Canary Wharf Group and Qatari Diar will spend more than US$1.6 billion to develop the site of Royal Dutch Shell’s London headquarters.
The UK’s Canary Wharf Group and Qatar’s sovereign-wealth fund will spend more than US$1.6 billion to develop eight buildings at the site of Royal Dutch Shell’s London headquarters.
According to John Pagano, Canary Wharf’s managing director of development, six of the buildings, including a 37-storey tower, will be residential properties with more than 790 homes.
‘Our aim is to enhance an area in need of a renaissance,’ said Mohammed bin Ali Al Hedfa, chief executive officer of Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Co. ‘We are confident that our proposed development will put a reinvigorated South Bank at its rightful place at the capital’s heart.’
The plan comes at a time when home prices and rents are surging in the UK capital. Data show that London home prices have risen 24% from a May 2009 low as a resilient job market fuelled demand and foreign investors looking for safe haven where to park their assets.
According to a statement released by Canary Wharf and Qatari Diar, Royal Dutch Shell will continue to own its existing 27-storey office tower designed in the 1950s by Sir Howard Robertson.
Shops and streets will also be built at the project, which is scheduled to be completed in 2019.
In 2011, Qatari Diar and Canary Wharf agreed to buy the 2.12-hectare site for £300 million. The deal was contingent on the project winning planning approval within three years.
In a document published last month, the borough of Lambeth asked developers around Waterloo station, including Qatari Diar and Canary Wharf, to improve the area’s appearance and to build more attractive buildings than those currently there.
‘The intention is that the station becomes part of a network of buildings and streets, rather than a single structure that dominates at the expense of other ‘place making’ ambitions,’ the borough said in the document.
Qatari Diar is the property investment arm of Qatar Investment Authority, a sovereign-wealth fund established to manage the country’s oil and natural gas surpluses. According to its website, its projects include CityCenterDC in Washington and Chelsea Barracks in London and have a combined value of more than US$35 billion.
Canary Wharf is controlled by Songbird Estates Plc, in which Qatar Holdings LLC, a separate subsidiary of Qatari Investment Authority, owns almost a 28% stake.