Two well-known real estate investment and development firms have received very different outcomes for their respective innovation campus and office retail plans in London.
LaSalle Investment Management and its partner, Trilogy Real Estate, have won planning consent on appeal for what they say is a ‘first of its kind’ 940,000 ft2 higher education, accommodation and data centre Phase Two extension to their “Republic” project in east London close to the docklands area.
The investors were initially turned down by Tower Hamlets council last October over its detailed planning application for 716 rooms of purpose-built student accommodation and 150 build-to-rent homes in two high rise buildings. One of them is a 36-storey tower of 270,00 ft2.
It has also got overturned a refusal for a 376,000 ft2 data centre and 64,000 ft2 of lab-style workspace. Some 38% of the homes are to be offered at affordable rents.
Explaining the detail of the appealed decision, the investors said the decision gave permission for 150 private rental residences in a 30-storey building of 225,000 ft2, which is smaller than originally planned, and outline planning consent for a 376,000 ft2 data centre - the same size - and a 64,000 ft2 studio workspace building alaothe same size containing up to an additional 7,000 ft2 of space for community use.
LaSalle and Trilogy described how Tower Hamlets’ initial decision went against the guidance of its own planning officers.
When fully built out, the Republic project will measure 1.28 mln ft2 and is one of the larger developments in London.
Phase 1 of Republic created a 720,000 ft2 innovation campus set within bio-diverse water gardens, with a wellness and amenity offer on the ground floor. Sustainable timber construction was used throughout the retrofit, and the development won awards for sustainable development and architecture.
The Import Building was the first refurbishment to complete in October 2018 and was 75% let when the Export Building opened in Summer 2020.
Robert Wolstenholme, founder and CEO of Trilogy, said: ‘Over the past eight years, Trilogy has created a campus for education and innovation at Republic that defines this new alternative asset class.’
‘In the process, we’ve transformed an unloved office estate into a coherent and sustainable development with a real sense of place and connection to the community – one that anticipated the challenge of the new world of work and sought to have a significant positive social impact in Tower Hamlets.’
‘The work we’ve done with universities and other education providers to deliver space for training, education and skills alongside workspace has created an engine for the future economy of East London.’
‘Bringing a community of students and residents onto our campus will reinforce Republic’s mission to be a place that serves the full spectrum of needs of colleges and universities and integrates with the local community. We’re also adding capacity at one of the UK’s most in-demand hubs for data centres, providing vital infrastructure that will support future jobs.’
Hines turned down
The approval comes in contrast to disappointing news for Hines over its 2-4 Dean Street and 7 Soho Square project in Soho, west central London. The US developer wants to create a ‘highly sustainable world class’ office space and ground floor retail framed around a 21st century ‘Bazaar’.
However, Westminster planners have rejected the current redevelopment plans, citing loss of an Art-Deco elevation and the scheme’s bulk.
In this case, Westminster City Council also went against planning officers’ recommendation for approval.