SHAFTESBURY has bought a landmark property at the heart of London’s China Town next to the famous pagoda for £54.4m after raising £157m through a share placing yesterday.
The West End developer said it has added a 50,000 square feet building on Newport Place to its £460m China Town portfolio and hopes to submit plans to refurbish the site later this the year.
Plans in 2004 to develop the block under its previous owner, the property magnate Robert Bourne, were opposed by local Asian businesses concerned that the development would drive out many of the existing retailers and destroy the character of the area.
However, chief executive Brian Bickell said that Shaftesbury “would respect its traditions,” while also helping to spruce up the area ahead of the launch of Crossrail, which he expects to boost visitors to the already popular district.
The Prince of Wales is also working with Westminster council on plans to improve the square at the end of Gerrard Street and Newport Place, including refurbishing the iconic pagoda.
The acquisition will be funded from the placing, which raised £156.6m in total and will help boost Shaftesbury’s warchest for making other acquisitions over the next three years.
The placing of up to 25.25m new shares at 25p each represented about 9.99 per cent of the current issued share capital of Shaftesbury.
Liberum and JP Morgan Cazenove acted as joint bookrunners. Shares in the company fell 3.23 per cent.