British Land Plans to Extend UBS's London Base After Bank Leaves

British Land Co. and GIC Pte plan to develop about 190,000 square feet (17,650 square meters) of office space at part of UBS Group AG’s current London headquarters after the Swiss bank moves into a new building next year.

British Land, the U.K.’s second-largest real estate investment trust, will add new space at 2-3 Finsbury Avenue, part of its Broadgate office campus in the City of London financial district, the company said in a Tuesday statement. The venture has already won approval for 303,000 square feet of office space at 1 Finsbury Square on the campus, which is also leased by UBS. Broadgate is next to Liverpool Street Station.

“There’s huge footfall out of Liverpool Street that’s only going to increase with Crossrail” and “there’s a good prospect for rental growth,” British Land CEO Chris Grigg said by telephone.

UBS will stay in the Broadgate complex when it moves as many as 6,000 workers into a new 700,000 square-foot building at the complex, starting in the fourth quarter of 2016. Rents at Broadgate are about 57 pounds a square foot compared with more than 115 pounds in Mayfair and St James’s and about 90 pounds for the best space in new skyscrapers in the City of London.

The venture has already won approval to redevelop 100 Liverpool Street, an office building at the eastern end of the campus. The property is adjacent to the new station for Crossrail, the high-speed rail line that will link Heathrow airport to Canary Wharf.

Investor spent a record 30.7 billion pounds on U.K. real estate in the first six months, British Land said in the statement. Values haven’t fallen, though there are fewer bidders for properties, Grigg said in the interview.

“Prices have been keen in London,” he said. “We’re happy to be in a position where we can focus on land and campuses which we control.”

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