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Derwent London chief pledges to maintain development pace

The chief executive of office developer Derwent London has set out plans for four new office schemes and promised not to slow the pace of redevelopment regardless of market conditions.

John Burns told Construction News the firm would continue to develop at a steady pace, relying on an increasing stream of short-term lease expiries to drive demand for offices.

“We never stopped developing during the downturn, unlike many others,” said Mr Burns. “We will always continue developing at this pace. We never had to pull out of a project, because our financial situation is particularly strong.”

Derwent is currently on site at nine refurbishment projects and last week announced plans for a further 100,000 sq m of central London office refurbishments.

It now has a central London development pipeline amounting to about 200,000 sq m.

Tower Hamlets Council has resolved to grant planning permission for an 11,290 sq m mixed-use development at Commercial Road, E1, and the firm has submitted planning applications for schemes at Hampstead Road, NW1, Pentonville Road, N1, and City Road Estate, EC1, amounting to 56,200 sq m.

In addition, the company is considering a planning application for a 29,730 sq m redevelopment of 80 Charlotte Street, W1.

“We don’t operate in the City core,” said Mr Burns. “We tend to specialise in the redevelopment of short-lease buildings in the West End and surrounding areas - areas with a good supply of offices in need of redevelopment.”

The firm also announced the appointment of former Davis Langdon director Richard Baldwin as its head of development. Mr Baldwin will oversee the delivery and execution of projects, while directors Simon Silver and Paul Williams will continue to run the design process.

Mr Silver said: “He will make a valuable member of the team as the group progresses a number of significant development schemes over the next few years from a substantial central London pipeline in excess of two million square feet.”

Several central London developers have recently announced ambitious development plans to take advantage of an anticipated shortage of prime office space expected to grip the city in 2014.


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