Minerva in City office boost

PROPERTY company Minerva said today that the City office market is improving as it revealed that almost half the space in its centrepiece development had already been let out.

The 560,000 sq ft St Botolph Building – on schedule to be opened later in the summer – is one of the largest developments in the Square Mile.

Minerva said in its trading update today that 45 per cent of the space had already been pre-let as the market picked up.

Chairman Oliver Whitehead said: “The first quarter of 2010 has seen Minerva continue to make good progress across its diverse portfolio of well located and high quality developments and investments.

“As our two big City developments complete this year, they emerge into a City office market that is continuing to improve.”

The company also said it was considering selling its Odeon Kensington site.

The building, near Kensington High Street, and has planning consent in place for 35 apartments, five town houses, a basement car park, multi-screen public cinema and off-site affordable housing.

Meanwhile off-market pre-sales totalling around £19m were secured in the quarter to 31 March 2010, across its projects. The company is also working on a huge project at Lancaster Gate.

• St Botolph is a 14-storey development in the heart of the City

• Minerva’s current share price is around 98.5p

• £24m was the price Minerva paid for the Kensington Odeon site in 2005