Investec Real Estate (Investec) has provided LCN Capital Partners (LCN) with a c. €141.2m loan for the development of the c. 26,292m2 office scheme in Kingston Upon Thames, Southwest London. Unilever has agreed to pre-let for the entire building for its new global headquarters.
Alongside Investec’s c. €49.7m commitment, c. €91.5 of debt has been arranged with Allied Irish Bank and Bank ABC. The transaction represents the largest office development loan in Outer London in 2023 and reflects Investec’s strong conviction in technology-enabled modern office assets in prime and emerging locations with strong ESG credentials, increasingly focused on individual health and wellbeing.
The Unilever Campus, which is expected to be delivered in late 2024 / early 2025, is being developed by Cube Real Estate and will include c. 26,292m2 of state-of-the-art office space across two interlinking glass-fronted buildings, as well as space for 354 cars (30% EV charging enabled) and 325 bicycles. The development will create approximately 2,000 jobs in the local area and is targeting a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ certification and to be carbon net zero in operation, with efficient office layouts, high-performance insulation, considered material selection and rooftop photovoltaics.
Hollie Sleigh, Investec Real Estate, commented: “Leveraging our network of like-minded global banking relationships, combined with our 30-year, through-the-cycle UK lending platform, has enabled us to deliver an innovative solution for LCN. As businesses of all shapes and sizes accelerate their return to the office, we are seeing an increasing bifurcation in the London office market. Grade-A, highly sustainable assets like the Unilever Campus, that enable employers to provide the optimal working environment for employees to attract talent and foster a strong sense of identity with creativity and collaboration at its core, remain in high demand. The outlook for non-ESG-compliant offices, particularly in secondary and tertiary locations, is a lot bleaker. We will continue to back clients and projects on the right side of this widening divide.”
Ward Stocker, LCN Capital Partners, added: “LCN is pleased to be partnering with Investec, Allied Irish Bank and Bank ABC to underwrite what is an iconic, best-in-class and tenant-critical building with strong ESG credentials. We are committed to supporting tenants to operate the very best real estate, whilst maintaining our position as a long-term investment partner. The tide has changed in real estate and in today’s world, our strategy is focused on delivering next-generation real estate.”