LONDON, July 5 Property developer British Land
bought the majority of a west London office complex for
470 million pounds ($708 million) in a bet the capital's
Crossrail east-west train line, due to open in 2018, will boost
real estate prices.
Britain's second-largest listed developer bought offices,
shops, a hotel and development sites from insurer Aviva
at the PaddingtonCentral scheme at a rental yield that will grow
to 6.2 percent, it said on Friday.
"PaddingtonCentral is one of London's most important
transport interchanges (and) that's only going to increase in
importance with Crossrail," British Land Chief Executive Chris
Grigg told Reuters, referring to a planned nearby station.
The 15 billion-pound commuter line will slash journey times
and connect Heathrow airport in the west to the Canary Wharf
financial district in the east. Property prices could be lifted
between five and ten percent within 200 metres of a Crossrail
station, JPMorgan analysts said in September.
British Land shares were up 1.9 percent at 0830 GMT,
outperforming a benchmark real estate index, which was up 0.6
In another deal boosted by the proximity of a Crossrail
station in the Tottenham Court Road shopping district, plans to
revamp and convert the Center Point tower into flats were
granted planning permission on Thursday.
"With Crossrail's arrival, there is growing impetus behind
the drive to revitalise this part of London and Centre Point has
to be at the forefront of that," said Mike Hussey, chief
executive of developer Almacantar.
In March, British Land raised almost 1 billion pounds for
new investments via a share placement and sale of an office
block in the City of London financial district, where it is one
of the parties behind the so-called Cheesegrater skyscraper.
PaddingtonCentral, which takes the total invested to 750
million pounds, houses firms including AstraZeneca and
Nokia, and helps British Land tip the balance of its
portfolio further away from the City financial district, where
tenant demand is patchier. It co-owns the City's largest office
complex, Broadgate, with Blackstone