Research by Building has revealed that more than £4bn of large developments in London have come back online in recent months,
Signs of life returning to the capital’s property market come as the £242m Heron Tower (below) this week became one of the few schemes in the City to top out over the past 18 months.
Construction data provider Barbour ABI revealed that the top 30 schemes over £50m that have restarted in London are collectively worth £4.2bn.
The list includes Enderby’s Wharf, a £350m mixed-use scheme in Greenwich, a £700m 67,800m2 mixed-use development in Croydon, and Project Chrysalis, the £100m redevelopment of New Covent Garden Market.
It also includes a number of high-profile projects rumoured to be starting on site this year such as Land Securities’ Bressenden Place and Selborne House schemes.
However, the data also shows that £4.3bn of London projects in the £50m-plus bracket were still on hold over the past 12 months.
Nicholas Thompson, chief executive of commercial architect Aukett Fitzroy Robinson, said that while a figure of £4bn was encouraging, it was not enough to avoid a “static” 2010.
He said: “A lot of activity in the £50m-plus bracket will be the result of the rights issues that the larger developers carried out this year. A lot of projects under £50m will be funded by bank debt and third-party financing and may not come back online so quickly.”
Meanwhile, the topping out of the 202m-high Heron Tower makes it currently the tallest building in London.
Gerald Ronson, chief executive of developer Heron International, said now was the right time for developers with access to funding to build, and warned that firms holding back could miss out as demand for space increases.
But Steve McGuckin, managing director of Turner & Townsend UK, said the perceived revival should be treated with “cautious optimism” rather than lead to the assumption that a “blanket recovery” was underway.
His point was underlined this week in research published by Savills, which showed a 1.3% decline in UK commercial development in March from February’s 33-month high.
Almost 20% of commercial developers reported a drop in total activity in this sector compared with 18% that indicated a rise.