Minerva plc has announced that it has restructured its property interests with Barclays Bank at St Swithin's House and Granite House which will enable Minerva to secure vacant possession for the redevelopment of the proposed 452,000 ft² office development, and for Barclays to surrender its current lease. The redevelopment is designed by Foster & Partners and is to be known as 'The Walbrook'.
The Agreement takes the form of an Option which enables Minerva to require Barclays to surrender its lease at any time up to 31 December 2006, after which the Option will lapse. Upon exercise of the Option, Barclays Bank will pay Minerva a sum ranging from approximately £29m to £22.5m dependent upon the timing of the Termination Notice under the Option. If the option is not exercised, Barclays' lease of St Swithin's House will expire on 25 June 2011, nine months earlier than the previous lease expiry date. Barclays Bank is in the process of vacating St Swithin's House as part of its move to Canary Wharf.
Andrew Rosenfeld, Chairman of Minerva said:
"This is the key part of Minerva's strategy which is focused on an aggressive and positive approach to our major assets set against a corporate philosophy which aims to limit speculative development risk. The deal now provides clarity in respect of vacant possession and moves us closer to unlocking the potential from this development project, whilst still maintaining the current investment income".