AXA's One St Pauls development fully pre-let, London (UK)

AXA Real Estate, acting on behalf of its client, Co-Operative Insurance Society Ltd, announces that it has exchanged contracts to pre-let the whole 60,000 ft² (approx. 5,574 m²) office element of its major mixed use redevelopment at One St Paul’s in the City of London to Genesis Oil and Gas Consultants Ltd, one of the upstream industry’s leading engineering providers. As a result, the building is fully let across its entire office, residential and hospitality elements, following pre-leases to Grange Hotels, a luxury serviced apartments provider, as well as Drake & Morgan, Hush Brasserie and a quality independent boulangerie which have taken the restaurant space.

Genesis, part of the Technip Group, which has agreed a 15 year lease for all six storeys of bespoke office space, will take possession upon handover of the building works during the summer of 2013, with the aim of moving its headquarters from Midtown in the autumn.

Having recognized the potential to reposition the asset by undertaking a major mixed-use redevelopment scheme, this deal marks the culmination of AXA Real Estate’s two year turnaround strategy for the property. Upon gaining vacant possession, AXA Real Estate selected Sheppard Robson as the lead architect, following a design competition. The property was immediately re-branded One St Paul’s as part of a targeted marketing campaign launched specifically to appeal to non-traditional City occupiers.

In 2012, as part of the repositioning, AXA Real Estate pre-let the restaurants to some of London’s most exciting independent operators. Drake and Morgan took the largest unit for its sixth central London bar/restaurant, The Happenstance, while Jamie Barber, owner of the celebrity haunt Hush Mayfair, agreed to bring his new Hush Brasserie concept to the City. A quality upmarket boulangerie then completed the line-up.

In 2012, AXA Real Estate also agreed to lease the 10,000 ft² (approx. 930 m²) residential space to Grange Hotels, which is fitting-out the space itself and will operate it alongside its nearby hotel as luxury serviced apartment accommodation.

Harry Badham at AXA Real Estate’s UK Director of Development, commented: “The letting to Genesis marks the successful conclusion of a two year plan to reposition this building into a prime mixed used scheme. It is entirely in line with AXA Real Estate’s strategy of creating value for its investors by leveraging its development experience to create an institutional quality asset. This letting also reinforces the diversity of the City of London in attracting new types of occupiers, a trend we are confident will continue.”

“We remain very interested in, and are actively exploring, further development opportunities in Central London where we can acquire sites or buildings in need of repositioning and deploy our development expertise.”

Genesis’ Managing Director, John Cambridge, said: “The new headquarters will accommodate all of our London staff in one building and has the flexibility to meet our anticipated growth. The flagship headquarters, in the area of St. Paul's Cathedral in central London, is a confident statement of intent for the future of our company.”

JLL and CBRE acted for AXA, Vail Williams acted for Genesis.

Source: FTI Consulting

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