Great Portland buys Old Street block for £30m

Kasmira Jefford
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GREAT Portland Estates yesterday became the latest property developer to pile into East London’s so-called tech belt area after buying the Post Office’s headquarters for £30m.

The Great Ropermaker Partnership, a 50-50 joint venture between Great Portland Estates and the BP Pension Fund, said it has bought 148 Old Street from the BP Pension Fund.

The site is close to Old Street’s Silicon roundabout where other players like Derwent London and Helical Bar have also snapped up sites to tap into the growing appetite for space from technology firms.

Royal Mail Group pays a rent of £2.17m a year, with a rent review and tenant break option due in May 2015, when vacant possession of the building can be obtained.

Toby Courtauld, Great Portland chief executive, said the 0.83 acre site “provides an exciting opportunity for refurbishment or redevelopment from 2015”.

“This is a well-located site providing opportunities to create significant value over the medium to longer term,” he said.

In November Great Portland raised £140m through a share placing that increased its war chest for making acquisitions to £400m.

The group said yesterday it has now spent over 80 per cent of those funds raised four months ago, including its purchase last month of Orchard Court estate, a retail and office block in the West End.