This year has seen a marked change in the property industry. Developers are more upbeat and construction activity in central London has more than trebled since activity reached a low in mid-2010.
Here are our pick of developers that have been leading the activity in the market and setting the scene for what should be a more positive year ahead.
Battersea Power Station development company
Battersea Power Station Development Company has set out to achieve what a number of developers have tried and failed to do for over two decades. The joint venture, comprising of Malaysia’s SP Setia, industrial conglomerate Sime Darby and the country’s Employees’ Pension Fund – who together paid £400m for the site last year – are bringing life back into Europe’s largest red brick building and surrounding area to the tune of £8bn, creating over 3,400 new homes as well as new offices, shops, hotels and 15,000 jobs.
Argent is one of the developers of King’s Cross Central, the vast 67 acre development next to the London train station that is transforming the area, creating a new postcode and acting as a real game-changer within the property industry itself. Under the King’s Cross Central Limited Partnership, Argent together with London & Continental Railways, BT Pensions Fund and DHL Supply Chain are delivering 50 new buildings, 2,000 homes, 20 streets, 10 public squares. US internet giant Google picked the area for its new headquarters.
Derwent, led by chief executive John Burns has had a strong year, securing one high profile tenant after another, such as Burberry at 1 Page Street in Victoria and Saatchi & Saatchi owner Publicis at two of its buildings in Farringdon. They also decided to go-ahead and build the White Collar Factory next to Old Street’s Silicon roundabout speculatively, a major show of confidence in the leasing market in that area, which is attracting the fast-growing TMT sector. As a pure West End player it has also benefitted from a buoyant property market.
It has been a busy year for British Land. The Cheesegrater – formally known as the Leadenhall Building – topped out in June and is now over half pre-let to insurers including Amlin, readying it for next year’s launch. The group is also well financed after raising almost £1bn via a share placing and the sale of Ropemaker Place to fund developments. Work has also been done on shifting its portfolio more towards the more buoyant went end with its £470m acquisition of Paddington Central.