Credit: AXA IM Alts

What was The Buzz in June?

Our monthly roundup of real estate industry news.

Here are a few of the stories that caught our attention in June. From a UK-first biodiverse city office tower and the construction of London’s largest data centre campus, to real estate firms joining forces for Pride Month, there’s some real signs of growth occurring in the UK CRE industry.


Ada gets green light to build one of London’s largest data centre campuses

Ada Infrastructure, a global leader in sustainable digital infrastructure and the data centre platform of GLP Capital Partners (GCP), has been awarded a resolution to grant planning from the Newham Strategic Development Committee to deliver one of London’s largest data centre campuses.

As Ada’s flagship development in the UK, the 210MW Docklands data centre campus is designed for sustainability, safety, security and to meet emerging AI workloads.

“This new data centre development embodies our commitment to driving positive change through the use of sustainable technology and materials, a robust environmental, health and safety programme, and an on-going investment in the communities in which we work and live,” said Jennifer Weitzel, President of Ada Infrastructure.

“In addition to collaborating with local partners to provide job training and employment opportunities, the project’s future-ready design, including energy-efficient systems, net positive landscaping and strict physical and cybersecurity protocols, will set new standards for safe and sustainable development in the age of AI,” added Weitzel.

Nick Cook, President, GCP Europe, added: “We are delighted to see our vision for a large-scale data centre come to life at Docklands. We will continue to leverage our significant footprint across Europe to support the growth of our data centre and clean energy strategies.”

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Landsec buys GIC’s Bluewater stake for £120m

Landsec announces that it has completed the acquisition of an additional 17.5% stake in Bluewater from GIC for £120m, increasing its ownership in one of the UK’s leading retail destinations to 66.25%.

Based on the income Landsec’s existing investment in Bluewater generated over the year to March 2024, this acquisition increases the company’s net rental income by £10.3m on an annualised basis.

This transaction is in line with Landsec’s objective to grow its investment in major retail destinations, recycling capital from its recent non-core disposals in an earnings accretive way.

Bruce Findlay, Managing Director – Retail at Landsec said: “This transaction underscores our ability to continue to create value through prime investments in scarce, major retail destinations with attractive return profiles. Bluewater is one of the UK’s top retail destinations and a key part of our strategy to further build our relationships with key brands.”

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Real estate firms join forces for LGBTQ+ inclusion this Pride Month

Following an initiative from the Property Advisors Forum (PAF), a collective of CEOs from leading real estate advisory firms, a new collaboration has been established between Colliers, Allsop, Gerald Eve, Carter Jonas, LSH and Montagu Evans to encourage greater representation of the LGBTQ+ within real estate.

One of the challenges identified was the uptake of employee networks. “It was clear from the outset that larger firms like JLL and CBRE have the numbers to develop well attended and well-established employee LGBTQ+ networks, whereas smaller firms were struggling to grow their network memberships,” said Robert Nunn, Head of UK Talent & Development, Colliers.

With Pride Month on the horizon the firms with smaller networks agreed that working together could create the momentum and numbers needed to build engagement in the events being planned. The group planned a series of collaborative events, with each firm hosting an event to celebrate Pride in June, inviting members from other smaller firms to attend. Allsop organised a spin class and networking breakfast. Montagu Evans hosted an exhibition of art by LGBTQ+ artists, and Colliers put together a Pride Quiz and mixer.

Gareth Hosgood, a Partner in Commercial Valuation at Allsop said:“Improving diversity and inclusion benefits all real estate firms and is an area where we should collaborate, not compete. This group is crucial in ensuring smaller firms and networks can create a greater level of inclusion for the entire industry. Our collective efforts are paving the way for a more inclusive and diverse industry, supporting not only the LGBTQ+ community but also enriching the sector with varied perspectives and talents.”

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WeWork successfully completes lease negotiations and portfolio optimisation in the UK & Ireland

WeWork announced in June that it has completed its lease negotiations as part of its strategic restructuring in the UK and Ireland. This landmark moment, comprising operations in London, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Birmingham, Manchester and Dublin, underscores WeWork’s commitment to delivering an outstanding workspace environment and best-in-class service to its members in the UK and Ireland, following the process which began in September 2023.

“We are delighted to have finalized our portfolio optimization in the UK and Ireland. Our updated footprint is made up of our highest quality and best-performing locations in the market.” said Ben Samuels, Chief Revenue Officer at WeWork. “As we look to the future, WeWork is better positioned to continue defining the future of flexible work, and we’re committed to investing in our spaces and services to deliver the signature experience our members expect well into the future.”

This April, WeWork saw total footfall by occupied desks increase by 25%* year over year across the UK and Ireland. All Access bookings also increased by 34%* in London, and 51%* in Dublin in the same time period.

Globally, WeWork has finalized its extensive portfolio rationalization process and completed its restructuring in the US and Canada. The company successfully amended over 170 office leases and exited 160 locations, reducing future rent costs by a projected $12 billion, over half of the beginning rent commitments. WeWork continues to be one of the largest flexible office space providers, operating a system of approximately 600 locations in 37 countries and 120 cities. The company expects to emerge from Chapter 11 mid-June substantially debt free and better positioned to invest in its products, services, and best-in-class member experience.

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AXA IM Alts appoints Multiplex to construct new biodiverse city office tower at Fifty Fenchurch Street

AXA IM Alts, a global leader in alternative investments, has appointed Multiplex to commence construction at its 650,000 sqft Fifty Fenchurch Street workplace development in the City of London, which is expected to be one of the lowest carbon and most biodiverse high-rise towers in the UK. Construction of the development will start this summer and is expected to complete in 2028.

Fifty Fenchurch will deliver more nature into the City of London; landscaped gardens at ground and level 10 will be complemented by more than 40 occupier terraces that will bring over 70 different species of plant life to the site. The building will integrate nature with smart technology and purposeful design to create a future focussed building, fit for generations to come.

Decarbonisation and wellbeing are a key focus of the people-centric building, which will target BREEAM Outstanding and net zero in operation. The building will offer high specification, flexible floorplates coupled with state-of-the-art technology and amenities, presenting the latest features aimed at enhancing occupier health and enjoyment.

Rob Samuel, U.K. Head of Development at AXA IM Alts, said: “Commencing construction with Multiplex marks a significant milestone in the realisation of what we believe is a one-of-a-kind development in the City of London. In addition to helping satisfy the significant demand for the first class and sustainable office accommodation that is a must have for occupiers, Fifty Fenchurch will bring extensive urban greening and landscaped gardens to the Square Mile.”

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