Great Portland Estates posted record beating results in the first half of the year after Facebook agreed to take all of its office space at Rathbone Square near Tottenham Court Road, in one of its biggest lettings deals to date.
The West End developer made 29 new lettings in the six months to 30 September spanning 288,900 square feet and generating an annual income of £20.8m.
However, the social network’s pre-let deal alone accounted for £16.9m of income and 227,324 sq ft. Staff are expected to move in once Great Portland has finished converting the the former Post Office in February 2017.
The company’s stellar lettings performance comes amid record low vacancy rates in the West End and fierce competition for space, which in turn is pushing up rents.
Deloitte Real Estate’s latest Crane Survey released this week showed 40 per cent of space under construction in central London is already pre-let. In the West End, 2.4m sq ft is under construction of which a third has already been snapped up by businesses.
Chief executive Toby Courtauld said: “Despite elevated levels of economic uncertainty since the summer, the employment intentions of the capital's businesses remain expansionary and their space needs are following suit.”
“Vacancy rates are now at record lows in the West End and, with much of the inventory of space under development already pre-let, we can look forward to further increases in rents.
Great Portland’s vast property portfolio has jumped by 10.5 per cent in value since March to £3.6bn, which helped drive a 14 per cent increase in its net asset value (NAV) per share to 808 pence.
The company is in the process of building out its largest pipeline of schemes in its history, with nine developments spanning 853,200 sq ft currently underway, including Rathbone Square.
Work on two further schemes is expected to start in the next year including its Hanover Square development over Bond Street Crossrail station. Its pipeline also includes a further dozen developments, taking its planned investment in these schemes to £513m.