SCREF secures planning permission for prime Bloomsbury 106,000 sq ft office repositioning

SCREF secures planning permission for prime Bloomsbury 106,000 sq ft office repositioning
  • The Schroders Capital UK Real Estate Fund (‘SCREF’) has obtained planning permission to convert offices Minerva House, Fitzroy House, and the Telephone Exchange on Chenies Street in central London into a 106,736 sq ft high-quality workspace
  • The sensitive redevelopment of the Grade II listed office buildings will see the Fund work with Stanhope and Morris+Company to deliver a best-in-class office building in London’s ‘Knowledge Quarter’, with a focus on enhancing the asset’s sustainability and wellbeing credentials
  • Utilising a re-use first approach in order to minimise embodied carbon during construction, 87% of the existing structure and 84% of the existing façade will be retained

The Schroders Capital UK Real Estate Fund (‘SCREF’) has secured planning permission to redevelop Minerva House, Fitzroy House, and Telephone Exchange, contiguous, part Grade II listed landmark office buildings on Chenies Street in Bloomsbury into a 106,736 sq ft high-quality workspace, a 37% increase on the current floor area, following the addition of two further floors and a roof terrace. Located just off London’s Tottenham Court Road, the asset is well placed to benefit from the newly re-opened Tottenham Court Road and Goodge Street underground stations, providing connections to the Central, Northern and Elizabeth lines.

SCREF will work closely with development partner Stanhope to sensitively reposition the heritage office buildings – which sit in the Bloomsbury Conservation Area – into a sustainability and wellbeing-led office scheme, designed by architects Morris+Company. During the redevelopment, 87% of the existing building structure along with 84% of the existing primary facades will be retained utilising a re-use first approach reducing embodied carbon during the construction process.

Reflecting the growing demand for sustainable and energy efficient office assets, Schroders Capital’s expert offices team alongside Stanhope will ensure the upgraded Chenies Street asset achieves best-in-class sustainability and wellbeing credentials, targeting EPC B, WELL Gold, BREEAM Excellent and an NABERS UK certifications. The enhanced building will also use electrical heating only, deliver improved natural ventilation to enhance occupier wellbeing, and include rainwater harvesting systems.

The redesigned Chenies Street asset also places a strong focus on occupier wellbeing and will feature amenities such as a large communal reception space, bike storage, fitness and wellness studios, a café, and a new roof terrace to enable future tenants to attract and retain the best talent. Chenies Street will also feature fit-for-purpose floorplates which are capable of being let as whole or subdivided, offering maximum flexibility to attract a wide variety of tenants ranging from international companies to local SMEs and start-ups.

The proposed scheme is aligned with Camden Council’s 2025 objectives which sets out a vision for the future of the borough as it aims to create a safe, fair, creative, and active community. During the construction process a percentage of construction jobs and apprenticeships at the project will be offered to local people, and biodiversity will be enhanced through the creation of local ‘pocket parks’ as well as a new green wall on the exterior of the building. The building is located close to Goodge Street and the new Tottenham Court Road underground stations, and further Green transportation is encouraged through increased e-bike and scooter provision, as well as improved pedestrianisation around the asset.

Rob Cosslett, Fund Manager for Schroders Capital, said: “The redevelopment of Minerva House, Fitzroy House, and Telephone Exchange in Chenies Street outlines SCREF’s commitment to investing in sustainability-led, high-quality office assets in well-connected locations. Located within London’s ‘Knowledge Quarter’, the asset is well situated to benefit from the continued demand for best-in-class office space from occupiers in the life sciences, technology, and higher education sectors.

“The approved plans demonstrate the development and asset management capabilities of the experienced Schroders Capital offices team to identify opportunities to add value and increase returns for our investors. Our focus remains on maximising the value potential and sustainability credentials of assets across our portfolio, which will attract the best talent and strongest occupiers, whilst enhancing surrounding areas to benefit local communities.”

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