Developers are more cautious after the Brexit vote, says client boss Chris Grigg

British Land’s chief executive has said its newly-approved 2-3 Finsbury Avenue Square tower scheme in the City is not likely to proceed without a pre-let.

Speaking to Building, Chris Grigg said the developer was looking for occupiers for the Arup-designed commercial scheme, which won planning this week.

Grigg said: “We are looking for a pre-let before a redesign and build.”

In updates to investors in the run up to the EU referendum in June, British Land had placed the scheme in its “medium term pipeline” and not specified whether or not it would be developed speculatively once it won planning permission.

Grigg added it was “a different world post-Brexit vote”, commenting that developers were being “a bit more conservative in pressing the [go] button”.

But he said: “Yet, I think London will be fine in the end […] We’ve had more interested investors talking to us than earlier in the year.”

The 2-3 Finsbury Avenue Square scheme by British Land and Singaporean investor GIC will replace the site’s existing Peter Fogg-designed office buildings, the earliest part of the Broadgate complex.

It comprises a set of four tapered buildings rising up to 32-storeys in height, which will provide 62,000 sq m of office space, 4,000 sq m of retail space and nearly 1,300 sq m of restaurant space on the tower’s 13th level, which will also include a public roof terrace.

British Land’s decision to wait for a pre-let before beginning construction echoes TH Real Estate’s stance on its £400m 40 Leadenhall office project - dubbed ‘Gotham City’ - in the Square Mile following the Brexit vote, as revealed by Building in the summer.

Meanwhile, Grigg said “our intention is to absolutely go ahead and get planning” for its most significant project at Canada Water in South-east London. The scheme is headed up by former Argent partner Roger Madelin, who previously informed Building an outline planning application was expected to go in early next year.

On British Land’s controversial Blossom Street development, Grigg said the firm would wait to see what happens with the latest challenge and then “take a view” on the project.