Property developer says central London is booming

FTSE 250 property company Shaftesbury, which owns shops, restaurants and cafes in the West End, sees strong demand pushing up rents

London's West End is "flourishing" according to one of the area's biggest owners on Tuesday, as demand from people seeking to live and work in the capital hits "unprecedented" levels.

The FTSE 250 property company Shaftesbury said strong demand for all its commercial and residential space was pushing up rents and driving high occupancy levels.

"London continues to attract unprecedented levels of interest from across the world from businesses choosing to locate and invest here, from visitors seeking to experience its unrivalled variety of attractions and from those who live and work here," it said in a trading update for the period between 1 April and 23 July.

The company owns more than 560 shops, restaurants, bars and cafes in the West End, including Carnaby Street and large parts of Covent Garden.

It also owns 394,000 sq ft of offices and 452 apartments in the area, as well as other joint venture properties.

Shaftesbury said it was difficult to find properties to buy because existing owners in the West End were unwilling to sell. Acquisitions in the year to date totalled £22.9m.

Total debt at 30 June was £583.2m, an increase of £7.8m since 31 March.

The company had commercial space available to let amounting to 3.8% of its wholly owned commercial portfolio, with an estimated rental value at 30 June of £3.2m, of which £2m was under offer.

Shaftesbury said it had started redeveloping buildings in the Carnaby Street area in January, which would provide retail and office space as well as a new restaurant and 12 apartments.


Angela Monaghan

The GuardianTramp

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