Welput, the specialist central London office fund managed by BentallGreenOak (BGO), has recapitalised its ownership of the landmark site, 105 Victoria Street, and secured a €481m (£400m) development finance facility to fund the construction of the scheme, due to commence this year.
Marking a return to Victoria, and demonstrating global confidence in London’s office market, the Public Sector Pension Investment Board (PSP Investments), one of Canada’s largest pension investment managers, has co-invested alongside existing Welput investors in the development – the largest speculative West End office scheme ever to come forward, which, in April 2021, achieved Westminster City Council’s single largest ever commercial building consent.
Allianz Real Estate has provided ca. €240.5m (£200m) of the €481m (£400m) development finance facility which will partly fund the construction of the scheme. The completed development will be able to accommodate office demand ranging from 4,000ft² up to almost 450,000ft². The project’s funding coincides with BGO’s appointment of Skanska as the main contractor to deliver the scheme. Work is expected to start on site in July 2022, with completion targeted in Q2 2026.
The development, which will be managed by BGO, reflects its leadership in the sector will go well beyond industry standards for sustainability, the 500,000 sq ft building will not only be operational net zero, but achieve net zero embodied carbon using innovations in ultra-low carbon construction to minimise the carbon intensity of the development such that the carbon emitted will be offset within six years of the new building’s operations in comparison to the retention and refurbishment of the existing building.
Not only will the building be the largest all-electric office in the UK, but BGO has committed to the development’s energy being supplied from fully renewable sources, with no gas supply and no diesel generator on-site, ensuring zero fossil fuels in operation and during construction. As a result, the building is designed to meet EPC A and WELL ‘Platinum’ certification and exceed RIBA 2030 sustainability targets as well. The scheme is also the UK’s first office building to target a combined BREEAM ‘Outstanding’ and 5.5* NABERS rating, the world-leading environmental performance rating tool which rates the operational energy use of offices.
BGO has engaged partners to deliver the scheme that are aligned with its own ambitious ESG vision and can meet the demanding standards of sustainability and positive social impact that the project requires; Allianz Real Estate, PSP Investments and Welput’s investors have all committed to contributing to the project’s robust Social Impact Charter, which will implement ambitious programmes across school engagement, volunteering, and upskilling in the local community.
Ker Gilchrist, Managing Partner at BentallGreenOak said: “PSP Investments’ commitment, alongside existing Welput investors’ in 105 Victoria Street, demonstrates an ongoing commitment to London and absolute confidence in its future as a global hub. This project is surpassing the existing and emerging standards for green development, with a comprehensive whole-life carbon approach. The building will achieve net-zero in construction, then operation, and after just six years of its lifespan will be net beneficial to the environment. To deliver this ultra-sustainable building and attract the next generation of aspirational tenants, we have secured a significant financial deal with partners that stand shoulder to shoulder with us on our commitment to ESG and who bring a strong track record in projects of this nature.”
Designed by architect Kohn Pederson Fox, alongside interior architect Henning Larsen, 105 Victoria Street will create a new kind of community-focused, experiential building in Victoria, providing up to 450,000ft² of world-class workspace, including 5,500ft² dedicated to the incubator and affordable space, and over 30,000ft² of retail space, all designed to foster the health and wellbeing of its end users.
It will also provide almost 30,000ft² of greenspace and terracing – the largest of any commercial building in the West End and equivalent to 10 double tennis courts – which will include a 200m ‘walk and talk’ track and an urban farm with community allotments.
Dedicated space to serve and connect the community will cover 90,000ft², with a central Village Square provided at street level, providing inclusive public space and serving the neighbourhood needs with a considered retail offering that is aligned with the sustainable and community-focused ethos of the building. Welput, is also developing an extensive programme with the local community and stakeholders to ensure the building provides benefits to the local area, including providing dedicated flexible space for community use, engagement programmes with local schools and initiatives to support disadvantaged groups.
Stéphane Jalbert, Managing Director and Head of Asia-Pacific and Europe, Real Estate Investments, PSP Investments, said: “PSP Investments is pleased to establish this new partnership with BGO and Welput on what will be UK’s largest 100% electric net-zero office building. This fossil-fuel-free development aligns with PSP’s strategy to invest in sustainable buildings that have a positive impact on the community and better position our London portfolio for the future.”