Canary Wharf plans to build new offices

THE developer of Canary Wharf aims to double the size of the estate over the next decade on the back of an expected long-term shortage of prime office space.

The expansion of the financial centre will help it meet the extra 100,000 passengers created when Crossrail is up and running, said Canary Wharf Group (CWG), which owns 16 out of 35 buildings on the site.

CWG is 69 per cent owned by Songbird, the listed property vehicle. John Garwood, Songbird company secretary, told City A.M. that London’s competitiveness will be supported by its reputation for corporate governance, its lifestyle and its timezone.

“London has been an international player in finance and insurance for more than 200 years and that is not being undermined by the short-term position we are in,” he said.

CWG is also in a joint venture with Land Securities to build the Walkie Talkie tower and will redevelop Shell’s London HQ with Qatari Diar. Yesterday CWG said the market value of its retained investment property portfolio at June 30 was £4.7bn, up 1.9 per cent. Chairman George Iacobescu added: “There is a lot more capacity to build in and around Canary Wharf and I hope it’s not only going to be Canary Wharf Group [doing so].”

Songbird posted a pre-tax profit for the six months to June of £97.6m, compared with an £11.3m loss in the 2010 period. Its adjusted net asset value per share rose 3.7 per cent to 194p.

Its property portfolio, including development sites, was valued at £5bn on 30 June, up two per cent from the end of 2010. First-half rental income fell 18.8 per cent to £124.6m.