Healthy picture contrasts with recent depressing news on London commercial market

London developer Great Portland Estates has a £1bn development pipeline to roll out over the next five years across the capital.

James Pellatt, head of projects at the £1.2bn turnover developer, told Building that Great Portland Estates (GPE) has a 2.2 million ft2 development pipeline worth £1bn to be rolled out, with an average of three projects a year to be tendered between now and 2017.

“We’re very active at the moment,” Pellatt said.

“We’re basically looking to get moving on things as a priority. There was a deliberate halt put on some projects last July as the eurozone crisis hit, but now we are dusting things off and getting them back on track quickly.”

“We’re out there buying and developing and if we see an opportunity, we’ll go for it.”

Pellatt said the projects ranged from the 300,000 ft2 Hanover Square development to a 40,000 ft2 refurbishment project on Pollen Street in Mayfair. He said the latter was “not a glam project” and would provide work for smaller firms.

“It’s a tough time for them but we definitely want to work with them,” he said.

“In fact, I would often prefer to use small firms on certain projects.”

The news of GPE’s healthy pipeline is in stark contrast to a series of depressing stories for London’s commercial market, after developer Hammerson decided to sell its entire £600m London office portfolio in favour of focusing on its retail businesses in the UK and France.

Hammerson’s decision came a month after it was forced to put on hold its £290m commercial-led Principal Place tower in London after the scheme’s anchor tenant - law firm CMS Cameron McKenna - pulled out of the project.

Click here to read our full interview with James Pellatt