Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. (13), controlled by Asia’s richest man Li Ka-shing, won preliminary approval to build as many as 3,500 homes less than two miles (3.2 kilometers) from London’s Canary Wharf financial district.
The project known as Convoys Wharf, in the borough of Lewisham, was endorsed yesterday by London Mayor Boris Johnson. Hutchison Whampoa, a Hong Kong-based company with interests in the retail industry, ports and telecommunications, also plans to construct offices, stores, a hotel and restaurants at the 41.2-acre (16.7-hectare) site in Deptford.
Record-low borrowing costs and demand from overseas buyers helped London home prices gain 13.8 percent to more than 414,000 pounds ($690,000) in the year through February, according to the Land Registry. Asian companies are seeking to benefit from the rising property values with the purchase of development land at sites including Battersea Power Station and Royal Wharf on the north bank of the River Thames.
“We need to build thousands of new homes in the capital and proposals to do that at Convoys Wharf have stalled for far too long,” London Mayor Boris Johnson said in an e-mailed statement today.
Hutchison Whampoa said in February that its hotels and property unit contributed to a 20 percent increase in full-year profit. Li’s companies have spent about $14.5 billion on acquisitions in Europe since July 2011, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
“We are delighted that the mayor has approved the masterplan for Convoys Wharf and that work can begin,” Edmond Ho, executive director and general manager of Hutchison Whampoa Properties, Europe, said in a statement today. The company rose 2.3 percent to HK$105.10 in Hong Kong trading.
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