BP to sell London headquarters for $332 million to Lifestyle International – ET RealEstate

LONDON: BP has agreed to sell its London headquarters for 250 million pounds ($332 million), a spokesman said on Friday, the latest in a string of disposals as the British energy company shifts to low-carbon energy.

BP also agreed to lease 1 St James’s Square in central London back from Hong Kong-based property investment company Lifestyle International for two years, a BP spokesman said.

Lifestyle International also announced the deal in a filing on the Hong Kong stock exchange.

BP, led by CEO Bernard Looney, aims to sell $25 billion of assets by 2025, around half of which it has already divested or agreed a deal on, in an effort to reduce debt as it shifts to low carbon energy investments.

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Workspace Group swings to loss as customers downsize due to virus crisis – ET RealEstate

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BENGALURU: Workspace Group on Wednesday swung to a first-half loss and pushed back a decision on full-year dividend as the office space provider struggled with a rise in customers vacating and downsizing due to the coronavirus crisis.

Work-from-home policies and the economic fallout from the pandemic have hurt margins for office space providers such as WeWork, IWG and Workspace as costs surge and customers default on rent payments.

“There is no doubt that people’s expectations of the office are changing. Although this trend has been apparent to us for several years, the pandemic has accelerated fundamental changes to the role and requirements of the office for an increasing number of businesses and their employees,” the company said in a statement.

Chief Executive Graham Clemett said the company would see further pressure from virus-related curbs on occupancy and pricing in the near term, impacting its full-year performance.

Workspace had offered most of its customers a 50% rent discount in the first quarter.

The company, which owns and manages 4 million square feet of business space in London, posted a pretax loss of 110.4 million pounds ($146.58 million) for the six months ended Sept. 30, compared with a profit of 99.1 million pounds a year earlier.

Still, it said customer enquiries for work spaces were at 935 in September, an improvement from the 272 seen in April, as restrictions eased. Rent collections also picked up, with 95% of rents due for the first half received as at Nov. 2.

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At Rs 1,400 crore, Lodha UK’s home sale costliest in London in 2020 – ET RealEstate

MUMBAI: Lodha UK on Sunday said it sold a penthouse and two apartments on the lower floor to an anonymous buyer in its London project recently for £140 million (around Rs 1,400 crore).

The property, No. 1 Grosvenor Square, is located in the upscale Mayfair Enclave, near the United States Embassy and Hyde Park.

The residential property had been acquired by the Mumbai-based Lodha Group in 2014 for over Rs 3,000 crore.

Gabriel York, co-chief executive officer of Lodha UK, said, “This is the most expensive home sold this year and probably amongst the top five most expensive homes ever sold. At pounds 9,200 per sq ft (almost Rs 9 lakh per sq ft), it is the most expensive home ever sold in London.”

It is learnt that the buyer will amalgamate the three apartments and convert them into a single unit spread over 15,600 sq ft. The penthouse alone is 8,100 sq ft in size.

No 1 Grosvenor Square building served as the American Embassy and then as the Canadian High Commission. It has been home to American President – John Adams in the 18th century and US ambassador to the UK, Joseph P Kennedy, who was posted in London between 1938 and 1940.

There is a replica of the Oval office in the lobby of the development. Joseph, who was the father of John F Kennedy, built an Oval office replica in the building during his stint as ambassador. The project houses thirty-nine apartments and five duplexes.

York said that the majority of the buyers are those who own and run their businesses based in the United Kingdom, including some of the top FTSE companies.

After purchasing the property in 2014, the developer restored the building facade and built the apartments behind it.

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UK’s PM promises lower deposits to boost home ownership – ET RealEstate

LONDON: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledged on Tuesday to make it easier for first-time homebuyers to take out a mortgage, in an effort to overturn “disgraceful” low rates of home ownership among young people.

“We need now to take forward one of the key proposals of our manifesto of 2019: giving young first-time buyers the chance to take out a long-term fixed-rate mortgage of up to 95% of the value of the home,” Johnson said in his keynote speech to the Conservative Party Conference.

Johnson said it was a “disgraceful truth” that millions of people were forced to pay rent on homes they could not truly make their own.

The rate of home ownership among people aged 25 to 34 has fallen sharply over the last few decades, from 67% in 1991 to around 40% today, according to government data.

“We will help turn generation rent into generation buy,” Johnson said, adding that his policies could create up to 2 million new owner-occupiers.

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