappointed by schemes that complete further down the line.
The retail leasing success at 1 & 2 New Ludgate highlights the changing identity of the City from a purely business hub to a visitor destination with diverse appeal. A number of our projects have propelled this transformation, not least One New Change, EC4, which has established the area as a centre for top high street brands. In January, we opened the hugely popular 20 Fenchurch Street Sky Garden, making the best views of the capital available free to the public for the first time.
From our customers’ perspective, having excellent amenities close to the office space they occupy is increasingly important. The leading international businesses which have taken office space at 1 & 2 New Ludgate will benefit not just from open-plan naturally lit floorspaces, fantastic views of the capital, and an outdoor terrace, but also from top on-site retail and dining options. Leading brands already committed to the scheme include Coco di Mama, Association Coffee, Charles Tyrwhitt and Obicà.
Delivering our New Ludgate scheme at the right time with a great retail offering has been important to us from the outset. Also of critical importance has been ensuring that the development accords with the City’s unique architectural landscape. Fletcher Priest’s design for 1 New Ludgate has helped restore the processional route to St Paul’s and improve views of the cathedral at street level, whilst the new public piazza and walking route between the buildings will provide respite for City workers and visitors. At 2 New Ludgate, Sauerbruch Hutton has installed colourful facades, adding some much needed energy to an otherwise predictable built environment.
Here at Land Securities, we look forward to building on our contribution to the City’s transformation through delivering excellent spaces for businesses, retailers and visitors.